Extra Play Pass Wins A-Day Game

ESPN knew what it was doing when the national cable sports network decided to broadcast the spring football game of the 2009 national championship Crimson Tide. The A-Day Game Saturday proved to be a more exciting game than most that would be seen on ESPN in the fall. Unfortunately, ESPN wasn't aware of the ground rules and missed the conclusion.

With a fraction of a second added to the clock for a final play, redshirt freshman A.J. McCarron connected with Brandon Gibson in the end zone on a 39-yard pass to give the White (second offense and first defense) a come-from-behind 23-17 win over the Crimson (first offense and second defense) before 91,312 in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban said the overtime rules were being "made on the fly," and the winning score came in a sudden death situation. ESPN was not privy to that information and had gone to --- duh duh duh -- Sports Center.

The A-Day game marked the end of 2010 spring practice for Alabama.

With the score tied at 17-17, the White squad got the ball back at the Crimson 48 with 1:02 to play. McCarron completed one short pass to Gibson and scrambled twice for a first down at the Crimson 34. Demetrius Goode was caught for a loss of six and then on what seemed to be the final play of the game, McCarron's pass in the end zone to Brad Smelley fell incomplete.

But part of a second was put up on the scoreboard and McCarron hit Gibson to end the game.

The White trailed 17-7 going to the fourth quarter.

Back-up White quarterback Star Jackson directed a nice eight-play, 87-yard drive to a touchdown. He completed passes of 18 yards to Kenny Bell, 16 yards to Gibson, and finished with a 25-yard pass to Goode. Cade Foster's extra point kick closed the margin to Crimson 17, White 14.

McCarron returned to quarterback on the next White possession and drove his eam to a tying field goal. The White went 59 yards in nine plays, the big one a 41-yard completion to Gibson at the 17. Short of a first down, on fourth down Foxter kicked a 27-yard field goal to tie the game at 17-17 with 3:13 to play.

For the White, McCarron completed 12 of 28 passes for 196 yards with no interceptions and he connected on two touchdowns. Star Jackson completed 6-11 for 100 yards with no interceptions and one touchdown. Gibson was the leading receiver with eight catches for 142 yards and one touchdown. Trent Richardson had three receptions for 63 yards and a touchdown, Kenny Bell three for 37, and Kevin Norwood two for 19. Richardson was the leading rusher, but with only eight carries for 22 yards.

For the Crimson, Greg McElroy completed 12-22 for 142 yards with one interception and one touchdown. Phillip Sims 1-7 for 12 yards. Mark Ingram was the leading rusher with nine carries for 90 yards, with Eddie Lacy having 6-32 and a touchdown. Ingram had four catches for 31 yards, Darius Hanks three for 51, Marquis Maze two for 45, and Julio Jones three for 15.

Walkon freshman punter Zach Goehler punted for both teams, averaging 36.2 on 14 punts.

Defensively, safety Robert Lester led the White with eight tackles, followed by cornerback B.J. Scott with five and safety Will Lowery and linebacker Chris Jordan with four. For the Crimson, safety Rod Woodson and linebacker Nico Johnson had six tackles each, and cornerback DeMarcus Milliner and safety Wesley Neighbors with five each. The only turnover of the game was an interception by the White's Dre Kirkpatrick.

The Crimson (first offense) opened the scoring in the game, but it was a disappointing field goal after quarterback Greg McElroy had scrambled to a third-and-goal at the one-yard line. On third down, Mark Ingram was stopped by Courtney Upshaw at the two, forcing a 20-yard Jeremy Shelley field goal. Bama had driven 40 yards in seven plays to the score. McElroy completed a 10-yard pass to Julio Jones and a 23-yard pass to Darius Hanks in the drive.

Late in the first quarter, the White (second offense) took the lead with quarterback A.J. McCarron and tailback Trent Richardson combining on some nice pass plays.

Earlier in the quarter Richardson had dropped what probably would have been a 70-yard pass and run. On the White's next possession, Richardson made two big catches, including one for a 28-yard touchdown. McCarron started the five-play, 73-yard drive with a 15-yard completion to Kenny Bell. On second down, the White went to Wildcat with Brad Smelley at tailback. Smelley threw a long lateral to McCarron on the right. McCarron threw down the left sideline where Richardson made an excellent snare for a 27-yard gain. Three plays later McCarron tossed to Richardson going into the end zone on a 28-yard scoring play. Cade Foster kicked the extra point.

Early in the second quarter, the Crimson made a quick strike to re-take the lead. After a punt that took a Crimson bounce and set the team up at the White 39, McElroy made a perfect pass to Marquis Maze just inside the pylon for a one-play, 39-yard touchdown drive. Shelly kicked the Crimson to a 10-7 lead.

That was the halftime score as Shelley was just short on a 47-yard field goal on the final play of the second quarter.

Ingram had a 60-yard run on the third play of the third quarter to set the Crimson up, first and goal at the five. From there, Eddie Lacy started at left guard, then popped outside and scooted into the end zone. Freshman Phillip Sims quarterbacked the four-play, 80-yard drive, which he started with a 15-yard completion to Hanks. Shelley kicked the Crimson to 17-7 lead going to the frantic fourth quarter.

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