There was an amazing 35-yard touchdown reception by Keith Brown on a pass from quarterback John Parker Wilson early in the third quarter against Hawaii Saturday night that put the Crimson Tide up 22-3, but that play was made possible by one just as important the play before.
Wilson saw the cornerback playing back off of Oakley, and hit him perfectly on an out-route for a 20-yard gain. It was Oakley's first career reception, and one of two catches on the night.
"That was a big play for Will," Alabama Head Coach Mike Shula said. "He's worked hard in spring and off-season and stayed healthy."
That and a big ‘Happy Birthday!' to Will, who turned 21 Saturday.
"This is the best birthday ever," Oakley said.
"It felt good to get out there and make it the first catch of my career. Before the play I knew it would probably be open. It was textbook how (Wilson) threw it where only I could catch it. It felt so good to get that first catch out of the way."
Oakley said his play tonight was a far cry from his past injuries (knocking on wood now.)
"After two years being injured, finally, not just playing, but in the rotation with lots of plays. I got a couple of catches, and I couldn't be more thankful," he said.
He said the fear of being known only as the guy who's constantly hurt "always crosses your mind", but "I'm trying to go out there and make plays, show everybody I can do it, and make them forget all about that."