By Brett Beaird
In one of the most exciting games in the 20-year history of the SEC Championship Game, Alabama and Georgia showcased their offenses in a defensive-minded league.
The Crimson Tide trailed, 21-10, after Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown in the third quarter. Georgia fans sensed 30 years of frustration sliding away with the Bulldogs' inspiring performance.
But Alabama rallied and scored two consecutive touchdowns with a punishing ground game to take a 24-21 lead early in the fourth quarter. Georgia seized its last lead at 28-25 early in the fourth quarter on a 10-yard run by Todd Gurley. In a valiant effort, Gurley ran for 122 yards and two touchdowns. However, Gurley couldn't match Alabama's 350 yards rushing. Eddie Lacy rumbled for 181 yards and two touchdowns. T.J. Yeldon added 153 yards rushing and a touchdown.
The devastating ground game opened up the play-action pass and McCarron threw a perfect 45-yard touchdown to a streaking Amari Cooper with 3:15 remaining.
However, Murray would rally the Bulldogs. Only 68 seconds remained when Georgia started at its own 18-yard line. Murray completed four passes, three to tight end Arthur Lynch and one to Tavarres King. The game appeared to be over when Alabama’s Dee Milliner intercepted a pass, but replay officials overturned the ruling when video evidence indicated the ball first touched the ground.
Murray’s last completion, a 26-yarder to Lynch, gave the Bulldogs a first-and-goal at Alabama's 8-yard line. Murray and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo believed Georgia could run two plays with 15 seconds remaining. Instead of spiking the ball to stop the clock, Murray tried a fade pass intended for Malcolm Mitchell in the back corner of the end zone. However, Alabama linebacker CJ Mosley tipped the ball and Georgia receiver Chris Conley instinctively caught it at the 5-yard line. Georgia had no timeouts remaining. The Bulldogs' players and fans could only watch in despair as the clock ran out. The Tide won a classic, 32-28.
"It came down to one play to win the SEC Championship and play for the national championship," Murray told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “We just came up short.”