Final Observations Of Alabama Win
The Alabama second half offensive aerial attack Saturday night against the vaunted LSU defense appeared to be graveyard dead in Tiger Stadium -- Death Valley -- with 1:34 showing on the game clock.
Approaching the last possession with no timeouts, Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron had one completion in seven attempts for an emergency room self-induced flat-lining scary zero yards. All vital signs pointed to mortality for a team diagnosed as invincible by the college football examining community. Any hopes for the redshirt junior signal-caller to lead the Tide to the ultimate team goal of a BCS National Championship and individual recognition with a Heisman Trophy ceremony invitation to New York City seemed in life-threatening peril.
The Baton Rouge resident coroner had a purple and gold pen in hand awaiting to John Hancock the signature on a death certificate. In a strange twist of fate, the apparent executioner of the struggling Tide offense became the giver of life. The Mobile native orchestrated a comeback drive worthy of praise equal to any in the illustrious history of Alabama football.
Trailing the Tigers 17-14 in the fourth quarter, he resuscitated the gasping for air passing offense with four completions in five attempts, three in succession totaling 44 yards to redshirt junior wide receiver Kevin Norwood.
Alabama made the perfect call to counter a blitz on a second and ten from the LSU 28 yard line. The five-play, 43-second, 72-yard drive culminated in freshman running back sensation T.J. Yeldon gathering in the screen pass to the left and juking by one unblocked defender for the game winning touchdown in the 21-17 victory.
Only Lazarus was more elated to be alive than Tide players, coaches, athletic administrators, alumni and devoted fans. Resurrection had occurred in Death Valley for those playing, exhorting and cheering the team donning the crimson and white.
LSU (7-2, 3-2 SEC) may be the only physical twin of Alabama competing at the FBS level. Offensively they have massive lineman, downhill physical running backs, athletic skilled receivers and a tall, strong-armed quarterback. Defensively, they maul you at the line of scrimmage; rush the passer with aggressiveness and stone ball-carriers in space.
Not all twins are equally proficient though. Saturday evening the one-loss underdog appeared to have the edge. Prognosticators forecasting the outcome gave the hometown Tigers a chance if Zach Mettenberger, the maligned LSU quarterback, could have the game of his life. He obliged by recording 35 attempts, 24 completions and 298 passing yards – the most of any quarterback opposing the spectacular stifling Tide defense this season. He added a 4th quarter go-ahead touchdown pass to those impressive numbers.
The magnificent performance conjured up flashback nightmares of the over the top assault perpetrated by struggling South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia against a number one ranked visiting 2010 Alabama in Columbia. Similar to 2012, the Tide had multiple new starters in the secondary. He torched the inexperienced unit completing 17 for 20 with three touchdowns passes in a 35-21 ‘Bama loss.
The sequel with Mettenberger in the starring role for the opposition was almost produced and distributed were it not for the clutch execution by the poised, emotionally charged A J McCarron.
Equal praise is deserved for both the offensive line shielding the Tide quarterback from one of the best set of defensive pass rushers in the country and sticky fingered dependable backs and receivers. Defensive guru Nick Saban gave a tip of the hat to a corps of defenders continuing to compete after being under siege all evening and giving the offense one more last chance to regain the lead.
There would be no apologies or regretful second guessing for 9-0 (6-0 SEC) top ranked Alabama.
A subpar statistical night of 14 completions on 27 attempts for 165 yards and one touchdown pass disguises the magnitude of the magical moments now imbedded in Alabama football lore. The resolve to endure will act as valuable cache in reserve for future application in closely contested games.
Amidst circumstances threatening the death of dreams, the quarterback extricated himself and his team from the deepest valley thus far to experience tremendous growth. Alabama escaped unscathed to live another day undefeated after a harrowing night in Death Valley.
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