Doing His Job

Four times Alabama went into the Red Zone Saturday. Three times the Tide got points from the toe of Jamie Christensen. But Bama needed more points as Mississippi State was a 24-16 winner over Alabama at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Alabama placekicker Jamie Christensen did his job to the best of his ability against Mississippi State. Alabama got one touchdown from the defense when Jeffrey Dukes picked off a Mississippi State pass and returned it 24 yards for a touchdown. The other 10 Alabama points came on Christensen kicks.

Alabama made it into the Red Zone--that final 20-yard stretch fo the opponent end zone--four times against the Bulldogs. Three times the Crimson Tide called on Christensen when the offense failed to score a touchdown.

This is not a recent development. Alabama has now been in the Red Zone 43 times this season, more than any other SEC team. But Bama ranks low in scoring with 33 successes. And more often than not, 18 times, the score has been a field goal. Bama has 15 touchdowns after reaching the Red Zone.

On Saturday, Christensen connected on a 19-yard attempt when Bama's opening drive stalled at the two-yard line.

In the third quarter, as Bama battled from a 24-10 halftime deficit, the Tide twice had to eschew a touchdown opportunity and turn the scoring over to Christensen. He delivered with kicks of 26 and 31 yards.

The one time in the Red Zone Alabama did not go for a field goal the Tide came up short on a two-yard run trying to get a touchdown. With time for only one play in the first half from the State two-yard line, Bama quarterback John Parker Wilson came up short on a scramble try.

"I figured we'd go for it there," Christensen said. "I was ready to go in, but I didn't think I would. I thought going for the touchdown was the right thing to do."

Christensen said, "I can't worry a lot about the offense in the Red Zone. I have to concentrate on my job and do what I can to help us win. They do all the work getting it down there and if they call on me I need to deliver."

He said the field goals were "all solid hits, down the middle. But," he added, "the only thing that matters is that it's in."

Christensen is battling his second injury of the fall. In pre-season camp he had a groin injury that limited him to kicking off. "Kicking off is more straight on and I could do that, but I couldn't kick field goals," Christensen said.

After he was healed enough to kick field goals, he suffered a hip injury. "That affects the straight on kicking, so I'm not kicking off as well," Christensen said. "The last two today I put everything I had into them and they were a little better."

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