Five Seconds Short
Fourth year junior All-American Jarvis Jones, playing his last collegiate football game in his home state before collecting NFL riches as the top-rated talent in the upcoming draft, made the first big play of the game: a sack and forced fumble which popped to senior Christian Robinson and shortened the time clock in the head of Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron. Georgia failed to convert against a stingy Crimson Tide defense which has yielded under ten points per contest on average, the Dawgs freshman kicker missing a 50-yard field goal which had the distance but sailed wide. The score was knotted at nil for the first time ever at the close of the first quarter of an SEC championship game, with Bama failing to convert on any third down plays and UGA unable to sustain drives.
Quarter two saw both Alabama and Georgia attempt fake punts. Bama let the clock tick to zero before the snap, negating what would have been a big first down. UGA’s special teams unit spread the field and quick snapped to up man Arthur Lynch. The tall tight end stepped up and threw an awkward completion to versatile Georgia DB Sanders Commings. With the Dawgs in business, Aaron Murray threw a touchdown strike to young tight end Jay Rome.
Alabama drove near the Georgia goal line after a long pass which Rambo had a shot to intercept. Bama was aided by a penalty on a high hit on the quarterback by physical linebacker Alec Ogletree. Then Sanders Commings came up with his second grab of the day, as he stepped in front of a back shoulder throw. Resilient Alabama held the Georgia offense and got the ball again. Big power runner Eddie Lacy broke through for a well-blocked 41-yard touchdown run. It was 7-7.
Georgia had an open receiver deep, but Murray threw the ball short and Bama picked him. Murray took a cheap shot to the head on a penalty the refs missed during the long interception return. McCarron had a long quarterback run, but Coach Nick Saban squandered an opportunity for the Tide to score a touchdown with notably poor clock management. The perfect-on-the-season Alabama kicker and Saban had to settle for three points, with two time outs left but only five seconds on the clock. Bama up 10-7 at the half…
I stopped the live Blawg here just to focus more closely on the game:
A dramatic shootout second half was dominated by the great blocking and strong backs on the Alabama run offense and the overall superior athletes of the excellent UGA program. It hurts too much for y’all to read or for me to write long when we lost like this, so I choose to use brevity for my final Blawg until a late December preview of the bowl game.
It came down to Georgia eight yards from a game-winning touchdown and perhaps the greatest win in school history, down by four with no timeouts and the clock running out. We had moved down the field after forcing Bama to punt on a three-and-out. Murray hurried to the line, motioning to the sideline that he was going to spike the ball. He did not, instead throwing an end zone throw to a somewhat covered but in good position Malcolm Mitchell.
An incompletion would have resulted in another attempt or two, but the football never arrived. UGA fans were left with a million could-have-should-haves and no answer, as the number one defense in the country made the biggest play of the day with a tip. The ball was redirected and caught in bounds inside the five. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.