ATLANTA — After going to the ground much of the second half, Alabama beat Georgia with a deep pass Saturday night in the SEC Championship Game.
The Crimson Tide scored the final points on a 45-yard pass from AJ McCarron to Amari Cooper, and Alabama coach Nick Saban said all that running set up that play.
He said that for much of the time, Georgia had two safeties set deep, but that changed eventually.
“They started playing an eight-man
front and actually putting another guy in the box, which means they were playing single coverage with a middle-of-the-field safety with two guys in the slot,” Saban said.
When Alabama saw that, the coaches considered going deep on the first play of the series. Instead, the Tide ran T.J. Yeldon for 3 yards, McCarron passed to Michael Williams for 2 and then Yeldon ran for 5. The play to Cooper came next.
“I said, ‘Let’s try to take the clock and
the game, make a first down or two, and then take one (deep),” Saban said. “They kept
playing that same thing, trying to stop the run.
“So it was a big play on third-and-five to get a first down running the ball. We would have gone for it on fourth down there I think for sue. Then we took the shot, and AJ made a great throw, and Coop made a great catch.
Injured Barrett Jones
In the postgame celebration, Alabama center Barrett Jones ran toward the Crimson Tide fans in the end zone with a slight limp. He participated in the awards ceremony while using crutches.
Afterward, he was taken away on a cart, as Alabama officials said he wouldn’t be available for interviews.
Going for 2 points
Alabama went for a 2-point conversion late in the third quarter, and Saban said that’s in keeping with his philosophy.
The Crimson Tide trailed 21-10 before T.J. Yeldon rushed 10 yards for the
score with 4:19 left in the period. Yeldon then rushed for the 2-point conversion as well.
“I always say go for it late in the third quarter or the fourth quarter,” Saban said. “That’s kind of our philosophy. So, you know, it was late in the third quarter. There’s four minutes to go or something like that in the third quarter.”
Congrats from a teammate
Alabama’s Eddie Lacy rushed for 181 yards and took most valuable player honors, but maybe the biggest compliment came from an old teammate.
Mark Ingram, who won the Heisman Trophy at Alabama in 2009, attended the game and walked the sideline. Afterward, he searched out Lacy and hugged him.
“He just told me congratulations and that I did a great job running, and it was the best he’s ever seen me run and things like that,” Lacy said.
Lacy, a redshirt junior, had to wait behind Ingram and then Trent Richardson before he got his chance this year. Now, he has 1,182 rushing yards for the season. Ingram (New Orleans) and Richardson (Cleveland) are in the NFL now.
“When you’re playing behind Ingram, you can’t do nothing but learn,” Lacy said. “They played on this stage, and they played on the next stage as well. Watching them you to know to be poised and know that things are not going to go right all the time. ... So from sitting behind them and watching them, that’s what I learned and was able to take into the game.”
Running the ball
Alabama rushed for 350 yards against Georgia, improving its record to 49-0 when it rushed for 150 or more.
The Crimson Tide hit that mark before halftime, going into intermission with 152.
In addition to Lacy’s 181, Yeldon had 153 to give him an Alabama freshman record of 1,000.
“The offensive line made big holes for T.J. and I, and we were able to hit it for big gains,” Lacy said.