5 key matchups in the SEC Championship Game

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If Georgia wants to beat Alabama today and earn a spot in the BCS title game, the Bulldogs will have to win these matchups.

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Alabama's defense has given up six passing touchdowns all season.  FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Alabama's defense has given up six passing touchdowns all season.

1. AARON MURRAY VS. ALABAMA’S SECONDARY

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray ranks first in college football in passing efficiency, but how will he fare against the nation’s No. 2 defense (233.7 yards a game)?

Murray, who has struggled in big games during his career, asked to be relieved of talking to the media leading into today’s game.

In last year’s SEC Championship Game, for example, he completed 16 of 40 passes for 163 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions, and he was sacked four times. The Bulldogs lost to Louisiana State 42-10.

2. ALABAMA’S OFFENSIVE LINE VS. GEORGIA OLB JARVIS JONES

Jarvis Jones, a finalist for the Lombardi Award, Bednarik Award and Lott Trophy, is putting together one of the finest seasons in Bulldogs history.

Jones has shown an ability to take over games – he had four sacks and 12 solo tackles in a 17-9 win against Florida.

Alabama will counter with an offensive line that has pounded opponents to the tune of 214.2 rushing yards per game.

3. ALABAMA’S OFFENSIVE LINE VS. GEORGIA’S DEFENSIVE FRONT

The Crimson Tide are dominating opponents up front, allowing the offense to score 32 touchdowns rushing the football. The Bulldogs’ 3-4 defensive front will have to slow down Alabama running backs Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon and prevent the Crimson Tide from controlling the line of scrimmage.

4. KICKING AND PUNTING

While the Bulldogs don’t have to worry about the Honey Badger – former LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, who returned a punt for a touchdown against Georgia en route to the 2011 SEC title – kicker Marshall Morgan and punter Collin Barber will need to step up their game. Alabama has a clear advantage with kicker Jeremy Shelley and punter Cody Mandell.

5. RICHT VS. SABAN IN REMATCH OF ’03

Georgia coach Mark Richt is 2-3 all time against Alabama’s Nick Saban, whose 2003 Louisiana State squad defeated Georgia in the SEC Championship Game.


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