Enjoy this one, Bama fans. Saturday afternoon's 42-14 Crimson Tide win at Jordan-Hare stadium has been a year in the making.
Just ask A.J. McCarron, who hooked up with Kenny Bell on a flea flicker touchdown pass that sailed 50-plus yards in the air and fell perfectly into Bell's arms for the game's first touchdown.
Or ask Brad Smelley, who caught six passes for 86 yards and a touchdown -- all in the first half and all resulting in first downs.
Or you can ask Trent Richardson, who racked up 203 yards on 27 carries, including a phenomenal 57 yard defender-swatting cutback run late in the fourth quarter that will be etched in Bama fans' memories for years to come.
Ask Demarcus Milliner, who intercepted a horribly-thrown pass from Auburn quarterback Clint Mosely and turned it into a dazzling 35-yard interception return for touchdown.
Ask Nick Gentry, Courtney Upshaw, Dont'a Hightower, Vinnie Sunseri, Mark Barron, or any of the Crimson Tide defense that held Auburn to 78 yards rushing, 62 yards passing, and didn't allow Auburn a single offensive point.
Yes, Saturday's win over Auburn was sweet. It expelled the demons of last year's epic collapse after going up 24-0 against Auburn. It also makes things look for all the world like Alabama and LSU will meet in New Orleans to play for the BCS National Championship, a rematch of the November 5th contest where LSU won 9-6 in overtime at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
That would be a chance for Alabama to exorcise a few more demons -- four missed field goal attempts that were the difference in the game. Alabama must wait for the final BCS rankings to come out in a couple of weeks to see if it will have that chance.
Ask an objective observer, however, and after rattling off many of the Alabama superlatives for Saturday night's game they would probably tell you it should have been a lot worse than a 28-point defeat for the Auburn Tigers.
Alabama's kickoffs should have gone deeper. Returns should have been covered better. Quarterbacks should have been coached to scramble for positive yardage and then get down on the ground if no one is open after five and a half seconds of standing untouched in the pocket. Aggressive downfield play-calling should not be abandoned after one miscue.
After last year, Bama fans would not have minded absolute perfection and a what-could-have-been 100-0 win Saturday -- but 42-14 will do.
A year ago this time we all sat in stunned disbelief after Cam Newton brought his team back from a 24-7 first half deficit to win 28-27. This year Alabama promised "Never again." It kept that promise at Jordan-Hare tonight. And because of it, a year-old wound finally feels ready to heal.
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