The lingering question from the 2012 SEC Championship game will always be whether Georgia should have spiked the ball before their ill-fated last play. Georgia’s decision to run a play with roughly 15 seconds left versus downing the ball and re-grouping, unfortunately, takes some of the attention away from the real hero of that play, C.J. Mosley. His leaping deflection of Aaron Murray’s pass redirected the ball into the hands of Chris Conley and the Tide’s trip to Miami was secured.
In a rare appearance before the media, Tide defensive coordinator Kirby Smart discussed Mosley:
“C.J. has done that all his career,” Smart said. “I remember his first freshman practice, we do the freshman separate than the older guys. The older guys, we had ran a pressure where we brought two guys to the running back, and the older guys ran it against the ones.”
Smart couldn’t remember if it was Dont’a Hightower or Chris Jordan.
“And they didn’t bat the ball down,” Smart said. “C.J. did it at the night practice, same place, same script, C.J. jumps up as he’s blitzing and batted the ball down. Just an instinctive, really smart football play, and from that point on, he’s always had a knack. …
“Even in the LSU game there’s a third down they were going to convert, and he was dropping, and he kind of just batted the ball. He naturally does a good job of that. He was a really good basketball player in high school. He did the same thing in that (Georgia) game. Didn’t surprise me at all that he did it.”
A freshman mistake may have also saved the Tide as well:
What surprised Smart was that freshman “star” (nickel back) Geno Smith was supposed to be blitzing along with Mosley.
“I always wonder to this day if Geno had blitzed, he probably would have batted the ball down to the ground, and there would have been another snap,” Smart said. “So the fact he didn’t come and bat it down and they caught the ball, it’s a little bit of fate there.”