Bama-Auburn Notes: Stover Steps in for Brown

Alabama sophomore Nikita Stover had a breakout game in the 22-15 loss to Auburn Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Final Stats:

Wide receiver Nikita Stover stepped in for a beaten up Keith Brown, providing five receptions receptions for 101 yards to lead all receivers in the game. Stover's 52-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter was the longest play of the game for either squad.

"I had to go out there and do what I had to do because we had some players banged up," Stover said. "I told them I was going to work hard for them."

Stover entered the game with six receptions for 74 yards, and finishes the regular season with 11 catches for 174 yards and the second highest per catch average (15.9 yards) on the team.

For the first time since a gruesome broken leg suffered in Alabama's game against Florida on October 1, 2006, Alabama receiver Tyrone Prothro returned to the football field in uniform on Saturday. Prothro's participation was not as a player, however. He participated in the pre-game rituals, carrying out the game ball to a standing ovation. Prothro dressed in full gear for the game, but was not on the active roster of 80 men made eligible to play in the game.

Alabama outgained Auburn in total offense by 103 yards, totaling 364 yards on 63 offensive plays. Auburn had just 261 yards of total offense on 54 snaps.

Unfortunately for Alabama, turnovers by the offense negated the yardage advantage. While the Tide scored two offensive touchdowns, there were two John Parker Wilson fumbles (both caused by Quentin Groves racing around Chris Capps) that led directly to two Auburn touchdowns.

"They didn't score points on our defense except for what the offense gave up," Alabama senior Tim Castille said. "They had one long drive and two big plays on offense. That's all our defense gave up."

In addition to the two sacks that resulted in fumbles and touchdowns, Keith Brown fumbled in the fourth quarter on the first play of a drive which started when Alabama caused and recovered an Auburn fumble on the Tigers 40-yard line.

Terrence Jones appeared to hurt his right knee with just under 3 minutes to play in the first half. He left the field with assistance, but returned to play later in the game.

Starting center Antoine Caldwell played right tackle for the last series of the first half and on some series in the second half after Chris Capps was left in the dust on the two Groves caused fumbles. Caldwell had practiced at right tackle during the week of preparation.

"Coach told me all week he might make a switch and he did," Caldwell said. "It's a little frustrating and my heart goes out for Chris. I feel like he just go out-physicaled and out-talented."

Quarterback John Parker Wilson, defensive end Wallace Gilberry, linebacker Matt Collins, Shula and defensive coordinator Joe Kines all expressed hopes of the 6-6 Tide going to a bowl game.

"I'm hoping and praying we go to a bowl game," Kines said. "We can still get better. On our side of the ball this was a great week's work. If somebody will let us go somewhere we can put ourselves in a better position to have a good off-season."

Senior fullback Tim Castille said, "If we go to a bow game, great. If we don't go to a bowl game, great. I'm kind of indifferent to it, but it will help the team in the future."

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