Former legendary Alabama Coach Paul Bryant from time-to-time would comment on an Alabama player running free from the opponents: “He looked like he was out to practice early.” Current legendary Alabama Coach Nick Saban may have had some motivation when he sent Crimson Tide placekicker Adam Griffith as the first man out for halftime warmups at Alabama’s A-Day Game Saturday.
Griffith had missed four field goals in as many attempts in the first half, although the last one at the horn was from 54 yards.
Who could argue after Griffith nailed a 21-yard field goal after the Crimson team got the ball to first-and-goal but had to settle for the three-pointer.
Griffith also would get the final point of the game, hitting an extra point after the White rallied to win the game, 7-3.
It was a game that seemed designed to make as many A-Day Game spectators as possible depart early, and only a fraction of the surprisingly-strong 76,212 who answered Saban’s plea for a good crowd saw much of the scoring.
Griffith’s field goal was the beginning of all the scoring in Bryant-Denny Stadium, and it started about a third of the way into the fourth quarter. He put the Crimson up 3-0 on a drive of 10 plays for 54 yards that was highlighted by Calvin Ridley’s rundown of a badly mis-thrown David Cornwell pass that gained 33 yards to the 7.
J.K. Scott, who punted for both teams, pinned rthe Crimson at its 6-yard line for its next possession, and the Crimson was unable to get it out. Scott’s 42-yard punt for the Crimson set the ball up near midfield.
It would be nice to report that the White’s winning drive was a thing of beauty, but it was basically a couple of errors on one play that led to the Crimson loss. On first down, freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts threw into triple coverage, but in a play somewhat reminiscent of a disastrous defensive moment in last year’s loss to Ole Miss, the ball bounced off a Crimson defender (Rashaan Evans) and into the hands of Cam Sims for a 32-yard gain to the Crimson 20. But that wasn’t the end of the gain, because the Crimson was flagged for a facemask, making it first at goal at the 10.
Damien Harris rushed for 5 yards on first down, and with 2:48 to play, Hurts passed into the end zone for a touchdown to Derek Kief and what would be the 7-3 win.
The Crimson had time to pull it out, and there was a chance of that with Cooper Bateman at quarterback with the first offense against the first defense. He completed a pass to O.J. Howard (the first time targetted in the game) for 7 yards, the White was guilty of pass interference at midfield, Bateman completed a fourth down pass to Ridley for a first down, a 12-yarder to Robert Foster, and one for 25 yards to ArDarius Stewart at the White 13 with about a minute and a half to play.
But two passes had to be thrown away, and on third down White safety Ronnie Harrison made a nice break on a ball thrown into the end zone and picked it off to preserve the win.
The White, second offense and first defense, dominated statistically with 20 first downs to 7, rushing advantage of 65 yards to -5, and 232 passing yards (on 20-31 completions) to 136 (on 14-37). In total offense the White had 70 plays for 297 yards, the Crimson 49 plays for 131. There were no fumbles and the only turnover was in the last minute, the interception by Harrison.
The game was relatively clean, the White penalized one time for 13 yards, the Crimson 4 times for 24.
The defensive statistic that stood out was by the Crimson – 11 sacks for 84 yards.
Individually, Danien Harris of the White was the leading rusher with 20 carries for 114 yards and a long run of 19 yards – which came on his team’s first offensive play. Bo Scarbrough, who cracked the 100-yard mark in each of the Tide’s two scrimmages before the A-Day Game, was tops for the Crimson, but with only 20 yards on 9 carries.
In passing, for the Crimson, Cooper Bateman was 9-24 with the one interception for 86 yards and David Cornwell was 5-13 for 50 yards. For the White, Blake Barnett was 9-16 for 112 yards and Jalen Hurts 11-15 for 120 with the one touchdown.
In receiving for the White, true freshman tight end Miller Forristall had 8 catches for 53 yards; Derek Kief had 5-58 with the only touchdown of the game; Cam Sims 3-66; Damien Harris 2-20; Xavian Marks 1-26; and Daylon Charlot 1-9. For the Crimson, Calvin Ridley was 4-54; tight end Hale Hentges 3-12; ArDarius Stewart 2-33; Robert Foster 2-25; Bo Scarbrough 2-5; and O.J. Howard 1-7.
J.K. Scott punted for both teams, 6-266 (44.3 average) for the White, 9-420 (46.7 average) for the Crimson.
96 Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE On defense, Shaun-Dion Hamilton and Ryan Anderson led the White with 5 tackles each; Marlon Humphrey had 4; Reuben Foster, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Da’Ron Payne had 3 each; and making 2 each were Tim Williams (both sacks for 17 yards, and he also had 3 quarterback pressures), Eddie Jackson, Maurice Smith, Da’Shawn Hand (2 quarterback hurries), and Dalvin Tomlinson.