Alabama wins SEC crown as time runs out on Georgia

Bulldogs come up five yards short at end of SEC championship, sending Crimson Tide to the BCS title game.

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ATLANTA

Alabama will play Notre Dame for the national championship in the game everyone wants to see, but only after playing the game no one wanted to end.

File it to your smartphone memory or even carve it in a park bench: Alabama 32, Georgia 28.

The attendance was 75,624 and the venue was the Georgia Dome.

Crimson Tide fans will tell their grandkids about this game in 25 years while Bulldogs fans stomp their feet and plug their ears.

It was tremendous, glorious, stressful and painful — all in the same three Saturday seconds.

Alabama (12-1) won the Southeastern Conference title and a trip to the Bowl Championship Series title game Jan. 7 because Georgia (11-2) made the fatal mistake of completing a pass.

They teach you to catch passes, not drop them, but that's what Georgia receiver Chris Conley should have done as the clock expired and he lay helpless five yards from his team's title dreams.

"It stinks," Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray said. "It's tough to take a game like that."

Georgia thought it had lost with 43 seconds left on an interception by Alabama's Dee Milliner, but the play was ruled an incompletion after a replay review.

After its reprieve from the booth, Georgia regrouped from its 28 and raced down the field on Murray completions of 15, 23 and 26 yards.

With no timeouts and the clock running, Georgia had first down at the Alabama eight-yard line as players furiously scrambled into position for what everyone presumed would be a ferocious spiking of the ball.

Instead, though, with the clock ticking inside 15 seconds, Georgia elected to run another play.

It was designed to be a "fade" to Malcolm Mitchell to the right corner, with Conley running a "speed out" underneath.

But Murray's pass was deflected at the line of scrimmage and went to Conley, who made a sliding catch as he stayed inbounds.

"Not a good thing," Georgia Coach Mark Richt would later say.

It may go down as the worst three-yard completion in the history of Georgia football.

The clock kicked down "Five, four, three, two, one" and Georgia was left five yards short.

Conley, instinctively, did what he was taught to do.

"I would have caught it," Georgia receiver Tavarres King said. "I definitely would have caught it. You always want to catch the ball. It's second nature."

Richt was ultimately responsible for the decision.

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