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Dec 3, 2011; Atlanta, GA, USA; A general view of the SEC logo at mid-field after the 2011 SEC championship game between the LSU Tigers and Georgia Bulldogs at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

SEC Championship Preview: Georgia Bulldogs vs. Alabama Crimson Tide

With Notre Dame’s national championship berth set, the Fighting Irish will sit comfortably Saturday afternoon waiting to see who their competitor will be.

The SEC Championship game will be between second-ranked Alabama and third-ranked Georgia. It’s a matchup of almost two identical teams. The winner will play in the BCS National Championship game in Miami, FL on January 7, 2013.

Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron has had his best season so far, with 178 completions in 265 attempts for 2,507 yards, 25 touchdowns, 2 interceptions and a 67.2% completion rate. With his growing success and amazing comeback in the final minutes against LSU, McCarron was placed on Heisman watch.

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray had a very similar successful season, although his success did not receive as much attention as McCarron’s. He had 213 completions in 320 attempts for 3,201 yards, 30 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, and a 66.6% completion rate. With a total of 10 different receivers, Murray will have plenty of targets.

Because both teams have comparable quarterbacks, it’s going to come down to a defensive game. Georgia’s defense was key in their win against Florida, not allowing the Gators to score a touchdown for the first time in that matchup in 14 years. They have to bring this same defense Saturday.

Jarvis Jones, linebacker for the Bulldogs, has 10.5 sacks on the season with 1 interception. Jones is the third ranked sack leader in the SEC. The Alabama offensive line will have to watch out for their quarterback and keep the pocket stable. Alabama defensive leader Adrian Hubbard, linebacker, is 13th ranked sack leader in the SEC with five on the season.

The key for the Alabama defense will be to stop Murray from making long passes and driving down the field.  They also have to stop Georgia’s young running game, lead by freshmen Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. The key for the Georgia defense will be to stop the running game, lead by running backs Eddie Lacy and TJ Yeldon. They also have to put pressure on McCarron and not allow him to make the huge play down the field.

It will be a close game — a top-ranked Georgia offense against the number one defense in the nation in Alabama. May the best team win.

Tags: Alabama Crimson Tide Football Georgia Bulldogs SEC Championship

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