It came down to the final seconds of the game and a play that will forever live in the back of Georgia’s mind, costing them a 32-28 loss to Alabama and a chance to make it to the BCS Championship game against Notre Dame in January.
Saturday’s game will definitely be put in the vault of a classic SEC battle to the finish and one of the greatest games between two, high-caliber, SEC teams during the entire BCS era of football. Both teams battled back and forth throughout all four quarters of the game, with Georgia getting a final look down-field with just 0:15 seconds left on the game clock. Georgia was just seconds to paving their way to Miami after quarterback Aaron Murray threw a blazing 26-yard pass to Arthur Lynch down the middle, to put the Bulldogs staring at the goal on the 8-yard line.
With no timeouts, Georgia either had to make a quick strike to the end zone or make a play that would stop the clock. With what became their final opportunity, Murray looked to target Malcolm Mitchell in the end zone with what fans hoped would be a sure move. But, after the ball was tipped at the line of scrimmage, the ball fell into the hands of receiver Chris Conley at the 5-yard line. Instead of spiking the ball or getting out-of-bounds to stop the clock, time quickly ran out and Alabama walked away with their ticket to Miami.
Conley, Murray, head coach Mark Richt and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, all knew afterwards that the play was a bad decision. It was impulse. Conley did what any receiver would do and go for the catch. Simply put, it is what he is supposed to do.
After the game, WSB-TV’s Zach Klein reported that Bobo admitted that the call and play was a mistake. Georgia coaches understand that this last second effort cost them a position to bring the crystal trophy home to Athens.
Having to swallow the loss of an SEC title, will more than likely also cost the Bulldogs a spot in a BCS bowl. Looking ahead, Georgia will most likely have to settle for a second-tier option, such as the Capital One Bowl. But, to a Georgia team that played with enormous heart and enthusiasm on Saturday, not gaining a spot in a coveted BCS game will be heartbreaking.
In his press conference after the game, Alabama head coach Nick Saban was quoted as saying, “I think its a crying shame that Georgia doesn’t get to a BCS game.”
Looking at the numbers, Murray went 18 of 33 for 267-yards, a touchdown and one interception. Todd Gurley had 121-yards total on 23 carries and two touchdowns.
For Alabama, Eddie Lacy had 185-yards on 20 touches and two touchdowns. Freshman TJ Yeldon had 152-yards on 25 carries and a touchdown to add to his young career.
To find out which bowl game Georgia will be traveling to, watch the BCS selection show Sunday on ESPN at 8:30 p.m.
About the Author
Written by Ashley Gulick
Sports Journalism is my passion! I keep up with the latest news on pro/college football, NASCAR and baseball....and just about everthing else. I grew up in Talladega, Ala., but moved to Georgia when I was 15. From a young age, I always knew that I wanted to be involved with sports somehow. Once I got into college and completed my degree in Communications, I knew that I had a passion for sports journalism. I have covered sports for the Kennesaw Sentinel (KSU's student paper), Marietta Daily Journal and Douglas County Sentinel.