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November 29, 2012

Alabama, Georgia season recaps

TideSports.com's Tommy Deas and UGASports.com's Anthony Dasher recap the roads that brought Alabama and Georgia to the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta.

Alabama 2012 Season
Capsules by Tommy Deas
Alabama 41, Michigan 14
When: Sept. 1
Where: Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas
Recap: Alabama got its season rolling with a one-sided victory in the Cowboys Classic, jumping out to a 31-0 lead and coasting from there. AJ McCarron threw for 199 yards and two touchdowns, and freshman T.J. Yeldon made his debut at running back with an 111-yard performance that included a touchdown run. The Crimson Tide defense got in on the act, with C.J. Mosley returning an interception for a score and Dee Milliner setting up another touchdown with an interception return.
Key Stat: Alabama was 4 for 4 in the red zone, scoring three touchdowns and kicking one field goal. The Crimson Tide made the most of its scoring opportunities, getting touchdown runs of 9 yards from Eddie Lacy and 1 yard from Yeldon to go with a 2-yard McCarron-to-Michael Williams pass and a 22-yard Jeremy Shelley field goal.
Quotable: "I personally don't think we were trying to send any type of message. We're just trying to do what Coach (Saban) preaches, and that's to go out and play our game." - McCarron

Alabama routs Michigan | Hurt |Photos

Alabama 35, Western Kentucky 0
When: Sept. 8
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa
Recap: Alabama created four turnovers and got two short-field touchdown drives in a shutout victory. McCarron completed 14 of 19 passes for 219 yards, throwing four touchdown passes. Kevin Norwood caught scoring passes of 33 and 12 yards following turnovers produced by the UA defense and Christion Jones caught touchdown passes of 14 and 22 yards. Alabama was held to 103 rushing yards, with Lacy gaining 36 yards on nine carries to lead the way. Running back Jalston Fowler sustained a season-ending knee injury, the first of several major injuries that would hamper UA over the course of the season.
Key Stat: Western Kentucky produced six sacks for 48 yards in losses, exploiting some seams in UA's pass protection with a blitz-heavy scheme.
Quotable: "Our goal is to create three turnovers, and once we hit our goal we just want to keep making it easy on the offense and ourselves to change the momentum." - linebacker Nico Johnson

Tide shuts out WKU | Hurt | Photos

Alabama 52, Arkansas 0
When: Sept. 15
Where: Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, Ark.
Recap: Alabama completely devastated an Arkansas team that was reeling from an upset loss to Louisana-Monroe a week earlier and without quarterback Tyler Wilson, out with a concussion. The Crimson Tide forced five turnovers and Lacy rushed for 55 yards and three touchdowns. Yeldon added 55 rushing yards and another score and Kenyan Drake ran for 57 yards in relief. McCarron passed for 189 yards and a touchdown.
Key Stat: Alabama held Arkansas to just 137 total yards and 1.6 yards per carry. It would have been worse had the Razorbacks not completed a pair of 19-yard passes.
Quotable: "We told our players that their quarterback situation was not our problem, it was theirs." - Alabama coach Nick Saban

Tide thumps Arkansas | Hurt | Photos

Alabama 40, Florida Atlantic 7
When: Sept. 22
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa
Recap: Alabama scored on its first six possessions - three touchdowns and three field goals - to race out to a 30-0 lead by halftime. McCarron completed 15 of 25 attempts for 212 yards and three touchdowns, hitting Kenny Bell for an 85-yard score, DeAndrew White for a 4-yard touchdown and Jones for a 4-yard score. Lacy ran for 106 yards, topping the 100-yard mark by halftime to lead a 256-yard ground attack.
Key Stat: UA held the Owls to just 23 yards on 21 plays in the first half. Florida Atlantic did not get a first down until 4:37 remained in the first half.
Quotable: "We certainly stalled out today. How many times did we kick fields goal today? Four?" - Saban on UA's execution in the red zone

Depth shows in rout | Hurt | Photos

Alabama 33, Ole Miss 14
When: Sept. 29
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa
Recap: The scrappy Rebels came to play and took it to Alabama, but McCarron connected twice with Amari Cooper on touchdown passes, Shelley connected on four field goals and Jones returned a kickoff 99 yards for a score. Cooper caught eight passes for 84 yards and Lacy ran for 82 yards. Ole Miss got as close as 27-14 in the third quarter on Randall Mackey's 12-yard touchdown run, but Alabama's defense clamped down after that. Mosley made 10 tackles and Alabama intercepted three passes. Both wideout White and reserve running back Dee Hart suffered season-ending knee injuries against the Rebels.
Key Stat: Alabama wasn't able to sustain its running game, gaining just 125 yards on 34 carries for a 3.7-yard average.
Quotable: "We finished those drives when we got those interceptions, so that was a good thing." - Saban on cashing in after turnovers

Alabama handles Rebels | Hurt | Photos

Alabama 42, Missouri 10
When: Oct. 13
Where: Memorial Stadium, Columbia, Mo.
Recap: Alabama jumped out to a 28-0 lead by midway through the second quarter of this lightning-delayed game that was played mostly in a downpour. Lacy set the tone with a 73-yard touchdown run on the game's second play and finished with a career-best 177 rushing yards to go with three touchdowns. Yeldon piled on 144 more yards and scored twice. Missouri's touchdown came on a kickoff return, with the Tigers held to 129 yards in total offense and just three rushing yards.
Key Stat: UA controlled the clock, holding the ball for 36:29 to Missouri's 23:31. Alabama kept possession for more than 11 minutes in the fourth quarter.
Quotable: "That's what it's all about, getting down and dirty." - linebacker Mosley on playing through the storm

Bama crushes Mizzou | Hurt | Photos

Alabama 44, Tennessee 13
When: Oct. 20
Where: Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, Tenn.
Recap: McCarron put on an aerial show, passing for a then-career-best 306 yards and four touchdowns as Alabama put away its rival. Cooper caught seven passes for 162 yards, including touchdowns of 23 and 42 yards, and McCarron also hit tight end Williams for a 1-yard score and Bell for a 39-yard touchdown. Alabama also moved the ball on the ground, with Yeldon gaining 129 yards and rushing for two touchdowns and Lacy running for 79 yards. Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray went 13 for 27 for 184 yards with two interceptions in a tough outing against UA's defense.
Key Stat: Alabama's defense was able to get off the field, holding Tennessee to 2 of 13 on third-down conversions. The Volunteers were also unsuccessful on two fourth-down tries.
Quotable: "One of our goals is to come into a game and rattle the quarterback." - Alabama linebacker Johnson

McCarron, Cooper have big nights | Hurt | Photos

Alabama 21, LSU 17
When: Nov. 3
Where: Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, La.
Recap: McCarron led a five-play, 72-yard drive that culminated in a 28-yard screen pass to Yeldon for the game-winning touchdown with 51 seconds to go as Alabama came from behind. The Crimson Tide led 14-3 at halftime and seemed to have things well in hand before LSU took control with two long drives in the second half to take the lead. Norwood caught three passes on the game-winning drive and finished with five catches for 62 yards. Lacy ran for 83 yards and a touchdown.
Key Stat: UA struggled on third down on both sides of the ball, converting just 1 of 9 situations on offense while LSU converted 10 of 20. The Tigers held onto the ball for almost 40 minutes.
Quotable: "Things went bad. The momentum changed. But they kept their poise, kept playing, kept competing." - Saban

Alabama survives Death Valley | Hurt | Photos

Texas A&M 29, Alabama 24
When: Nov. 10
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa
Recap: Johnny Manziel, better known as Johnny Football, accounted for 345 combined passing and rushing yards and powered the Aggies to a 20-0 first-quarter lead that proved too much for Alabama to overcome. The Crimson Tide blew two fourth-quarter opportunities when Yeldon lost a fumble and McCarron threw an interception on fourth-and-goal. McCarron passed for 309 yards and a touchdown but was intercepted twice. Lacy and Yeldon had touchdown runs, with Lacy rushing for 92 yards, and Cooper caught six passes for 136 yards.
Key Stat: Ryan Swope caught 11 passes for 111 yards and a score. As difficult as Manziel was for Alabama to contain, Swope was responsible for many key catches to keep the Aggies' offense moving.
Quotable: "No moment is too big for him." - Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin on Manziel

Aggies fast start too much | Hurt | Photos

Alabama 49, Western Carolina 0
When: Nov. 17
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa
Recap: No team ever had an easier bounce-back game than Alabama did against the lower-division Catamounts. Lacy rushed for three first-half touchdowns as the Crimson Tide raced to a 42-0 lead by halftime before emptying the bench. Lacy rushed for 99 yards, McCarron had an easy 6-for-6 day passing for 133 yards and a touchdown and backup quarterback Blake Sims gained 70 yards on eight carries. Western Carolina managed just 163 total yards, while Alabama rolled up 460.
Key Stat: No. 1 and No. 2. The two teams atop the rankings fell - No. 1 Kansas State to Baylor and No. 2 Oregon to Stanford - to put Alabama right back into the national championship picture.
Quotable: "Quack Quack Quack Quack CHOKE!!!" - guard Anthony Steen, on Twitter, after Oregon lost in overtime

Alabama crushes Catamounts | Hurt | Photos

Alabama 49, Auburn 0
When: Nov. 24
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa
Recap: Alabama dominated its cross-state rival without breaking a sweat to clinch the SEC Western Division title. UA's starting offense took the field seven times and scored seven touchdowns, with McCarron passing for four scores, Lacy running for 131 yards and two touchdowns and Cooper hauling in two scoring passes among his five catches for 109 yards. The Alabama defense held Auburn to 163 yards, with backups playing most of the second half. Wideout Bell sustained a broken leg to end his season.
Key Stat: Of Auburn's 17 called pass plays, two ended in sacks, two in interceptions and eight fell incomplete.
Quotable: "I felt like I knew what they were going to do every play." - McCarron, on Auburn's defense

Alabama shuts out Tigers | Hurt | Photos

Georgia 2012 Season
Capsules by Anthony Dasher, UGASports.com
Georgia 45, Buffalo 23
When: Sept. 1
Where: Sanford Stadium, Athens, Ga.
Recap: Georgia only led its season opener 24-16 at the half before outscoring the Bulls 21-7 in the second half to put the game away. It wasn't the most crisp of efforts for Todd Grantham's defense, as Buffalo rushed 45 times for 199 yards, although there were plenty of bright spots offensively, led by true freshman Todd Gurley, who rushed eight times for 100 yards and two touchdowns and returned a kickoff 100 yards for a score.
Key Stat: Chris Conley blocked a punt early in the second quarter to give the Bulldogs the ball at the Buffalo 23. This was the first blocked punt for Georgia since Orson Charles had one against Vanderbilt in 2011.
Quotable: "I was just blessed to come out here and see everybody. I was not as nervous as I thought I would be." - Gurley
Georgia 41, Missouri 20
When: Sept. 8
Where: Memorial Stadium, Columbia, Mo.
Recap: Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson got the Bulldog Nation talking when said Georgia played "old-man football." The Tigers were tough early, but the Bulldogs scored 24 unanswered points in the second half to pull away as Aaron Murray completed 22 of 35 passes for 242 yards and three touchdowns. Linebacker Amarlo Herrera had one of the game's bigger plays when he recovered a fumble at the Bulldog 28 in the second quarter to stop a Missouri drive.
Key Stat: Outside linebacker Jarvis Jones proved unstoppable for the Tigers as the junior made nine tackles, picked off a pass, forced two fumbles and recorded two sacks.
Quotable: "We were just hoping he would be able to go. It bothered him the whole game." - Georgia coach Mark Richt on Jones, who played with an ankle injury
Georgia 56, Florida Atlantic 20
When: Sept. 15
Where: Sanford Stadium, Athens, Ga.
Recap: Once again, Georgia's defense got off to a slow start as the Owls were tied with the Bulldogs at 14 before Richt's squad tallied six straight touchdowns to put the game away. The game marked the first time that Gurley and Keith Marshall went over 100 yards rushing in the same game, with Gurley rushing 10 times for 111 and Marshall chipping in with 10 carries for 104.
Key Stat: The Bulldogs piled up a school-record 713 yards of total offense. The previous high was 667 against Southern Miss in 1993. The total ranked as the sixth-most in SEC history.
Quotable: "We have the tools to be very successful on offense and create a lot of mismatches, but we can't be happy." - quarterback Aaron Murray
Georgia 48, Vanderbilt 3
When: Sept. 22
Where: Sanford Stadium, Athens, Ga.
Recap: Much of the pregame hype centered around last year's midfield confrontation between Vandy coach James Franklin and Georgia defensive coordinator Grantham. Although the Bulldog players didn't talk about it much during the week, after the game they admitted they wanted to "win one" for their coach. This one was never close as the Bulldogs jumped out to a 13-0 first-quarter lead and led 48-3 heading into the fourth. Gurley led the Bulldogs with 16 carries for 130 yards and two touchdowns.
Key Stat: Georgia's 45-point win matched the largest in the series against Vanderbilt (45-0 in 1976) and tied the biggest in an SEC game under Richt.
Quotable: "We are meshing really well right now. We are getting better every day, and we just have some really good running backs behind us." - center David Andrews
Georgia 51, Tennessee 44
When: Sept. 29
Where: Sanford Stadium, Athens, Ga.
Recap: In what was no doubt Georgia's craziest game of the year, the Bulldogs and Vols found themselves tied at 30 at the half before Georgia outscored Tennessee 21-7 in the third quarter and held on to win. The 44 points allowed represented a season high for the Bulldogs. Gurley and Marshall combined for 305 total yards and five touchdowns.
Key Stat: Georgia scored 40-plus points for a school-record fifth consecutive game as the Bulldogs and Tennessee combined for the most points in series history.
Quotable: "Yeah, I know we are giving up too many big plays. I think part of that comes with being an aggressive defense, but most of it comes from miscommunication." - cornerback Damian Swann
South Carolina 35, Georgia 7
When: Oct. 6
Where: Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, S.C.
Recap: Georgia's lone loss in 2012 was certainly an ugly one, as the Gamecocks exploded to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. South Carolina made life miserable for Murray, who completed 11 of 31 passes for 109 yards with an interception. Georgia managed just 224 total yards.
Key Stat: Georgia saw its streak of consecutive wins in the regular season end at 15. Prior to this game, the last time the Bulldogs dropped a regular-season contest was last year when the Gamecocks beat Georgia, 45-42, in Athens.
Quotable: "We took a whipping, but the good news was we took it together. It was a team loss." - Richt
Georgia 29, Kentucky 24
When: Oct. 20
Where: Commonwealth Stadium, Lexington, Ky.
Recap: Despite an off week to prepare, it was another half-hearted effort in a game the Bulldogs were fortunate to win. Kentucky took the opening kick and promptly drove 84 yards for a score before Georgia rallied to take a 16-14 halftime lead. The Bulldogs eventually extended their advantage to 29-17 in the fourth quarter and were never truly threatened after that.
Key Stat: Murray enjoyed a career night, completing a career-high 30 passes for career-best 427 yards. The 427 yards also represented the second-most in the SEC this year behind Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel's 453 against Arkansas.
Quotable: "We know we're a very talented offense, but we've still got work to do." - Murray
Georgia 17, Florida 9
When: Oct. 27
Where: EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Fla.
Recap: In the days leading up to the annual grudge match, Georgia safety Shawn Williams called his teammates out for being "soft," and the Bulldogs responded. Defense was the name of the game, with Georgia holding a 10-9 lead until Murray hit Malcolm Mitchell for a 45-yard touchdown pass with seven minutes left to hand the Gators their only loss. Gurley became the only running back to rush for 100 yards against the Gators this season by galloping for 118 on 27 attempts.
Key Stat: For the first time since 1988, Georgia held Florida without a touchdown. Quotabe: "We know that the smaller guys will fumble if you keep hitting them, so we came into the game wanting to really lay into those guys and get after them." - linebacker Jordan Jenkins
Georgia 37, Ole Miss 10
When: Nov. 3
Where: Sanford Stadium, Athens, Ga.
Recap: Ole Miss held a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter before the Bulldogs' offense exploded, scoring 37 unanswered points to win going away. Murray completed 21 of 28 passes for 384 yards and four touchdowns. The victory did not come without a cost, however, as the Bulldogs lost leading receiver Marlon Brown to a torn knee ligament.
Key Stat: Georgia shut out an opponent in the second half for the second time this season. Linebacker Alec Ogletree played accounted for a safety in the third quarter, Georgia's first since Brandon Boykin had one in last year's Outback Bowl.
Quotable: "When you have great players behind you like Alec Ogletree and Amarlo Herrera, you want to keep them free. You want to let them run around and make plays." - defensive end Garrison Smith
Georgia 38, Auburn 0
When: Nov. 10
Where: Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn
Recap: This one was over shortly after it began. The Bulldogs scored just four minutes into the game on a 6-yard pass from Murray to Chris Conley and the rout was on. Gurley and Marshall both went for more than 100 yards against the Tigers, who trailed 38-0 going into the fourth when the Bulldogs emptied their bench en route to wrapping up the SEC Eastern Division crown.
Key Stat: The shutout was the first by Georgia against Auburn since 1978, when the Bulldogs won 28-0 in Auburn. The 38-point margin of victory matched last year's 45-7 win in Athens and tied for the second-largest in the series.
Quotable: "Oh, it's always great to have a chance to shut a team out like that. It isn't easy. ... Plus, I know in Columbus there is that Auburn-Georgia rivalry with a lot of fans of both schools there, so that made it cool." - linebacker Jones
Georgia 45, Georgia Southern 14
When: Nov. 17
Where: Sanford Stadium, Athens, Ga.
Recap: The Football Championship Subdivision Eagles gave the Bulldogs all they wanted and appeared to be driving for a go-ahead score right before half when safety Bacarri Rambo ripped away the football. Georgia went on to add a late touchdown on a 24-yard touchdown pass to Malcolm Mitchell. The Bulldogs put the game away with three touchdowns in the third quarter to win their 10th game of the year.
Key Stat: Gurley joined Herschel Walker as the second true freshman in Georgia history and the 11th overall to record at least 1,000 yards rushing in a season.
Quotable: "Obviously, we've got guys who people would call stars, but I don't see anybody who has a star mentality or attitude." - offensive coordinator Mike Bobo
Georgia 42, Georgia Tech 10
When: Nov. 24
Where: Sanford Stadium, Athens, Ga.
Recap: For the second straight week, Georgia faced off against the triple option and came out on the winning end as the Bulldogs raced to a 28-3 halftime lead. The Yellow Jackets did rush for 306 yards, although much of that came against the second unit late in the game.
Key Stat: Safety Rambo tied a school record with his 16th career interception, matching Hall of Famer Jake Scott. Rambo returned the ball 27 yards to give him 293 return yards, the third-most in school history.
Quotable: "Overall we're not concerned about the yardage and things like that because we were able to limit their scoring." - defensive coordinator Grantham

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