By: Brian Rice
SEC Digital Network
VIDEO: Eddie Lacy's Postgame Interview
ATLANTA, GA. – The ground game dominated the conversation in the Georgia Dome Saturday night, and Eddie Lacy won a battle of Alabama running backs to be named the Most Valuable Player of the 2012 Southeastern Conference Championship Game.
The junior carried the ball 20 times for 181 yards and two touchdowns to help carry the Crimson Tide to the SEC Title and their second-straight trip to the BCS National Championship game.
His performance was part of a record-setting day on the ground for the Crimson Tide. Alabama set a new SEC Championship Game record with 350 rushing yards, while Lacy and teammate T.J. Yeldon, who rushed for 153 yards and a touchdown, became the first tandem to rush for 100+ yards in an SEC Championship Game.
“He was pretty relentless out there, the way he was competing,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said of Lacy’s effort. “He’s a very physical runner and made it difficult for them to tackle him. Our offensive line obviously did a great job making those holes for him, but Eddie did a fantastic job of finishing those runs. Eddie did as fine of a job as anyone has ever done for us in terms of the way he played today.”
Lacy got on track early. His second carry of the night, a 20-yarder, put Alabama in the red zone for the first time in the game. A drive later, he shed tacklers as he crossed the right side of the line and rumbled 41 yards for a touchdown that tied the score at 7-7. He finished the first half with 90 yards on 9 carries and the TD.
“Our offensive line did a great job blocking and making holes for T.J. and I,” Lacy said. “A.J. (McCarron) did a great job passing. (Amari) Cooper did a great job as well. It was a good game, a hard fought game and we knew we had to play hard for 60 and we came out and did it.”
The second half was almost a carbon copy of the first for Lacy. He rushed for 91 second-half yards and gave Alabama a 25-21 lead on the first play of the 4th quarter with a 1-yard dive over the right side of the line. Lacy carried the ball five times for 60 yards on the drive, including a 32-yard scamper to open the series.
Lacy said the focus of the Alabama team after the late-season loss to Texas A&M was a key in the way the Crimson Tide played as the season closed. Now, the team moves one to play for its third national title in the last four seasons.
“After that loss,” Lacy said, referring to the Nov. 10 loss in Tuscaloosa. “As a team, we knew we had to stay focused and take care of what we had to take care of and the chips fell where they fell. We played the way we were supposed to and won the next few games and we were able to end up here.”