Sunday, December 2, 2012
3 Up, 3 Down: Alabama 32, Georgia 28
By Alex Scarborough
ATLANTA -- A look at the good and bad from Alabama's four-point win over Georgia in the SEC Championship Game.
THREE UP 1. Downhill running: When Alabama wanted to run the ball, there was nothing Georgia could do about it. The offensive line was punishing, pushing the line of scrimmage 3, 4 and 5 yards at a time. All Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon had to do then was find a hole and run through it. Alabama set an SEC title game record with 350 yards rushing with Lacy accounting for 181 yards and two touchdowns. Yeldon's 154 yards was just enough to get the freshman to 1,000 for the season.
2. Toughness: Alabama played with "A heart of gold," according to defensive coordinator Kirby Smart. Nose guard Jesse Williams came back from injury. Lacy battled through his own aches and pains. Every time Georgia threw a punch -- either with a big hit or a swing in emotion -- Alabama found a way to respond. The Tide would not be denied in the Georgia Dome.
3. Getting after the quarterback: There were flashes of A-Day on Saturday in Atlanta. Adrian Hubbard, who owned the spring scrimmage, looked like the same pass-rush threat more than six months later. The sophomore outside linebacker said he picked up his play for the title game, racking up four big tackles and a sack. He and fellow sophomore Xzavier Dickson stepped up in a big way. Dickson had two sacks and the Crimson Tide tallied five tackles for loss.
THREE DOWN 1. No-huddle: No huddle? No way. Alabama's offense was out of whack to start things off Saturday when it went three-wide and pushed the tempo. The defense was able to get pressure on AJ McCarron and force bad passes, causing the Tide to lose any sense of consistency. There's no better evidence of the no-huddle's failure than when coach Nick Saban and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier abandoned it, brining two tight ends on the field and running the ball at will.
2. Secondary concerns: Alabama's secondary was suspect at best against Georgia. Aaron Murray abused cornerback Deion Belue and attacked safety Robert Lester, who bit on a key play fake that resulted in a touchdown. In all, Murray threw for 265 yards as Georgia fell just a few yards and a few seconds shy of a comeback.
3. Injury concerns: Alabama's toughness was without question in the Georgia Dome. But that test of will comes with a price. Williams isn't 100 percent, neither is Lacy. Center Barrett Jones took the podium on crutches and defensive lineman Ed Stinson had to leave the field at one point with an injury. Luckily, the Tide get more than a month to recover.