Third-ranked Georgia fell 32-28 to second-ranked Alabama in its fifth all-time SEC Championship Game appearance. Coach Mark Richt summed up the Dawgs effort simply stating “The clock just ran out.” The Dawgs (11-2) are 2-3 in these games, all under Mark Richt. Georgia, which saw its six-game winning streak end tonight after driving to the Alabama 5 yard line before time ran out, will learn its bowl destination Sunday. The Crimson Tide (12-1) now own a 37-25-4 edge in the series.
To The House: Defensive end Cornelius Washington bullied his way through the Alabama front to block his first career field goal in the third quarter. Inside linebacker Alec Ogletree scooped up the block and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown, which is the first of his career, to put Georgia up 21-10. This is the first blocked field goal since John Jenkins blocked one versus South Carolina this season. The Dawgs have now turned two blocked punts, one blocked PAT and two blocked field goals into 16 points this year.
Ground Attack: True freshman tailback Todd Gurley rushed for 122 yards on 23 carries and a touchdown. This marks Gurley’s eighth 100-yard rushing game this season and gives him 15 touchdowns on the year (same as Herschel Walker his true freshman season). His touchdown was only the eighth rushing score that the Tide has allowed this season. He has 1,260 yards on the season.
100 Through The Air: Flanker Tavarres King hauled five catches for 142 yards. He now has six 100-yard receiving games in his career. He is now 4th in school history with 2,498 career receiving yards.
Jones Adding To Sack Total: On the defensive side of the ball, outside linebacker Jarvis Jones (playing with the flu) added two sacks to go along with six tackles versus the Tide. He is now tied for fifth in school history with 26 (Freddie Gilbert) and has 12.5 this season. Jones also had a forced fumble and leads the nation with seven this year. He has 22.5 TFL this season, which ranks second in school history behind David Pollack (23.5 in 2002).
Fake Punt: Tight end Arthur Lynch took the snap on a fake punt and converted his first career pass attempt (a 16 yarder) to defensive back Sanders Commings for a first down to the Alabama 20-yard line. Commings’ first career catch marked the first converted fake punt for since punter Gordon Ely-Kelso ran 34 yards against Kentucky in 2005.
Rome Grabs His Second: Georgia used the fake punt conversion to go up 7-0 as quarterback Aaron Murray connected with tight end Jay Rome for a 19-yard touchdown. It was Rome’s second career touchdown catch and second in as many games. Murray now has 90 touchdown passes in his career and 31 in 2012. The Dawgs’ 13-play scoring drive equals the longest drive for UGA this season (Tennessee).
Getting Defensive: Georgia held Alabama to 10 points in the first half. This is the lowest scoring output in two quarters for the Tide this season. The Tide scored 14 points on LSU and Texas A&M in the opening half. Neither team scored in the opening period for the first time in SEC Championship Game history. The Dawgs gained 86 yards and four first downs while the Tide recorded 71 yards and three first downs in the first quarter. Alabama finished with 246 yards to Georgia’s 157. Alabama scored 22 in the second half, the most allowed this year.
Points off Turnovers: Georgia forced two turnovers but did not convert them into any points. Alabama intercepted Aaron Murray with 1:15 left in the second quarter and converted a field goal as time expired in the half. For the Dawgs, outside linebacker Jarvis Jones forced a fumble against QB AJ McCarron on a sack that inside linebacker Christian Robinson recovered at the 9:33 mark in the first period. The Dawgs missed a 50-yard field goal after getting the ball. In the second quarter, Commings had his third interception of his career in the end zone with the Tide on the Dawg 5-yard line. Georgia failed to convert a first down after getting the ball. For the year, Georgia is now +9 in turnover margin and has scored 65 points off 25 turnovers. Opponents have turned 16 Dawg miscues into 56 points.
Leading Tacklers: Junior inside linebacker Alec Ogletree led the team with 11 tackles including nine solo stops. He has a team-high 98 tackles this year. Jarvis Jones had two sacks and and John Jenkins added another, and they both had six tackles apiece. Senior safety Shawn Williams had nine stops.
Captains: Junior offensive guard Chris Burnette, senior free safety Bacarri Rambo, junior outside linebacker Jarvis Jones and senior nose tackle John Jenkins served as the game captains for the coin toss.