“I wasn’t thinking, I just caught it,” Conley said. “I should have let it go.”
Georgia has not won a national championship since 1980 and it came within 5 yards of playing the Irish. It was Notre Dame that the Bulldogs and Herschel Walker defeated to win the national title of the 1980 season.
“I told them I was disappointed, but I wasn’t disappointed in them,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “It was a knock-down, drag-out fight and everybody swung until the end.”
Georgia seemed to have the game in hand in the third quarter when it took the kickoff and barged down the field 75 yards in nine plays. The Bulldogs freshman running back Todd Gurley (23 carries, 122 yards) carried seven times on the nine-play drive and scored from the 3-yard line.
Georgia led 14-10 and the crowd roared. It got even louder a few minutes later when defensive end Cornelius Washington broke through the Alabama line on a field goal attempt and blocked the kick. The ball bounced into the hands of Alec Ogletree, who raced 55 yards for a touchdown. The extra-point kick made it 21-10 with 6:31 left in the third period and the crowd became uncontrollable on the Georgia end of the field.
However, Alabama kept working over the Bulldogs with the run game, going 77 yards on one fast drive, then 74 for another touchdown. Georgia had given up 19 points in its previous three SEC games, but it was unprepared for the Crimson Tide’s offensive line.
Georgia got back in front 28-25 on Gurley’s 10-yard run with 12:54 to play, but Alabama came back again, this time with the pass. Quarterback AJ McCarron faked a handoff to Yeldon, the Bulldogs thought it was another bruising run play, and wide receiver Amari Cooper ran right by cornerback Damian Swann. He caught McCarron’s pass for a 45-yard touchdown play with 3:15 for the winning points.