Alabama's tradition of having a former player deliver the game ball had a unique twist Saturday night when the Crimson Tide hosted Southern Miss at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Two balls were delivered, one each by brothers Gary Rutledge and Jeff Rutledge. The two are the only brothers in college football history to quarterback two teams at the same university to national championships.
Gary Rutledge was quarterback of the 1973 Crimson Tide, while Jeff was quarterback of the 1978 national championship team.
Alabama frequently has a national championship theme. This weekend the Crimson Tide welcomed back members of the 1965 national championship team. Members of the squad returning were introduced at halftime.
For the first time this year in an Alabama game, play was momentarily stopped while replay officials reviewed a call. A touchdown had been signaled on a long pass from Brodie Croyle to Tyrone Prothro in the final seconds of the first half. SEC veterans Steve Landis as the replay official and Dick Burleson as communicator correctly ruled that Prothro's knee had touched before he went in. The replay team got it right again on a pass from Croyle to tight end Nick Walker, who juggled the ball going out of bounds. The on-field official's ruling of incomplete was upheld by the review.
Doug Woodman, an Alabama graduate and member of the Florida Citrus Bowl committee in Orlando, was the lone bowl scout in attendance at the game.
Tyrone Prothro had seven catches for 134 yards and D.J. Hall five catches for 130 yards, both career highs for both men. It was the third time in Alabama history two receivers had over 100 yards receiving in the same game. And it was the first time it had happened in a winning effort. Freddie Milons (124) and Antonio Carter (104) did it in a 2001 loss to UCLA and David Bailey (187) and Bubba Sawyer (110) did it in a 1969 loss to Auburn.
Prothro has at least one reception in 20 consecutive Alabama games.
Brodie Croyle's 330 passing yards was a career high and is ninth best in Alabama history. Alabama is 5-0 in Croyle's last five starts and he is 9-9 as an Alabama starting quarterback for his career.
Alabama has missed three field goals in the first two games. Last season Alabama was 16-19 with three misses for the year.
When Jeffrey Dukes intercepted a Southern Miss pass with 14 seconds remaining in the game, it extended Alabama's streak of forcing at least one turnover to 19 games.
Jamie Christensen returned to starting place-kicking duties after having served a one-game suspension for the opening game. Christensen and back-ups quarterback Marc Guillon, safety Marcus Carter, and halfback Aaron Johns were all reinstated for Saturday night's game.
Southern Mississippi scored its first offensive touchdown against Alabama in 13 quarters when Dustin Almond threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Perine with 53 seconds remaining in the first quarter. The last time USM scored an offensive touchdown against Alabama was in the third quarter of the 2001 game at Legion Field in Birmingham. Bama won that game, played in a driving rainstorm, by 28-15.
All of a sudden Alabama's depth at halfback could be a question mark. Freshman Jimmy Johns, who played on kickoff teams, appeared to have a shoulder injury. He was in warm-ups in the second half. Freshman Glen Coffee was thought to have suffered a concussion. Earlier in the week it had been announced that freshman halfback Roy Upchurch would have foot surgery and be held out this year.
With 8:14 to play in the game, competition was halted briefly when the sprinkler system at Bryant-Denny Stadium was activated, spraying the field for about a minute.
Kevis Coley, a Southern Miss linebacker, was ejected from the game in the final two minutes after a personal foul.