Alabama holds off Georgia 32-28, advances to Miami

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 2, 2012 at 12:47 am •  Published: December 2, 2012
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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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