I’d like to dedicate this post to the lady who sat next to me, a fine Georgia fan (she sure thought she was, anyway) who tapped me on the shoulder while I was talking to my friend before the game started wanting to know when I was going to stand up, fell asleep at halftime and left for good before finding out that the interception call on Georgia’s last, fateful drive was overturned. You make me proud to wear red and black, dear.
- All I want for Christmas is Alabama’s offensive line. Unbelievable combination of power and technique in the run blocking game. It got to a point in the second half – at least before the last score – when it felt like any time the Tide decided to pass, it was a gift to Georgia’s defense.
- Amari Cooper is a bad ass, yes, but let’s not overlook how good Tavarres King was. His last catch was as gutsy as they come.
- I kidded on Twitter yesterday that the SECCG wasn’t a big game because Aaron Murray didn’t wet the bed. I’d call his game gritty as opposed to great, but Georgia’s not in a position to win without him. For the most part he did a terrific job not trying to do too much and he was good with his reads against a defense that spent all day trying to confuse him. The one play I’d like to have back from him wasn’t the last throw of the game, but the pick he threw in the first half. I’m not really sure why it was underthrown, because he wasn’t under pressure and had time to set before he launched it. That three points ‘Bama got before the half made a big difference in the end.
- I’m not sure there’s anything an offense can do to a defense that’s more demoralizing than running a two-point conversion play up the middle and scoring with ease.
- My biggest fear is that if CBS agrees to a new TV deal, it’ll run even more commercial breaks. My Gawd, the time outs were excruciating.
- One surprise on the day was that Georgia’s offensive line did a better job handling the pass rush than Alabama’s line did.
- I can’t say enough about Todd Gurley’s play. Another 100+ yard day against a tough defense and I don’t think he had a run over 20 yards. He did a pretty good job in pass protection, as well.
- Eddie Lacy is pretty damned nimble for a guy his size.
- I tremble as I type this, but Georgia’s special teams outplayed Alabama’s. The fake punt call, in particular, was beautifully drawn up and perfectly executed.
- If you’re gonna run all this “Great Moments in SECCG History” stuff during the game, SEC, can you try to find a producer who can spell Brandon Coutu’s name correctly? (Hint: there’s only one “o” in his last name.)
- I’ve seen Georgia play several times in the Dome. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard the place louder than when Ogletree returned that blocked field goal.
- If Murray had hit Mitchell on that last pass for the win, do you think we’d be talking about Richt’s clock management at game’s end? Or would we be talking about Saban’s clock management at the end of the first half?
- Bobo called a pretty good game. Four drives of 75 or more yards are an indication of that. If I had to nitpick, I wish he’d have done something a little more creative on one of the third and short plays. On the other hand, he proved me wrong about the I-formation. It turned out that Georgia’s offense was pretty effective out of that set. He also deserves some credit for Murray’s solid game.
- I’m not sure what to say about Grantham’s day. His guys came out playing well – Alabama didn’t score until well into the second quarter – but once the Tide basically abandoned the passing game to concentrate on the run, his defense got ground down. You could tell they were gassed by the way they were missing wrapping up runners. You knew he wanted to keep his safeties back, but had no choice but to start committing them to the run to stop the bleeding. Once that happened, the play action success to Cooper was inevitable. It would have been nice to have had more line depth from Abry Jones. It also would have been nice if the offense could have converted one of those third and short plays in the second half. But don’t forget that Georgia never would have had that one last shot at winning the game if the defense hadn’t sucked it up and gotten that final stop first.
- I said going in that Richt had two key tasks on the day. One was keeping Aaron Murray’s head in the game and the other was making sure his team was emotionally and mentally ready to play. He succeeded on both fronts. There was no quit in that bunch. As impressive as that last drive was, even as it came up short, the two scoring drives that preceded it, both of which erased Alabama leads, were a clutch as they get. You don’t get those kinds of results against a quality opponent like ‘Bama unless you’ve got your team ready to fight and fight to the very end.
It was as emotionally exhausting a game as I’ve watched Georgia play. The hard, hard swings in momentum throughout, capped by the intensity of the last minute of the game made sure of that. I was proud of what those kids put into that title match. I’m not going to lie, though – while I can’t fault the effort, the close but no cigar ending didn’t give me much comfort.