ATHENS, Ga. -- Let’s take a look at three key plays from No. 6 Georgia’s 32-28 loss to No. 2 Alabama in the SEC championship game on Saturday.
Dogs pull off fake punt
The score: 0-0
The situation: Georgia faced fourth-and-10 from the Alabama 36 on the first play of the second quarter.
Why it worked: Bulldogs punt team coach John Lilly had been sitting on this play for a few weeks, but it caught Alabama -- awaiting a pooch punt from a Georgia team that hadn’t attempted a fake-punt pass in seven years -- completely off guard.
The breakdown: Arthur Lynch was the lone punt protector for Adam Erickson, only he didn’t protect a punt. He caught the snap at Alabama’s 45 and tossed a wobbly blooper to Sanders Commings, who had lined up on the far right end of the line and run 16 yards in a straight line before catching the pass. Alabama’s Robert Lester drilled Commings just after the reception, but he held onto the ball at the Crimson Tide’s 20.
Lynch said after the game that it was the first pass he had ever thrown in a game at any level, and it might not have been a work of art, but it got the job done and provided an enormous emotional lift after a scoreless first quarter. Georgia scored its first touchdown -- on a 19-yard pass from Aaron Murray to tight end Jay Rome -- two plays later.
What it means: If you want a sign Georgia was playing to win Saturday, this was one of the biggest. Fans and media have regularly criticized Mark Richt for coaching too conservatively throughout his tenure, but the Bulldogs let it all hang out against the defending BCS champs.