Georgia’s defense struggles against Alabama’s power

jheeter@macon.comDecember 1, 2012 

ATLANTA -- The Georgia defense started and finished strong against Alabama’s rushing attack.

The middle two quarters didn’t go as smoothly.

Alabama rolled up 270 of its 350 rushing yards in the second and third quarters, helping push the Crimson Tide to a 32-28 win over Georgia on Saturday in the SEC championship game. Both Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon rushed for more than 150 yards.

“We just had a game plan to be physical, and we were going to score regardless,” Alabama guard Chance Warmack said. “Any situation they were going to give us, the mentality was to score.”

The Crimson Tide starting eating up chunks of yards late in the second half, with Lacy doing most of the damage on a drive that spanned 82 yards. Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron threw an interception in the end zone to end the drive, but the Crimson Tide’s offensive line began to set the tone for the next 30 minutes of football.

Lacy scored on a 41-yard run with two minutes to play in the first half, pushing Alabama into a tie at 7.

Despite falling behind 21-10 in the third quarter, Alabama remained committed to the run because the ground attack gashed the Georgia defense to the tune of 6.9 yards per carry.

Lacy rushed for 155 of his 181 yards in the middle two quarters, including 86 in the third quarter as the Crimson Tide got back into the game.

“Eddie did as fine a job as anybody has ever done for us in terms of the way he played (Saturday),” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said.

Yeldon, a freshman, gained 153 yards and pulled Alabama to within 21-16 following a 10-yard touchdown run with 4:19 to play in the third quarter. Saban was so confident in Alabama’s ability to run the ball that he gave the ball to Yeldon on a run up the middle for a two-point conversion to pull the Crimson Tide within three points.

“They just lined up and knocked us off the ball,” Georgia head coach Mark Richt said.

Alabama’s rushing attack became so potent that it forced Georgia to devote its defensive resources to stopping the run.

The defensive adjustment opened the door for McCarron and the deep ball, and the Alabama quarterback found Amari Cooper for a 45-yard touchdown pass that became the eventual game-winner.

“They started playing an eight-man front and actually putting another guy in the box,” Saban said. “We were going to take a shot the first play of the series. I said, ‘Let’s try to take the clock and the game, make a first down or two, and then take one,’ and they kept playing that same thing, trying to stop the run. ... Then we took the shot, and AJ made a great throw, and Coop made a great catch.”

The Telegraph is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service