McElroy TD Passes Give Crimson Win

Upcoming junior quarterback Greg McElroy threw touchdown passes in both the first and second quarters and that was enough for the Crimson team to defeat the White, 14-7, in the A-Day Game at Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday.

The Crimson-White game marked the end of Alabama spring football.

Greg McElroy completed touchdown passes of 52 yards to Julio Jones and 10 yards to Mike McCoy to help the Crimson team to the win. The Crimson squad was made up of the first offense and second defense, playing against the White (first defense, second offense).

McElroy completed 16 of 30 passes for 189 yards with the two touchdowns. He also suffered two interceptions. He and Marquis Maze shared the Dixie Howell Award presented to the Most Valuable Player.

Maze, who played for the losing White team, was the leading receiver (five catches for 87 yards) and the leading rusher (two carries for 47 yards) in the game.

The contest was played before a crowd estimated at over 84,000 and a national television audience on ESPN.

The Crimson took the early lead on a 52-yard pass from Greg McElroy to Julio Jones. The score came on the second play of the second possession for the Crimson. McElroy spotted Jones free behind the secondary and completed the pass. Leigh Tiffin kicked the extra point for a 7-0 Crimson lead with just over nine minutes to play in the first quarter.

The Crimson made it 14-0 in the second quarter. Jones made an excellent catch on a seven-yard McElroy third-down pass for a first down to the White 45. McElroy then found tight end Colin Peek on a 30-yard gain to the White 15. On a second down play, McElroy passed to McCoy, who made a nice catch on a fade route, but was ruled out of bounds. McElroy went back to McCoy on third down and drilled a pass, which McCoy caught for a 10-yard touchdown. Tiffin kicked it to 14-0 in favor of the Crimson with 4:30 remaining in the second quarter.

The White scored on the second play of the fourth quarter. Wide receiver Marquis Maze had a 33-yard run on a reverse to highlight the five-play, 73-yard drive. Ivan On first down from the 25 as the fourth quarter began, quarterback Thomas Darrah completed a 20-yard pass to tight end Preston Dial. Freshman tailback Ivan Matchett went in from five yards out and Tiffin's kick made it 14-7.

Tiffin missed his two field goal tries, a 33-yard attempt for the White team and a 55-yard effort (that was long enough, but wide right) for the Crimson.

Two first quarter scoring opportunities, one for each team, were stopped by interceptions.

Star Jackson got the White in scoring position with a 38-yard pass to Marquis Maze to the Crimson 30. Jeramie Griffin got 10 yards on a run to the 20. But Jackson's pass for Preston Dial was intercepted by linebacker Chris Jordan inside the 10.

McElroy got the Crimson out of a hole with a 41-yard pass completion to Mike McCoy that put the Crimson at the White 44. The Crimson got another first down when McElroy completed a pass to Darius Hanks for seven yards to the White 33. Then McElroy was picked off, Dont'a Hightower making the interception and returning the ball 26 yards to the White 45. McElroy made the tackle to save a touchdown.

Terry Grant had 10 rushes for 27 yards and Demetrius Goode three runs for seven yards for the Crimson. In addition to Maze, the White got 10 rushes for 31 yards from Jeramie Griffin and three carries for eight yards from Ivan Matchett.

Although Star Jackson was the starting quarterback for the White team, Thomas Darrah got most of the playing time and had more success. Darrah, a walk-on, completed 8-22 for 113 yards. Jackson completed 4-13 for 52 yards and was intercepted twice.

McEroy was "sacked" (no quarterbacks were tackled) four times, Darrah three times and Jackson five times.

Julio Jones led the Crimson receivers with four catches for 73 yards. McCoy had three receptions for 53 yards, tight end Colin Peek three for 32, Terry Grant three for 19, Darius Hanks two for 11, and Demetrius Goode one for one. In addtion to Maze, White team receivers were tight end Preston Dial making five catches for 58 yards, Chris Jackson one for 15, and tight end Michael Williams one for five.

One game-day surprise was linebacker Alex Watkins punting for the Crimson team and having four kicks for a 40-yard average. Back-up punter Heath Thomas had three punts for a 44-yard average for the Crimson. Returning starter P.J. Fitzgerald kicked six times for a 35.2 average for the White. Thomas also kicked twice for the White team for a 39-yard average.

Defensive leader for the game was Rolando McClain of the White with five primary tackles, to assists, and one sack. Also for the White, Dont'a Hightower had four primary tackles, two assists, one sack, and a tackle for loss, in addition to his interception. Eryk Anders had two sacks for 17 yards. For the Crimson, Mark Barron had four tackles and one assist, Marcel Dareus two primary and four assist and a sack. Courtney Upshaw and Chavis Williams had two sacks each.

There were four 15-minute quarters with a running clock except in the final minutes of the second and fourth quarter. The game lasted only 2:11 and included only 107 scrimmage p;lays. Kickoff returns were blown dead on first contact. There was no rush on the punter and the punt return man made fair catches.

The quarterbacks were not "live," meaning they wore black jerseys that signified "Do Not Hit." The quarterback was "down" when a defender was in deemed by the official to be in position to tackle him.

The A-Day game was the 15th and final practice of spring training. Alabama will return to the practice field in early August for fall camp. Bama opens the 2009 season on September 5 at the GeorgiaDome in Atlanta against Virginia Tech.

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