The Union Recorder

Local Sports

October 10, 2012

Pass defense will play key role in SEC title race

ATHENS — Pass defense quietly has played a major role in who wins the national title.

During the Southeastern Conference's run of six consecutive championships, five of those champions ranked among the top two teams in the conference and the top four teams nationwide in pass efficiency defense.

The run-first SEC isn't known for throwing the ball all over the field, though that is changing. But SEC quarterbacks are effective when they do throw.

South Carolina's Connor Shaw and Alabama's A.J. McCarron are two of the nation's most efficient passers, and they could end up meeting in the SEC championship game.

Who wins the matchup — or even the chances of such a matchup occurring — likely depends on how well their respective teams defend the pass.

"I've always said I thought the thing that's different about this league was the pass rushers and the cover guys," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "The combination of those things was a little better than other places. Everybody's got good receivers. Everybody's got good runners. There are lots of good quarterbacks. But I thought those two things were something that was a little better in this league."

There's no doubt SEC quarterback play has improved this year.

McCarron, Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel and Georgia's Aaron Murray all rank among the nation's top 16 quarterbacks in passing efficiency. Shaw would rank second nationally in that category, but he's one pass attempt shy of qualifying.

Even so, the conference race often comes down to which team has the best pass defense. Of the last six national champions that all came from the SEC, the only one that didn't finish among the nation's top four teams in pass efficiency defense was the Cam Newton-led 2010 Auburn squad that ranked ninth in the SEC and 76th nationally in that category.

Text Only
Local Sports
  • State amputee golf tournament this week

    The Milledgeville Country Club will host the Georgia State Amputee Golf Tournament beginning Friday with a shotgun start at 12:30 p.m. for the four-person scramble prior to the individual stroke play portion the following two days.

    July 10, 2014

  • Kalie Todd.jpg Elite Gymnastics posts strong showing at nationals

    Competing on the national stage at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee, Fla. June 11-15, Elite Gymnastics posted some of its best results in program history at the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Gymnastics National Championship.

    July 9, 2014 5 Photos

  • 06-26 Jayla Waller.jpg Former Bravette to play for Georgia College

    One of the most decorated players in Baldwin High School girls’ basketball history, Jayla Waller advanced to the collegiate level competing for Lafayette College in Easton, Pa. this past season as a freshman.

    June 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • 06-21 Ramsey.JPG Amateur golf talent turns pro

    Professional golf is unforgiving and expensive.

    June 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 06-14 GMC summer basketball.jpg Bulldog basketball busy this summer

    Georgia Military Prep School boys’ basketball coach James Lunsford is notorious for working his players year-round to become better athletes and better students.

    June 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • IMG_2312.JPG Ross a future star

    The numbers speak loudly for David Ross Jr.

    June 11, 2014 5 Photos

  • 06-06 Blackbelt.jpg Mother-daughter combo make history at local karate studio

    History was made on Thursday, May 22 at Drouillard’s Karate Studio, as the school’s first mother-daughter combination in Mary Beth and Lindsey Atkinson tested and achieved the pinnacle black belt status on the same night.

    June 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_1061.JPG Youth explore tennis during GC camp

    Georgia College's tennis courts appeared to be a busy place on Wednesday afternoon.

    June 5, 2014 3 Photos

  • coach k camp.JPG Coach K's Soccer Camp kicks off with sweat

    Kids attending Coach K's Soccer Camp get their cleats dirty day one.

    June 3, 2014 3 Photos

  • 05-31 Cody Miller 3.JPG Miller’s versatility boosted Trojans this season

    Representing the John Milledge Academy baseball team well this spring, junior Cody Miller proved versatility is a key ingredient at the high school level as he led his team offensively and in pitching, earning him 2014 All-County Player of the Year honors.

    June 1, 2014 1 Photo