Upchurch Made Call As Well As Catch
It all went down during Alabama's 30-second timeout before the fateful play that kept the No. 2 Tide undefeated at 12-0 (8-0 SEC) and kept alive national title hopes for another week.
"They had another play (called) in," said Roy Upchurch. "I was over there on the sidelines, screaming for them to put my package in. I was just ready. I was ready to get in the end zone, and put points on the board. At the beginning of the play, someone grabbed my face mask, so I started to panic, but I caught the ball anyway.
"I was just yelling and screaming, and they just said my number, and I went out and did it. The coaches really opened up the playbook for me this week. Scoring a touchdown gives you chills, and it's a good feeling. I just had a feeling it would work, and that I would be wide open in the end zone. It doesn't get any bigger than winning the Iron Bowl."
So, Upchurch made the call, right?
"I don't know if he called it," said McElroy, grinning, "but it seemed like after the play was called, I was like, ‘Should I throw it?' But it was a great call, and Roy did a great job selling the fake power (play), and getting out in the flat.
"It was a great moment for Alabama football. That‘s a tribute to this team."
"You never really know in the huddle if a play's going to work," said senior right tackle Drew Davis. "I was really, really hoping it would work, because number one, I wanted to score, and number two, I wanted to get off the field. That was a long drive."
And it was a drive where several non-Heisman candidates stepped up in prime time.
"Everybody knew they had to stay focused, and do what they had to do.," said Ingram. "They were keying on me. Trent (Richardson ) ran the ball great. Roy (Upchurch) had a big catch. Julio (Jones) played a great game. "It was a team effort."
"We've just got good poise," said Jones, who made four of his nine catches on the final march. "We practice stuff like that. We practice situations like that for when we get to that point in a game. We just handled it well.
"We just settled down, and played football."
For senior defensive end Brandon Deaderick, it was a final few minutes he'll never forget.
"I'll remember that the touchdown (by Upchurch) WAS scored," he grinned. We got the win. MAN!
"I had confidence in my teammates. I knew they'd step up."
Normally a blocking back on short yardage, Terrence Cody was merely a decoy on the deciding score.
"I wasn't really surprised," Cody said when asked about the decisive call. "I actually had thought about that play in my head… when they fake running to my side, and just lob a pass to the right.
"I was thinking it, and then they called it, and I was like, ‘Yeah. This will work.'"
Aside from the one long pass of 72 yards from Chris Todd to Darvin Adams at the 11:05 mark of the third period, the Tide defense came up with stop after stop. To stay in the game, it had to.
"We had to step up," he said. "We knew the game was going to be on us, and we had to step up. They were doing a lot of trick plays and stuff, and moving the ball downfield, and we had to step up as a defense and stop them, and get the ball back.
"We knew coming into this game it was going to be real tough."
Another tough game awaits the Tide when it travels to Atlanta to face the top-ranked Florida Gators in the 2009 SEC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. Central.
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