What An Opening

What do Alabama's nine football games thus far in 2005 have in common. Well, yes, all have been victories, which is most important. But also all have opened with a pass. And each pass has been a completion. Five different receivers have been on the receiving end of game-opening passes from Brodie Croyle.

The most dramatic Alabama opening play came against Florida. The Crimson Tide got the ball at its own 13-yard line. On first down, quarterback Brodie Croyle connected with Tyrone Prothro just behind the single defender (what were the Gators thinking?) for an 87-yard touchdown and Bama, then ranked 15th in the nation, went on to a 31-3 win over the then fifth-rated Gators.

Alabama's first play of the 2005 season came on September 3 against Middle Tennessee State. Croyle hit Matt Caddell on a slant route for a 19-yard gain. The Crimson Tide took a 26-7 win over MTSU.

Against Southern Miss, Alabama's first play was Croyle finding Prothro down the sideline for a 52-yard gain as Bama went on to a 30-21 win over the Golden Eagles.

The first road game was at South Carolina, and the Tide opened with Croyle completing a nine-yard pass to Keith Brown. Bama romped over the Gamecocks, 37-14.

Freshman tight end Nick Walker got his first reception of the year on the first play of the Arkansas game. Walker gained 24 yards and Alabama was a 24-13 winner.

After the Florida game, the Tide went to Oxford to take on the Ole Miss Rebels. Walker was again the first-play recipient, an 18-yard gain to start off the Tide's 13-10 win.

Over the years, Tennessee has made a lot of yardage with the screen pass. When Bama opened against the Vols, the Crimson Tide opened with a screen pass, Croyle connecting with Brown for six yards. Alabama ran its record to 7-0 with a 6-3 decision.

D.J. Hall got the first play reception for homecoming against Utah State. Croyle found him in the left flat for six yards. The Tide rolled, 35-3.

Against Mississippi State, Croyle opened the game with a 19-yard completion to Brown in Bama's 17-0 win.

Alabama's opening play linescore is nine-for-nine for 240 yards, an average of 26.7 yards, and one touchdown.

Prothro, who was lost for the season with a broken leg in the fourth quarter of the Florida game, had two receptions for 149 yards. Walker has had two receptions for 42 yards, Brown three for 34 yards, Caddell one for 19, and Hall one for six.


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