Alabama holds off Georgia 32-28, advances to Miami

Alabama running back Eddie Lacy (42) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against Georgia during the first half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Alabama running back Eddie Lacy (42) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against Georgia during the first half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron (10) reacts after an Alabama field goal against Georgia during the first half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Jamie Martin)

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron (10) reacts after an Alabama field goal against Georgia during the first half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Jamie Martin)

Georgia running back Todd Gurley (3) reacts after scoring a touchdown against Alabama during the second half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college footballgame, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Georgia running back Todd Gurley (3) reacts after scoring a touchdown against Alabama during the second half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college footballgame, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Georgia safety Josh Harvey-Clemons (25) sits on the sidelines during the second half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game against Alabama, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, in Atlanta. Alabama won 32-28. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Georgia safety Josh Harvey-Clemons (25) sits on the sidelines during the second half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game against Alabama, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, in Atlanta. Alabama won 32-28. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Alabama head coach Nick Saban poses for photos after their 32-28 win in the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game against Georgia, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Alabama head coach Nick Saban poses for photos after their 32-28 win in the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game against Georgia, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Alabama players  celebrates after their 32-28 win in the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game against Georgia, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Hyosub Shin)  MARIETTA DAILY OUT; GWINNETT DAILY POST OUT; LOCAL TV OUT; WXIA-TV OUT; WGCL-TV OUT

Alabama players celebrates after their 32-28 win in the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game against Georgia, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Hyosub Shin) MARIETTA DAILY OUT; GWINNETT DAILY POST OUT; LOCAL TV OUT; WXIA-TV OUT; WGCL-TV OUT

ATLANTA (AP) — Alabama got a hand on the ball, which wobbled into the arms of a Georgia receiver who wasn't supposed to catch it.

Before the Bulldogs could get off another play, the clock ran out.

The Crimson Tide is heading back to the national championship game.

By a mere 5 yards.

AJ McCarron threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper with 3:15 remaining and No. 2 Alabama barely held on at the end, beating No. 3 Georgia 32-28 in a Southeastern Conference title game for the ages Saturday night.

"I'm ready to have a heart attack here," Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said.

As confetti fell from the Georgia Dome roof, the Bulldogs collapsed on the field, stunned they had come so close to knocking off the team that has won two of the last three national titles.

"We just ran out of time," Georgia coach Mark Richt moaned.

Alabama (12-1) will get a chance to make it three out of four when it faces top-ranked Notre Dame for the BCS crown on Jan. 7 in Miami.

This time, Alabama will head to the big game with a championship already in its pocket — unlike last year's squad, which didn't even make it to Atlanta, but got a do-over against SEC champion LSU in the national title game.

Even though the Tide left little doubt it was truly the best team in the country, routing the Tigers 21-0, there were plenty who thought Saban's team didn't deserve a rematch.

There will be no complaints when Alabama heads to South Florida for a dream matchup between two of college football's most storied programs. The Tide and Notre Dame have each won eight Associated Press national titles, more than any other school.

"This group has been fantastic," Saban said. "They were able to accomplish something of significance, and something that last year's team didn't accomplish, which is win the SEC championship."

What a game it was.

After an apparent game-clinching interception by Alabama was overturned on a video review, Georgia's Aaron Murray completed a 15-yard pass to Arthur Lynch, a 23-yarder to Tavarres King and a 26-yarder to Lynch, who was hauled down at the Alabama 8 as the clock continued to run.

The Bulldogs (11-2) were out of timeouts.

Instead of spiking the ball and gathering themselves, the Bulldog hurriedly snapped the ball with 9 seconds to go. Murray attempted a pass into the end zone but it was deflected at the line and ended in the arms of Chris Conley out in the right flats.

Surprised to see the ball coming his way, he instinctively dove for the catch at the 5.

Georgia couldn't get off another play.

Richt said the offense called the play it wanted at the end, a deeper route to Malcolm Mitchell, but Alabama ruined it by tipping the pass. If it had fallen incomplete instead of being caught by Conley, the Bulldogs would've had at least one more play, maybe two.

Instead, they were done.

"I told the guys I was disappointed, but I'm not disappointed in them," Richt said. "They're warriors. We had a chance at the end."

The consolation prize will likely be one of the second-tier bowls — the Capital One, Cotton or Chick-fil-A — though the Bulldogs certainly looked like a team deserving of something better.

"Do I think we're worthy of a BCS bowl?" Richt said. "Yes I do."

The Bulldogs even got props from Saban.

"It would be a crying shame if Georgia doesn't get to go to a BCS bowl game," the Alabama coach said. "They played a tremendous game out there. That was a great football game, by both teams. It came right down to the last play."

In a back-and-forth second half that looked nothing like a game in the defensive-minded SEC, the Crimson Tide trailed 21-10 after Alec Ogletree returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown in the third quarter.

Alabama rallied behind a punishing run game, finishing with 350 yards on the ground, an SEC championship game record. Eddie Lacy — the game's MVP — rumbled for 181 yards on 20 carries, including two TDs. Freshman T.J. Yeldon added 153 yards on 25 carries, also scoring a TD.

After the game, Lacy hooked up with the guy he replaced in the Alabama backfield — Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, now with the NFL's New Orleans Saints.

"He just told me congratulations and that I did a great job running and it was it was the best he's ever seen me run." Lacy said.

But the Tide won it through the air.

With Georgia stacking the line, McCarron fooled the Bulldogs with play action and delivered a perfectly thrown pass to Cooper, who beat Damian Swann in single coverage down the left side.

Georgia played like a champion until the clock ran out, though.

Using up their timeouts and forcing a punt, the Bulldogs got the ball back at their 15 with 1:08 remaining. Alabama broke into a celebration when a pass down the middle for Conley was deflected and Dee Milliner appeared to make a diving interception. But the replay showed the ball hit the ground, so Murray and the Georgia offense trotted back on the field for its last gasp.

And what a gasp it was.

Just not quite enough.

Todd Gurley led Georgia with 122 yards rushing, including a couple of TDs. Murray was 18 of 33 for 265 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

McCarron was 12 of 21 for 162 yards with an interception, only his third of the season.

After a defensive struggle in the first half, with Alabama kicking a field goal on the final play for a 10-7 lead, the last two quarters were nothing but run-and-gun.

The Bulldogs took the second-half kickoff and marched right down the field for the go-ahead touchdown. Gurley ran it seven times, capped by leg-churning, 3-yard drive up the middle to make it 14-10.

Alabama looked like it was about to answer, holding the ball for more than 5 1-2 minutes, before the drive stalled. Cade Foster came on for a 50-yard field-goal attempt, but his low kick was swatted down by Cornelius Washington. Ogletree scooped up the bouncing ball in stride and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown.

Suddenly, the Bulldogs led 21-10.

But the Tide wasn't about to go away that easy. Yeldon broke off a 31-yard run, Swann was called interference on a throw down the middle, and Yeldon powered in from the 10. He ran it again for the 2-point conversion, pulling Alabama to 21-18.

Georgia went three-and-out, and the ground assault resumed. Lacy barreled over right guard for 32 yards. Yeldon got it down to the 1. Lacy returned for the first snap of the fourth period, bulling over to put Alabama ahead 25-21.

The Tide's momentum lasted about 2 minutes.

Murray found King down the middle for a 45-yard completion and Gurley finished off the lightning-quick possession with a 10-yard touchdown run up the middle, putting Georgia back on top, 28-25.

But Alabama knows a thing or two about comebacks, having rebounded the last two years from regular-season losses.

Just three weeks ago, the Tide was upset at home by Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M.

Now, Bama is off to play for another title.

"It's just the never-give-up attitude," McCarron said. "You've got to keep fighting through it."

___

Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963

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Comments » 85

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

Go Irish!!

rtrchatt writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Go Irish!!

60W and 7L since 2008, another SEC record. That loss total is a pretty good yr for rocky flop.... Jump on the Irish lol... Saban OWNS UT

123forVOLS writes:

Good SEC game and the score was about what I expected. It will be interesting to see what happens in the Big Game with Notre Dame and the Bammers. I am not Tidey man but do pull for the SEC. So go get another one. 1, 2, 3...here come the real Vols hate Bama posts.

rtrchatt writes:

23 SEC Titles......

stormblast writes:

God, I just hate both schools.

Alabama - 39
Notre Dame 17

God, I just hate both schools.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to rtrchatt:

60W and 7L since 2008, another SEC record. That loss total is a pretty good yr for rocky flop.... Jump on the Irish lol... Saban OWNS UT

Kelly will own Saban..Go Irish!!

ashvol7 writes:

I don't like either one of them, but I sure hope ND hands it to Alabarn. Hope they didn't poison any trees in Atlanta. Did you see the sign on college game day? I am sure the people of Atlanta will be glad to see the RN's from Ala leave town.

15_counting writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Kelly will own Saban..Go Irish!!

How did Tennessee do today? I couldn't find their game!

redskinvol1 writes:

I HATE ND,BUT I HATE BAMA MORE!! GO ND!!

15_counting writes:

in response to ashvol7:

I don't like either one of them, but I sure hope ND hands it to Alabarn. Hope they didn't poison any trees in Atlanta. Did you see the sign on college game day? I am sure the people of Atlanta will be glad to see the RN's from Ala leave town.

Think I since a little jealousy!

laraccoon writes:

Georgia lost for the simple fact they could not tackle .

chattabluetick writes:

a Georgia gift. You spike the ball and have 3 throws to the end zone not 2 as the dumb announcers said. Obviously you would go on 4th down as a field goal would be of no help. It was a rushed play and never had a chance. Murray should never have looked to sideline but ran up and spiked the ball to give his team time to catch their breath and make sure everyone is on the same page. A spike with 14 seconds guarantees you 3 plays to win the game. Alabama may have even more luck than the Irish but made the plays they had to for the W.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to 15_counting:

How did Tennessee do today? I couldn't find their game!

Boy you bammers are stupid..The SECCG marks the final game of the season. The only thing left is for Notre Dame to beat the tide as usual..Go Irish!

gobigorange5090 writes:

I will be pulling for Notre Dame. If Gene Stallings was the Bama coach I probably would pull for them, but I cant stand Saban and will root for Notre Dame.

15_counting writes:

It's after 11:00. Shouldn't ya'll be in the bed dreaming about Gruden?

gobigorange5090 writes:

in response to 15_counting:

Think I since a little jealousy!

No, just tired of the Alabama arrogance.

gobigorange5090 writes:

in response to 15_counting:

It's after 11:00. Shouldn't ya'll be in the bed dreaming about Gruden?

Shouldnt you be in bed pleasuring yourself looking at Saban pics?

15_counting writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Boy you bammers are stupid..The SECCG marks the final game of the season. The only thing left is for Notre Dame to beat the tide as usual..Go Irish!

Oh! That Dec. 1st on their schedule must be a misprint!

15_counting writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The article is about my team. Seems to me you do care about my program. Your reading about it! I'm simply responding to all you haters!

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say teabag a leprechaun! Witch Doctor have to pull for SEC.
Bones never lie.

jt45 writes:

in response to 15_counting:

Think I since a little jealousy!

I guess the 6th grade never helped you with spelling huh?

stevefrommemphis writes:

in response to 15_counting:

Think I since a little jealousy!

I can't be jealous of a person who says "since" when he/she means "sense." Obviously probably a best a high school graduate, or maybe a GED holder.

It also gives a good idea of the intelligence level of a Bama fan (14_counting, rtrchatt) who posts on a Tennessee website.

By showing your ignorance, you have made my day and shown me what a waste of time it is to be distracted by people who post on here.

15_counting writes:

in response to jt45:

I guess the 6th grade never helped you with spelling huh?

Sense. Can I move to the 7th now? LOL!

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

The last thing we needed was for Bama to get a shot at the title again. Now their already insufferable arsehole fans (like those on this thread) will be even worse. They are already the only ones who are bigger d-bags than the UK basketball fans on here.

Go Irish!!

laraccoon writes:

i bet they had to hold night school to teach all them inbreds how to spell tide .

15_counting writes:

in response to stevefrommemphis:

I can't be jealous of a person who says "since" when he/she means "sense." Obviously probably a best a high school graduate, or maybe a GED holder.

It also gives a good idea of the intelligence level of a Bama fan (14_counting, rtrchatt) who posts on a Tennessee website.

By showing your ignorance, you have made my day and shown me what a waste of time it is to be distracted by people who post on here.

"obviously probably a best a high school graduate"? Easy there professor!

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to 15_counting:

The article is about my team. Seems to me you do care about my program. Your reading about it! I'm simply responding to all you haters!

Since=sense.
Your=you're.

You better hope the menstrual flows lose. If not, don't come here expecting any of us to tell you what comes after 14. We'll just let you squirm.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to stevefrommemphis:

I can't be jealous of a person who says "since" when he/she means "sense." Obviously probably a best a high school graduate, or maybe a GED holder.

It also gives a good idea of the intelligence level of a Bama fan (14_counting, rtrchatt) who posts on a Tennessee website.

By showing your ignorance, you have made my day and shown me what a waste of time it is to be distracted by people who post on here.

He did go to high school. He even played football. Well, actually he was just the waterboy for the the Bubbasville High Double-Wides.

cloudodust writes:

Oh CCLC, left you a note on that old blog. Did I nail it..? A good game from the Lazy Boy but the better team won, point spread nope, win yep. I didn't lose money but I did get the winner right. Down here in Georgia, Moral Victory is all the rage tonight but I reckon you know that. 2 years running and losing to Bama and they talk of Moral Victories. If CMR can't win the Big One with the talent at his disposal, what does that say about THAT program..? Geez. Fulmer's old problems look small compared to the modern day title of Can't win the Big One...1998 vs 1980 is a generation, old bud. 1980 to date means graying whiskers...GBO

pcshowtime writes:

in response to gobigorange5090:

Shouldnt you be in bed pleasuring yourself looking at Saban pics?

"oh nicki tell me how you will not leave miami and will not be the next coach at alabama." xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

chuckfromwoodberry writes:

Shouldn't all the alabubba fans be performing homo rituals on each other?

chuckfromwoodberry writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say teabag a leprechaun! Witch Doctor have to pull for SEC.
Bones never lie.

F you witchy. I will never cheer for the g a y t u r d s or alabubba.

tnvol34 writes:

GOT TO PULL FOR SEC TEAMS! SEVEN IN A ROW, RECORD WILL NEVER BE BROKEN! GO BAMA! GO VOLS!

volunteer89 writes:

in response to 15_counting:

Think I since a little jealousy!

I think I "sense" an idiot! Did you even go to school?

whatthe84 writes:

Where to begin...I think any Vol fan who would root for ND in this upcoming NC championship is on the same level as Benedict Arnold. How can you pull for any team against our conference when we have a chance to win 7 NC in a row...are you kidding me? Some of these idiots on here are bitter, stupid fans who are losers and have absolutely no class. UT is in a the middle of a famine and we still have a ways to go before we come out on the other side. That is a fact but it should not causes us to turn our backs on our own conference. I take pride in being in the SEC and will always pull for the SEC in a NC game. I would have been all in for Georgia had they won. Please give it a rest about hating Alabama. At this point it looks so pathetic to be so bitter when we are losing and barely have a heart beat. Our program is on life support and you guys are hating on Alabama...what a joke...come on man. It really makes you look stupid! Let's focus on trying to be relevent as a program again and stop hating those who are. It's not about them being good, its about us being so bad at this point. GBO and go SEC continue the domination and hope than at some point in the near future UT is playing to keep the streak alive with college football domination!

TKO writes:

Go SEC. Kma Rudy

takespix writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Boy you bammers are stupid..The SECCG marks the final game of the season. The only thing left is for Notre Dame to beat the tide as usual..Go Irish!

Wow...speaking of stupid. I love my Vols but boy you are moronic. Do you not get the sarcasm?

takespix writes:

in response to gobigorange5090:

No, just tired of the Alabama arrogance.

Should have corrected the idiot in regards to his phonics. Apparently knowing the difference between since and SENSE is way over his head.

takespix writes:

in response to gobigorange5090:

Shouldnt you be in bed pleasuring yourself looking at Saban pics?

NICE!!!

TommyJack writes:

pulling for the conference is stupid. hate bama...why pull for them? go domers.

takespix writes:

in response to 10seVol85_Part_Deux:

Since=sense.
Your=you're.

You better hope the menstrual flows lose. If not, don't come here expecting any of us to tell you what comes after 14. We'll just let you squirm.

Geez, after you corrected him, you come up with your own display of stupidity.
Loose not lose!

Rock85 writes:

CONGRATS Dave Hart Your team won.

Supersayin1 writes:

Man it sucks but I have to say Bama and UGA showed us everything we need on thefield next year and how it should look!

We need a true SEC RB 230lbs power runner.
We need true SEC CB's LB's,and SF's with the size and speed to match a vicious attitude. Both teams CB's came up to lay the wood on whoever got the ball, and did!

Also for next year regarding Jason Croom. We need him to stay at WR, screw him moving to TE.
We need size,speed,and power there as well. We need a WR that will punsih CB's like Da'Rick used to do!.

If we can get guys like that we'd be a force! GO VOLS!

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to takespix:

Wow...speaking of stupid. I love my Vols but boy you are moronic. Do you not get the sarcasm?

Uhhh, speaking of not getting sarcasm..Welcome to the club, JA!!

Supersayin1 writes:

If we had
Bama's CB's
1 LB from Stanford and UGA
UGA's SF's
And 1 Montee Ball

We would end the season 14-0!

gamecockfan writes:

Congrats Bama. But really was hoping to see Georgia win. Good game.

DeltaCharlie3 writes:

Expect a return to the normal world order next year, as Florida will resume its rightful annual spot opposite Bama in the SECCG. And Florida is the only program who can and will challenge this Bama dynasty.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

Expect a return to the normal world order next year, as Florida will resume its rightful annual spot opposite Bama in the SECCG. And Florida is the only program who can and will challenge this Bama dynasty.

FU will lose to Bama next year?? Thanks for the tip.

volposter writes:

in response to whatthe84:

Where to begin...I think any Vol fan who would root for ND in this upcoming NC championship is on the same level as Benedict Arnold. How can you pull for any team against our conference when we have a chance to win 7 NC in a row...are you kidding me? Some of these idiots on here are bitter, stupid fans who are losers and have absolutely no class. UT is in a the middle of a famine and we still have a ways to go before we come out on the other side. That is a fact but it should not causes us to turn our backs on our own conference. I take pride in being in the SEC and will always pull for the SEC in a NC game. I would have been all in for Georgia had they won. Please give it a rest about hating Alabama. At this point it looks so pathetic to be so bitter when we are losing and barely have a heart beat. Our program is on life support and you guys are hating on Alabama...what a joke...come on man. It really makes you look stupid! Let's focus on trying to be relevent as a program again and stop hating those who are. It's not about them being good, its about us being so bad at this point. GBO and go SEC continue the domination and hope than at some point in the near future UT is playing to keep the streak alive with college football domination!

+1
Would have been nice to see another SEC team win the NC, but still the SEC.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to whatthe84:

Where to begin...I think any Vol fan who would root for ND in this upcoming NC championship is on the same level as Benedict Arnold. How can you pull for any team against our conference when we have a chance to win 7 NC in a row...are you kidding me? Some of these idiots on here are bitter, stupid fans who are losers and have absolutely no class. UT is in a the middle of a famine and we still have a ways to go before we come out on the other side. That is a fact but it should not causes us to turn our backs on our own conference. I take pride in being in the SEC and will always pull for the SEC in a NC game. I would have been all in for Georgia had they won. Please give it a rest about hating Alabama. At this point it looks so pathetic to be so bitter when we are losing and barely have a heart beat. Our program is on life support and you guys are hating on Alabama...what a joke...come on man. It really makes you look stupid! Let's focus on trying to be relevent as a program again and stop hating those who are. It's not about them being good, its about us being so bad at this point. GBO and go SEC continue the domination and hope than at some point in the near future UT is playing to keep the streak alive with college football domination!

Call me Benedict the bama hater.. Go Irish!!

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