This is what I’m talking about.
To punt the ball back to Arkansas would have been to put the game back in the hands of one of the nation’s top quarterbacks, and to ask a defense that had struggled for most of the day for one more stop.
That was one end of the fourth-and-inches decision University of Alabama coach Nick Saban had to make, and the other end was the one that appealed most. With 54 seconds remaining from his own 44-yard line, quarterback Greg McElroy pushed a sneak play two yards to seal the Crimson Tide’s comeback victory with a clock-killing first down.
“We needed that much,” said Saban, motioning a three-inch distance with his fingers. “There’s a lot of bad things that can happen when you punt it. The punter can fumble the snap, they could block it, you’ve got to get into tight punt (formations), and you don’t have a very good coverage unit when you do that because you know they’re going to come after it and try to block it. The players said that we can make it, and we did. Those are all good calls when they work. And they’re all horrible calls when they don’t.”
The fundamental difference between Georgia and Alabama right now is that Mark Richt frets over all the bad things that can happen when the other team punts the ball.