SEC Championship 2012: Tide Fans Need to Thank Eddie Lacy, T.J. Yeldon for GW TD
A.J. McCarron's game-winning touchdown pass to Amari Cooper was because of Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon in the 2012 SEC Championship Game.
The play that gave Alabama a 32-28 lead in the waning minutes was perfectly planned by Nick Saban's Crimson Tide. In short, the old-school and traditional offensive attack of running the ball to setup the pass worked to a T.
What transpired is the end result of a rushing approach that leads to another shot for the BCS national championship. For anyone to win as consistently as the Tide, a run-first philosophy has proven to be the competitive advantage in a pass-happy era.
Here, we look at how this score became the final lead change in a spectacular SEC contest.
Dawgs' Front Seven and Pass Rush
Alabama was only leading Georgia 10-7 at halftime. Considering how consistently dominant we've seen the Tide perform and start off in games, the Bulldogs defense really locked down in the first half.
Throughout the course of the game, however, the Tide's passing game saw minimal production. For one, McCarron attempted 14 of his 21 passes in the game's first 30 minutes. Going 8-of-14 with an interception in the process, McCarron was also sacked two times (three times for the game) and lost a fumble.
So, Georgia was controlling the line of scrimmage well with quarterback pressure and blanketing in coverage. Fortunately, Saban's defense kept the Bulldogs at bay so second-half adjustments could be made with a lead.
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After all, Alabama's entire first half was not typical of the Tide lately.
'Bama in the First Half
Along with two turnovers and only 10 points through one half, Alabama also didn't score until there was just under two minutes left in the second quarter. Georgia's defense forced three punts and had one miraculous goal-line stand.
There, another fumble was forced and the Dawgs were able to maintain a solid field position advantage through two quarters. Otherwise, 'Bama would have had this game controlled from opening kickoff.
Interestingly enough, it was McCarron's scrambling ability that got the Crimson Tide in field goal position as the first half concluded. His 31 rushing yards, excluding the sacks, came on just two attempts and the Tide went ahead.
Even more impressive, though, was Lacy and Yeldon each exactly receiving nine carries in the first half. That's excellent and dynamic play-calling to set Georgia up later on. Not to mention especially needed, because four of McCarron's completions went to Cooper during this span as well.
Saban Slams the Line in Second Half
In rushing for 136 yards through the first 30 minutes, Saban had his offense find another physical level thereafter.
The most imperative reason for that occurred once Georgia extended its lead to 21-10. Upon receiving the second half kickoff, Mark Richt's team scored 14 unanswered with seven coming from a blocked field goal.
Alabama's following drive was Yeldon for 47 yards on four attempts, including the two-point conversion. The following drive was seven straight rushes between Lacy and Yeldon, which ultimately finished with another Tide touchdown.
During the course of this half, McCarron attempted a mere seven passes but completed five of them.
Courtesy of the running back duo accounting for over 300 rushing yards and three touchdowns through 3.5 quarters, McCarron was then able to dial up this game-winner to his No. 1 receiver.
The award is Alabama provided with an opportunity to defend its national title against Notre Dame.
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