Tide Doesn't Have Time To Be Down

The theme in the post-game interviews with Alabama players was consistent: Use the "24-hour rule" to anguish about losing 29-24 at home to Texas A&M, and then get back on track.

Just what was the attitude in the Alabama locker room before players came to meet the media?

"Down, but we don't have time to be down," said quarterback A.J. McCarron, who came two yards short of engineering a second straight comeback victory. "That's football. Things are going to go your way sometimes, and sometimes things aren't. We lost one (game) last year, and got back in the national championship (game). We've just got to finish up strong and win the SEC Championship. Maybe someone will go down, and we'll get back in (title contention).

"We don't have an option. We have to get back to what we do: ‘Just win.'"

McCarron finished the game 21-of-34 passing for 309 yards (201 in the final quarter alone), with two interceptions and one touchdown throw. McCarron's school record of 292 consecutive passes without an interception ended in the first quarter.

Junior Eddie Lacy led the Tide in rushing with 92 yards on 16 totes. "There's a lot of emotion in the locker room. Everybody's down. We have the '24-hour rule.' We've just got to put this behind us.

"We're going to continue to prepare just like we did the other weeks," he said. "We know what it takes. It's a game. Whether you win or lose, you've just got to come in and prepare for the next game."

Wide receiver Kenny Bell thought for a moment he might be the guy to pull his team ahead for the first time, but he was dragged down at the 6-yard line after a 54-yard catch.

"I feel like I should have scored," Bell said. "That's the killer instinct in me.

"We always plan on finishing the game. We just came up short. We all can go forward. We're a team that never looks back. We know what it takes to finish the race."

Bell had three catches for 73 yards. True freshman Amari Cooper led the Tide with six grabs for 136 yards and a 54-yard touchdown that closed out the scoring with 6:09 left.

Senior center Barrett Jones, as usual, held up well under post-game questioning. Jones credited the Aggies with throwing some early curve balls for strikes.

"They came out with a great game plan, and some looks we hadn't seen," Jones said. "We're disappointed. We had so many opportunities. The difference in the game is we turned it over, and they didn't." In addition to McCarron's two picks, T.J. Yeldon had a drive-killing fourth quarter fumble.

"It feels like someone just died," said Jones, "but we can still win the SEC, and that's a big deal."

The 20-0 hole the Tide dug for itself played a big part in the outcome, and the architect of that deficit was Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, who finished with 253 yards passing and completed 24-of-31. He added 92 more yards rushing.

"When you've got a playmaker like that, he's going to make his plays," said Bama linebacker C.J. Mosley, who made a game-high 14 tackles. "You need to get off the field on third down. We didn't break the pocket, and we didn't have eye discipline in the first half.

"That's how he got the name ‘Johnny Football.'"

Said senior guard Chance Warmack: "It's never a good thing to lose. You try not to focus too much on a loss. It's hard right now. You try to focus on having a good attitude, and on getting ready for the next game. We've got a '24-hour rule,' and we can think about the loss for that long, then it's time to move on to the next game."

Alabama (9-1, 6-1 SEC) will host Western Carolina next week at 11:21 A.M. The game will be televised by the SEC Network.

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