Alabama mounted a fourth quarter comeback to defeat Georgia in the Southeastern Conference title game and earn selection as the Week 14 winner of the United States Sports Academy’s College Football Game of the Year Contest.
Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper with 3:15 remaining in the game to put No. 2 Alabama (12-1) ahead, 32-28.
But No. 3 Georgia (11-2) marched right down the field. After an apparent game-clinching interception by Alabama was overturned on a video review, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray completed a 15-yard pass to Arthur Lynch, a 23-yarder to Tavarres King and a 26-yarder to Lynch, who was hauled down at the Alabama 8 as the final seconds ticked down.
Georgia’s Chris Conley caught a deflected pass and slipped down at the 5-yard line with only five seconds remaining but with no timeouts left the Bulldogs (11-2) didn’t get another play off.
Alabama trailed 21-10 with 6:31 left in the third quarter but rallied thanks to a running game that finished with 350 yards, an SEC championship game record. Eddie Lacy, the game’s MVP, rumbled for 181 yards on 20 carries, including two TDs, while freshman T.J. Yeldon added 153 yards on 25 carries and a TD. Meanwhile, Georgia was held to 113 yards on the ground.
Alabama now faces top-ranked Notre Dame (12-0) on Jan. 7 in Miami for the chance to clinch its third national college football title in four years. The matchup pits two of college football’s most storied programs with the Crimson Tide and Irish both having captured eight Associated Press national titles, more than any other schools.
A national panel of experts selects the weekly winner of the Academy’s College Football Game of the Year Contest. Each week’s winner is considered for the award honoring the best College Football Game of the Year at the end of the season.
This committee is currently chaired by Jack Lengyel, the former athletic director at the United States Naval Academy. Lengyel was also a college football coach best known for being the head coach who resurrected the Marshall University football program, as depicted in the 2006 film, “We Are Marshall.”
Daniel Moore, the American Sports Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) 2005 Sport Artist of the Year, is commissioned by the Academy each year to create a painting honoring the selected College Football Game of the Year. The Academy, also known as America’s Sports University, donates the painting and $5,000 to the general scholarship fund of the annual winner.