ATLANTA - The Georgia Dome scoreboard still showed Georgia three points ahead of Alabama late in the third quarter of Saturday's SEC title game.
But the play on the field told of a different result. Barreling his 220-pound frame over right guard as only a premier running back can, the Tide's Eddie Lacy ran headstrong into Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones and spun to his right, pulling free of both Jones and teammate Shawn Williams in the process.
By the time the Bulldogs' Bacarri Rambo finally wrestled him to the ground, Lacy had made a stunning 32-yard run in the 181 yards and two touchdowns he would total on the night.
When the Tide prevailed 32-28 in a game for the ages, Lacy was handed the game's MVP trophy.
"When you've got players like Eddie Lacy, you have a warrior's mentality on the line," offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio said. "He just doesn't quit. He's so strong and so quick. He and T.J. [Yeldon, 153 yards] make our jobs so much easier."
How good was Bama in piling up an SEC title-game record 350 rushing yards?
"They just lined up and knocked us off the ball," losing coach Mark Richt said. "I don't know if they even threw it a couple of drives. We were just not able to stop it."
Added Bama senior center Barrett Jones: "There's nothing better than an offensive lineman to know that the other team knows what's coming and there's nothing they can do to stop it. You kind of sensed that sometimes in the second half."
But it all began with Lacy, who lived in 2009 Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram's shadow during a redshirt year, then played behind Trent Richardson much of last season.
"He was pretty relentless," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "Very physical runner and made it difficult for them to tackle him. Our offensive line does a good job of making some of those holes, but Eddie did a very good job of finishing those runs."
As he walked off the field Saturday evening, Ingram -- who now plays for the New Orleans Saints -- grabbed Lacy and hugged him.
Asked what Ingram had said, Lacy smiled and said, "He just told me it was the best he'd ever seen me run."