Posted on: November 26, 2010 6:59 pm
Edited on: November 26, 2010 7:07 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
In an Iron Bowl for the ages, Auburn roared back from a 24-0 first-half deficit and defeated Alabama 28-27 this afternoon to remain on track for an undefeated season and BCS title game berth.
That sentence does only the barest minimum of justice, however, to an instant nominee for college football's game of the year and one of the greatest games ever played in what could be the sport's bitterest rivalry. Alabama didn't just dominate the game's first 25 minutes; they owned them lock, stock, and barrel, outgaining Auburn at one point 314 to 2. Greg McElroy had surpassed his career high in passing yards before the first half was out while Julio Jones simply did whatever he wanted to against Auburn's undersized and sloppy secondary. The comeback from 24 points ranks as the largest in Auburn history, and it still doesn't accurately represent how big a hole Auburn was in. To pull it off virtually guarantees Cam Newton the Heisman Trophy (provided the NCAA doesn't make a ruling against him in the next seven days) and Auburn's title as 2010's most distinguished comeback artists.
But that's also why as thoroughly as Auburn outplayed the Tide in the second half (the Tigers eventually pulled within 120 yards of Alabama on the total yardage ledger), the comeback truly began in the first. After scoring touchdowns on their first three drives, the Tide appeared well on their way to a fourth when Mark Ingram -- who hadn't fumbled in more than 400 touches -- was stripped from behind by Antoine Carter and saw the ball (unlukily, it has to be said) fly through the back of the end zone. The Tide's next possession ended at the 2-yard line after a first-and-goal. Another first-and-goal on the Tide's next possession ended in a McElroy fumble. Auburn trailed 24-7 at the half; they could have been down by 24, 27, 30 points with the game entirely over.
The blown opportunities continued in the second half. Late in the third, with Auburn looking to seize full control of the game, Quindarius Carr fumbled a punt to set Alabama up at the Tiger 27 and it took McElroy and Jones one play to move to Auburn's 12; they still settled for a field goal that loomed even larger once Auburn answered with the winning score on their ensuing drive. Alabama then drove inside Auburn's 35 over the course of 11 plays (and more than six precious minutes of clock), but punted after a Ingram loss and McElroy sack pushed them all the way out of field goal range. They would not threaten again.
So the headlines will discuss Newton's mental toughness, and Auburn's resilience, and Gene Chizik 's coaching staff's precision halftime adjustments, and they will have earned every one of those headlines. If there's been a bigger single-game accomplishment in college football this season than coming back from being 24 points down at Alabama, we're not aware of it.
But that doesn't mean Alabama didn't play a large role in their own demise, and that they won't be kicking themselves over letting this game get away for years (or in this rivalry, decades) to come.
For a video recap of the game, see below:
Posted on: November 26, 2010 3:55 pm
Edited on: November 26, 2010 4:05 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
Alabama is off to a hot start in the 2010 Iron Bowl. With a 24-0 lead midway through the second quarter, the Crimson Tide have completely dictated the pace of this game offensively, and refused to allow Cam Newton to get comfortable on defense. Auburn's defensive backs are widely accepted as the weakest aspect of the second-ranked team in the nation, but head coach Gene Chizik must have expected more than what they have given so far. Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy has already completed 13 of 16 passes for 256 yards and two touchdowns. One of those scores was a 68 yard strike to Julio Jones, who did not have much trouble losing the Auburn defenders on the way to the end zone.
You can stream the 2010 Iron Bowl live on CBSSports.com, and also join Tom Fornelli in the CBSSports.com Live Facebok Chat.
But first check out Jones' TD that put Alabama ahead 14-0 in the 1st quarter.
Posted on: November 24, 2010 3:47 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
It's obvious that this year's Alabama team is not the same as the squad that won the national title last year. All you have to do is look at the Tide's record, and see those two blemishes in the loss column to figure that out. While there are a few reasons for this, one of the bigger factors has been the offensive line's inability to block for Greg McElroy.
Only Tennessee and Vanderbilt have allowed their quarterback to be sacked more often in the SEC this year than Alabama, who have given up 27 sacks. In the Iron Bowl on Friday, while Auburn's defense as a whole hasn't been all that impressive, the Alabama offensive line is going to have its hands full with Nick Fairley and company. A task that may be even tougher now that it looks like guard Barrett Jones isn't going to be able to play.
“Barrett Jones is still struggling a little bit,” said Nick Saban after practice on Tuesday. “He hasn’t been able to practice much. He may try to do some things tomorrow and I think that would be the indicator of whether he would be able to participate in the game or not.”
Jones suffered a sprained left ankle in the Mississippi State game, and sat out of the team's ritual sacrifice of Georgia State last week. He has been practicing, but he's been wearing the black "no-contact" jersey. If he can't go on Friday, he'll be replaced up front by Anthony Steen who filled in for him against Georgia State.
Posted on: November 22, 2010 1:09 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Maybe it's a good thing Alabama has lost a few football games this season, as it's given quarterback Greg McElroy a chance to remember what it feels like to not win. As I'm sure you've heard a billion times by now, McElroy hadn't lost a football game since he was basically still in his mother's womb before the Tide fell to South Carolina earlier this season.
So now that the Tide have lost twice, McElroy has had a chance reacquaint himself with the sting of defeat. Something that came in handy this past weekend when he found out that he won't be chosen as a Rhodes Scholar.
“We gave it our best shot, going up against a few MIT students, a Yale grad, a Harvard grad, a Naval Academy grad, I’m just proud to have been able to make it to this point and represent Alabama for that,” McElroy told The Tuscaloosa News.
McElroy said a Naval Academy graduate and a Harvard graduate were chosen for the honor. Final interviews were held at the Protective Life Corporation in Birmingham.
“They were both very deserving,” McElroy said. “Meeting the other individuals going out for it was as special as anything. Just being able to compete for this on a level playing field, and understanding that we all come from different backgrounds, we’re all striving to achieve the same thing. That’s to make the world a better place.”
This will likely serve as good news for Alabama as well. After all, the Tide have a pretty big game against Auburn this week, and they can't have their quarterback worrying about things like learning and reading when there's a chance to end Auburn's bid for a national championship on the horizon.
Posted on: November 8, 2010 6:54 pm
Edited on: November 8, 2010 7:55 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
It's hard out there for a quarterback these days. You just don't understand. Calamity befalls these poor kids at every turn, and society just turns a blind eye to their struggles.
Don't believe us? Here's Alabama senior quarterback Greg McElroy, talking about living in a world that would leave the average American waking up in a cold sweat nightly:
The endtimes are here in Alabama, people. The world had a good run, but it's done. World: Big Bang - 2010 A.D. It will be missed.
There's no word yet from the 109 FBS starting quarterbacks who are still ranked under McElroy, but simple logic would dictate that their worlds have all ended as well; otherwise, McElroy would be a reckless exaggerator who's completely out of touch with reality.
Need more evidence that life is indescribably difficult for D-I quarterbacks? Think about the hell Dayne Crist must live in. Notre Dame is 4-5, suffering through crises on and off the field, and Crist is just beginning rehab for a ruptured patellar tendon... and that's not even the worst part, as he told Twitter this weekend:
although chipotle normally does a pretty decent job, there is nothing worse than a poorly wrapped chipotle burrito
Considering all that must make a Notre Dame quarterback's life suck, for a poorly wrapped burrito to top the list must mean that the foodstuff is unfathomably bad to deal with. Do glass shards grow in it? Does it burst into flames in direct sunlight? Does it convince your head coach not to prepare correctly for a simple triple option attack? Inquiring minds want to know!
Posted on: November 5, 2010 5:08 pm
Edited on: November 5, 2010 5:17 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Earlier today, the semifinalists for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, given to the top senior quarterback in the nation, were announced. Sure, the list is going to pale in comparison to the Davey O'Brien Award, which is allowed to nominate the likes of Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, Kellen Moore, Denard Robinson, et cetera, but the senior class is still pretty strong this season.
To that end, we celebrate these eight quarterbacks who were nominated by the Unitas committee:
All worthy honorees, these; of the eight listed, the top six seniors in passing efficiency are represented, and the other two (Ponder, Locker) are high-level pro prospects. It's likely that neither makes the list of five finalists, but they both deserve some credit for their long, eventful college careers.
But wait -- five finalists? Out of eight semifinalists? Oh, no no; here's the rub. There are actually 10 semifinalists. It's just that the last two are so inexplicable that we couldn't in good conscience discuss them in the same context as the first eight. The other two semifinalists, who you wouldn't have guessed given 10 tries, are Idaho's Nathan Enderle and Delaware's Pat Devlin. Yeah, exactly.
Enderle is currently 61st among FBS quarterbacks in passing efficiency, and he's tied for fourth in most interceptions thrown with 12. Yes, he's 11th in passing yards per game, but that just makes him the Jerrod Johnson of the WAC. Enderle's not exactly a dual threat, either; he has no rushing touchdowns on the season and rushes for about -18 yards a game once sacks are factored in. Enderle also likely holds the ignominious honor of the worst yards per reception rate in the NCAA, as he was credited for one catch for -13 yards against Hawaii last week. We hope that's the worst in the NCAA, anyway, because woe is anyone worse than that.
But for as odd as Enderle's selection is, Devlin's is downright mystifying; the Penn State transfer is currently helming the Delaware Blue Hens, who are No. 4 in the FCS, but that's about as far as Devlin's accomplishments go. He's accounted for six touchdowns on the entire year, and half of those came against D-II West Chester to begin the season. In other words, Devlin has thrown three touchdowns against FCS competition all season long. GET THAT MAN ON A SEMIFINALISTS LIST, STAT.
As with Ponder and Locker, it's extremely unlikely that these two guys make the final cut, and it's also unikely that any of the quarterback that got snubbed (FCS No. 3 Villanova's Chris Whitney, Texas Tech's Taylor Potts, and Fresno State's Ryan Colburn , to name a few) would have made the top five either. Still, any of those three would have been better choices than either Enderle or Devlin, and we're at a loss for trying to figure out why either of those two quarterbacks made the list of 10 semifinalists.
Tags: Alabama, Andrew Luck, Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, Chris Whitney, Christian Ponder, Colin Kaepernick, Delaware, Denard Robinson, Florida State, Fresno State, Greg McElroy, Idaho, Iowa, Jake Locker, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, Kellen Moore, Nathan Enderle, Nevada, Pat Devlin, Ricky Stanzi, Ryan Colburn, Scott Tolzien, Taylor Potts, TCU, Texas Tech, Tyrod Taylor, Unitas Award, Unitas Semifinalists, Villanova, Virginia Tech, Washington, Wisconsin
Posted on: October 22, 2010 4:15 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Every season, every month, every week, there are several outcomes and achievements that, frankly, nobody operating within reason would ever predict. Who could have predicted Nebraska would beat Florida for the 1995 title by 38 points, or that Boise State would pull off three late trick plays to knock off Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, or that South Carolina would fail to score a point in the second half against Kentucky a week after knocking off the Tide? Nobody... until now. We're going to try capture that lightning in a bottle by making similarly absurd predictions every week . Are they at all likely to come true? No. Do we even believe the words we're writing? No. But if we make even one correct call on these, we will never stop gloating. Ever.
Highly UnlikelyThe Tennessee Volunteers shock the world when they pull off an upset of the Alabama Crimson Tide in Knoxville on Saturday night. In his first start, Tyler Bray has far from an outstanding day, throwing for only 78 yards and a touchdown, but the Alabama offense can't stop tripping over its own feet. Greg McElroy fumbles three times, and throws four interceptions. To make matters worse, McElroy, Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson and Julio Jones all have to leave the game with devastating knee injuries. After the game a shocked Nick Saban points out that "they just don't make ligaments like they used to."
Severly UnlikelyIt's halftime in Miami, and the North Carolina Tar Heels look to be en route to a huge win against the Hurricanes. They have a 24-0 lead thanks to four first half interceptions by Jacory Harris, and spirits in the locker room are high. Then a phone rings. Butch Davis answers it to be told that the NCAA has just suspended everybody on his team, and that he'll have to forfeit the game. Instead Davis recruits the North Carolina band to fill in for his team, and amazingly, they hold on to win the game 27-23. Three weeks later the loss is vacated when it's discovered that the tuba player accepted money from the New York Philharmonic.
Completely LudicrousFollowing Iowa 's narrow 27-24 victory over Wisconsin on Saturday, the two teams meet on the field to shake hands. Bret Bielema goes out of his way to find Ricky Stanzi and congratulate him on his three-touchdown game. Upon finding Stanzi, the quarterback tells Bielema, "Thanks. That's how real Americans play the game." This infuriates Bielema, who views his brand of pounding large young men into the trenches until they drop dead to be the real American football. The two begin fighting, and have to be separated. Though after the dustup, still feeling patriotic, Stanzi pulls the American flag out from under his jersey -- next to his heart, of course -- and puts it on a sharpened flag pole he keeps in his sock. He then hurls the flag forty yards through the air like a javelin where it goes through Bielema's chest and plants into the ground. Stanzi is carried off the field to chants of "USA! USA! USA!"
Posted on: October 9, 2010 5:27 pm
Edited on: October 9, 2010 5:42 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Those two touchdown passes by Stephen Garcia to Alshon Jeffery gave the Gamecocks a 21-3 lead before Alabama managed to miss a field goal following a long drive and put a touchdown on the board just before the half.
Of course, they missed the extra point following that score, so it's 21-9 as the third quarter gets underway.
While there is no need for the Crimson Tide to panic being down two scores with 30 minutes left to go, there are some adjustments they need to make. First of all, you can't let Stephen Garcia complete all nine of his pass attempts for three touchdowns. Some pressure on the mistake-prone quarterback would be a good idea.
When they have the ball, though, Alabama can't give up on a ground game that has been stuffed for the most part through the first thirty minutes. The Tide are averaging 2.2 yards per carry, but experienced some success when running out of the Wildcat in the first half. Considering what Cam Newton and the Auburn spread option attack did to the Gamecocks earlier this season, the Tide may want to keep trying it in the second half.
Also, if there was ever a game in which Greg McElroy was going to have to put his team's offense on his shoulders to win, this is it. You have Julio Jones, use him. Run some deep routes and hope you can open up some running lanes by doing so.
This isn't the first time Alabama has trailed at halftime this season, trailing Arkansas 17-7 at halftime in Fayetteville a few weeks ago, so we know they can come back and win this game. Whether they do it this time around remains to be seen.