The play that transcended the college football world continues to be dissected at Georgia.
Auburn‚Äôs game-winning 73-yard touchdown pass with 25 seconds left Saturday made the NBC Nightly News on Monday.
Safety Josh Harvey-Clemons deflected the pass that safety Tray Matthews was trying to intercept and it fell into the hands of Ricardo Louis, who took it into the end zone.
Georgia coach Mark Richt echoed the comments of cornerback Damian Swann a day earlier.
Coaches, he said, never told the players during the timeout before the fourth-and-18 desperation pass to bat down the ball in the 43-38 Bulldogs loss.
‚ÄúObviously at the end of the game, you‚Äôve got to know to knock a ball down in that situation,‚Äù Richt said. ‚ÄúWe had a timeout prior to that. I‚Äôm in there. (Defensive coordinator Todd) Grantham is in there. We‚Äôre all in there. I could have easily said, ‚ÄòHey guys, if the ball‚Äôs launched deep, bat it down‚Äô. I could have said that. That‚Äôs a good reminder for our young bunch of guys back there, you know.‚Äù
Nobody did, he said.
‚ÄúI, quite frankly, didn‚Äôt think it was time that they were going to launch one,‚Äù Richt said. ‚ÄúTo me, there was enough time to move the chains. We weren‚Äôt thinking they were going to launch a bomb into super deep coverage. You really shouldn‚Äôt throw a post into that look. You‚Äôve got two or three guys deeper than the guy. They launched it and we didn‚Äôt bat it down. I certainly could have said, ‚ÄòHey, if that ball‚Äôs anywhere where you could knock it down, don‚Äôt think about pick, think about knocking the ball down because it ends the game in essence.‚Äô I had my chance to coach that up and didn‚Äôt do it.‚Äù
Said Grantham: ‚ÄúAt the end of the day, you‚Äôve got to percentage-wise knock it down. Don‚Äôt want to tip it up.‚Äù
Grantham showed his players this week a clip from the Ravens-Broncos playoff game last year when the Ravens got a 70-yard touchdown with 31 seconds left in regulation with a pass over the top of the Broncos secondary and went on to win in double overtime.
‚ÄúMy point was that‚Äôs why you celebrate in the locker room because you won a game, you finished a game,‚Äù he said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs never over until it‚Äôs over. You‚Äôve got to play every play and finish the game out.‚Äù
Richt said a Hail Mary would have been considered more likely if Auburn was 50 or 55 yards from the end zone and there were only a few seconds remaining.
‚ÄúIt wasn‚Äôt really a typical Hail Mary situation,‚Äù he said. ‚ÄúThere was a dig route and a post and some other concepts underneath to read. … He let it rip and it turned out to be a good thing for them.‚Äù
Richt said the players and coaches work to defend Hail Mary situations every week in practice.
‚ÄúWe bat it down every Thursday,‚Äù Richt said.
Added Grantham: ‚ÄúI‚Äôm sure it‚Äôs something that if they‚Äôre put in that situation again, they‚Äôll know what to do.‚Äù