Monthly Archives: September 2012

Alabama-Ole Miss photo galleries

Christion Jones returns a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown. (Copyright photo by Jeronimo Nisa of The Decatur Daily)

Gameday photos

Click here and here for galleries of pictures by Jeronimo Nisa of The Decatur Daily. These also will be stored under the “2012 Photos” tab at the top of the page, but just in case you’re not in the habit of checking there, I wanted to make sure you would see these.

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Tide in the NFL: Kareem Jackson scores a TD

Houston Texans cornerback Kareem Jackson dances into the end zone with his first career NFL touchdown. (AP photo by Dave Einsel)

Kareem Jackson celebrates his touchdown. (AP photo by Patrick Schneider)

Former Alabama cornerback Kareem Jackson returned an interception 63 yards for a touchdown in the Houston Texans’ 38-14 win over the Tennessee Titans.

Jackson picked off Matt Hasselbeck and scored with 3:57 left in the game, putting Houston ahead 38-7. He also had two tackles and two passes defended in the win.

Jackson is a third-year pro who played on Alabama’s 2009 national championship team. He was the Texans’ first-round draft choice.

He had an interception in the season opener against Miami and five for his NFL career, including today’s, but this is his first professional touchdown.

Tampa Bay’s Mark Barron forced Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III to fumble at the Bucs’ 1. The Redskins’ Pierre Garcon recovered the fumble in the end zone for a touchdown. (AP photo by Brian Blanco)

Former Alabama lineman Antoine Caldwell, the Texans’ right guard, left in the second quarter with a sprained right ankle.

In other games involving ex-Tide players:

–Atlanta beat the Carolina Panthers 30-28 as Julio Jones made only one catch. However, it covered 30 yards and helped the Falcons to an important fourth-quarter field goal.

–Linebacker Dont’a Hightower had two tackles in New England’s 52-28 win over Buffalo. One was a stop of C.J. Spiller 4 yards behind the line and the other was a sack of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick at about the line of scrimmage.

For the Bills, defensive lineman Marcell Dareus had three tackles, including one in which he combined for a sack of Tom Brady. He also defended a pass. Defensive lineman Mark Anderson had two tackles.

–Javier Arenas returned three punts for 39 yards, including an 18-yarder, in the Kansas City Chiefs’ 37-20 loss to San Diego. He added two tackles and one pass defended.

For the Chargers, fullback Le’Ron McClain carried twice for 4 yards and caught one pass for a loss of minus-2 yards.

–The New Orleans Saints lost to Green Bay 28-27 while running back Mark Ingram had 11 yards on five carries and safety Roman Harper has nine tackles.

–Defensive back Mark Barron had eight tackles as Tampa Bay lost to Washington 24-22.

–Middle linebacker Rolando McClain made eight tackles in the Oakland Raiders’ game with Denver, but the Raiders lost 37-6.

–Defensive lineman Wallace Gilberry had two tackles as Cincinnati beat Jacksonville 27-10.

–In the Sunday night game, Philadelphia beat the New York Giants 19-17. Linebacker DeMeco Ryans had a pair of tackles and one pass defended for the Eagles.

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Opinion: One of heroes of 1992 is happy Tide still wins

Derrick Lassic during a pregame ceremony honoring the 1992 national championship team Saturday night. (Copyright photo by Jeronimo Nisa of The Decatur Daily)

This is my column for today’s print editions:

TUSCALOOSA — Twenty years have passed since Derrick Lassic helped run Alabama to a 13-0 season and a national title, but it feels like yesterday to the former All-SEC running back.

These days, Lassic sits in the stands for two or three games a year instead of pulling on a No. 25 Alabama football jersey, but he said that other than that, it doesn’t seem like that much has changed for the Crimson Tide since 1992.
Lassic said it’s fun and kind of satisfying to see that Alabama still is winning consistently today under Nick Saban as his Crimson Tide team did under Gene Stallings.
And Alabama is doing it the same way: Strong defense, a powerful running game out of a pro-style set and a business-like approach to every game on the schedule. That includes Saturday night’s game against Ole Miss.
“Coach Stallings came to us from the NFL, too, like Coach Saban did,” said Lassic, 42, who was the Sugar Bowl most valuable player of the Tide’s title-clinching win over Miami.
“We won a certain way and went out it a certain way, and they do the same now.”

On Saturday, Lassic was in Tuscaloosa, participating in a golf chipping challenge outside of Bryant-Denny Stadium, which was sponsored by Travelers and benefitted Saban’s Nick’s Kids Fund charity.
Even though Lassic couldn’t quite chip the golf ball into a hole, he still gave about 200 fans a good show. He laughed at himself and cut up with fans. He still has the big smile, the fun personality and love of Alabama. He came to Tuscaloosa back in the late 1980s from Haverstraw, N.Y., but as he points out, “I live in Atlanta. I’m a Southerner now.”
And if you want to see him deliver the same big laugh that he had 20 years ago, just ask him this: What was it like to watch Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson play for Alabama recently and try to be the second best running back in school history?
“I makes me proud to see them do well,” Lassic said. “What I like most is that they not only were good players on the field for Alabama but you never heard bad things about them off the field. That’s the way I tried to be.
“I guess with them, we’re Running Back U.”
The big smile returned, and he added, “I’m glad to be a part of that.”
Lassic said that hardly a day goes by when he doesn’t think about something that happened during that 1992 season.
“It was a dream come true,” he said. “It was the 100th year of Alabama football. We hadn’t won a national championship in a while. It was great to bring one back to Alabama.”
He had hoped the winning would continue at Alabama, but even though it didn’t for a stretch, he’s happy where the Crimson Tide is now.
“We had some lean years after we left, but now we’re back on top,” he said. “Schools like Alabama, Notre Dame, Michigan — you’re used to seeing them on top of college football.”
After Lassic finished at Alabama, he spent two years with the Dallas Cowboys and a year with the Carolina Panthers. He played in 10 games as a rookie but a knee injury kept him off the field after that — except for a small part as an extra in the 1999 football movie “Any Given Sunday.”
During his time in the NFL, Saban was the Cleveland Browns’ defensive coordinator.
“I didn’t know him then, but I’ve met him a couple of times,” Lassic said. “He’s big on focus. He’s very focused.”

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Tide is No. 1, and in AP poll, that includes all the voters

Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon battles for yards. (Copyright photo by Jeronimo Nisa of The Decatur Daily)

It’s unanimous. Finally.

All 60 voters in The Associated Press poll have put Alabama at No. 1 on their ballots today.

The last holdout, Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News, moved the Crimson Tide to first after having LSU No. 1 the previous week.

Alabama is No. 1 in the USA Today coaches poll, too, but the Tide didn’t sweep all the first-place votes. Alabama was No. 1 on 57 of 59 ballots. LSU and Florida State got one No. 1 vote apiece.

In the AP poll, Oregon is No. 2, Florida State third, LSU fourth, Georgia fifth and South Carolina sixth.

The coaches have Oregon second, LSU third, Florida State fourth, Georgia fifth and South Carolina sixth.

This marks Alabama’s fifth straight week at No. 1, which is matched by a five-week stretch at the top in 2008. Only three other stretches in Tide history beat that.

Alabama was No. 1 for seven weeks in a row in 1979, 1980 and 2009-10 (last two of 2009 and first five of 2010).

Click here for both polls in full. That link takes you to the poll page on this blog.

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What others said about Alabama vs. Ole Miss

Jesse Williams (54) and Nick Perry (27) after Perry brought down the Ole Miss quarterback for a loss. (Copyright photo by Jeronimo Nisa of The Decatur Daily)

Readers of The Daily Bama Blog seem to like this, so we’ll keep publishing this feature as long as you want to read it.

The Commercial Appeal of Memphis
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — It wasn’t a blowout, or an embarrassment, or a devastating loss that could affect a football team for the rest of the season.

Instead, there was a tangible measure of improvement for Ole Miss, even in a 33-14 Southeastern Conference loss at No. 1-ranked and defending national champion Alabama on Saturday night in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

After almost a 12-minute meltdown in the second quarter when Alabama rang up three touchdowns, one on a 99-yard kickoff return and two following Ole Miss interceptions, the 30-point underdog Rebels (3-2, 0-1 in the SEC’s Western Division) showed enough moxie to give Alabama (5-0, 2-0 in the SEC West) its closest call by far this season.

Ole Miss even became the first team to take a lead on Alabama since Tennessee did so last October. The Rebels of first-year coach Hugh Freeze managed that when Jeff Scott scored on a 1-yard run and Bryson Rose added an extra point kick twenty seconds into the second quarter for a 7-6 lead.

But the Rebels’ one-point advantage lasted 15 seconds. Fired up, the Ole Miss kickoff coverage team sprinted too deep downfield and didn’t break down into the return lanes. Alabama’s Christion Jones found an opening and didn’t quit running until he had scored on a 99-yard return with 13:25 left before the half.

The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss.
TUSCALOOSA — For 15 seconds Saturday night, Ole Miss led the No. 1 team in the country.

Then Alabama got the ball back, and Christion Jones ran a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown. With that went any of Ole Miss’ hopes of beating the Crimson Tide on Saturday, even if the Rebels kept on coming at the defending national champions during a 33-14 loss.

What stuck out to Ole Miss was the three second-quarter turnovers, which may have prevented a surprisingly close game from being more than that.

“They kill you,” said quarterback Bo Wallace, who threw two interceptions. “Put a defense in a bad spot. I don’t really have much else to say about. I killed my defense.”

The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss.
TUSCALOOSA — Ole Miss defensive coordinator Dave Wommack admitted last week he would have to get bigger in the box against Alabama.

He did, abandoning his base 4-2-5 defense for long stretches of the game in favor of a more traditional 4-3 defense. Alabama ended up rushing for 134 yards on 24 carries against Ole Miss’ defense, which gave up 354 yards on the ground to Texas while playing the 4-2-5.

Junior Joel Kight started at outside linebacker, replacing huskie Dehendret Collins. Kight, who stands 5-foot-9 and weighs 222 pounds, has been the backup to Mike Marry at middle linebacker. Denzel Nkemdiche started on the other side of Marry.

SB Nation
here was nothing spectacular about Alabama’s win over Ole Miss. There didn’t need to be.

After a 15-second lead that Ole Miss took early in the second quarter, there was never really a moment in this game where Alabama’s lead was in doubt. The Rebels did cut their deficit to 27-14 with a touchdown in the third quarter, and you started to think that another score might make something interesting. But another score never came.

Instead, it was Alabama doing what Alabama sometimes does in games like this: Slowly put them further and further out of reach. AJ McCarron had some ups and downs in this game, but he ended up 22-of-30 for 180 yards and two touchdowns. Eddie Lacy ground out 82 yards on 19 carries. Freshman wideout Amari Cooper had a breakout game, catching eight passes for 84 yards and two touchdowns.

Ole Miss, meanwhile, struggled to get anything going against the Tide defense. The Rebels barely cleared the 200-yard mark and averaged just 2.3 yards per carry on the ground. They threw three interceptions. Any hopes of an upset generally came from the defense, which actually didn’t do that poorly when you look indicators like Alabama’s total offense (305 yards).

Oxford (Miss.) Eagle
Two weeks after getting beat by 35 points by then No. 14 Texas, the Ole Miss Rebels performed much better against the No. 1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide Saturday night.Ole Miss may have lost 33-14 to Alabama in its Southeastern Conference opener at Bryant-Denny Stadium, but the feeling after the game was more upbeat thanks to a much more physical showing on defense and offense.

The Rebels (3-2 overall) made some mistakes and had several gaffes on special teams, but coach Hugh Freeze like the effort and attitude of his team compared to the game with the Longhorns. Ole Miss led 7-6 early in the second quarter when Jeff Scott scored on a 1-yard run to cap a 13-play, 75-yard drive. The Rebels’ lead was short lived, however, as Alabama’s Christion Jones returned the ensuing kickoff 99 yards to put Alabama back ahead to stay.

Ole Miss played three quarterbacks — Randall Mackey saw some snaps in both halves – and finished with 218 total yards against a defense that was only allowing 185 to opponents coming in and ranked No. 3 overall in the nation. The Rebels also held Alabama’s vaunted running game in check as they only gave up 125 yards on 34 carries.

Associated Press
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — No. 1 Alabama actually trailed for a change, a predicament that lasted a grand total of 15 seconds.

Amari Cooper caught two touchdown passes from AJ McCarron and Christion Jones returned a kickoff 99 yards for another score, leading the Crimson Tide to a 33-14 victory over Mississippi Saturday night after a rare and early deficit.

The Tide (5-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) trailed briefly, 7-6, for the first time in regulation since last year’s Tennessee game, a span of about 10 games. The Rebels (3-2, 0-1) put up a fight against a team that had been walloping opponents by nearly 37 points on average, but still lost their ninth straight SEC opener.

“It was a hard-fought win for us,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “I think people probably don’t give Ole Miss enough credit. They played hard. They were physical. Their offense is difficult to defend.”

Sports Network
Tuscaloosa, AL (Sports Network) – AJ McCarron threw a pair of touchdown passes to Amari Cooper and No. 1 Alabama handled Ole Miss, 33-14, on Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

McCarron completed 22-of-30 passes for 180 yards without an interception and Cooper finished with 84 yards on eight catches for the Crimson Tide (5-0, 2-0 SEC).

“Coop did an excellent job for us running the right routes and being on time,” said McCarron. “We had good chemistry the whole night, so we definitely were good in that area.”

Christion Jones returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown in the win, while Eddie Lacy had 19 carries for 82 yards and Jeremy Shelley went 4-for-4 on field goal attempts.

Bo Wallace threw for 123 yards with two interceptions on 15-of-26 passing for the Rebels (3-2, 0-1), who were coming off a 39-0 shutout of Tulane.

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Alabama’s injury report

As usual, Alabama coach Nick Saban provided an injury report after Saturday’s 33-14 win over Ole Miss:

–Noseguard Brandon Ivory (ankle) did not play.

–Wide receiver DeAndrew White hurt his knee, was taken to the locker room on a cart and eventually returned in street clothes. Saban said he will be evaluated Sunday.

“He was really playing well for us on special teams and really playing his position well offensively,” Saban said.

–Running back Dee Hart has a possible knee injury, and Saban said he will be evaluated Sunday. Hart left the field but he returned in uniform with about three minutes left in the game, although he didn’t return to the action.

Late Saturday night, Hart posted on his Twitter account: “Easy with the rumors I’m A1.”

–Tide cornerback Deion Belue hurt his shoulder and didn’t return to the game.

“I don’t think that’s serious,” Saban said. “It’s a week or two type deal. He’s hurting right now, but I don’t really feel like it’s something that’s going to keep him out for a long time.”

Fortunately for Belue, Alabama is off next Saturday.

–Defensive end Ed Stinson left the game with an apparent leg injury late in the fourth quarter, but Saban didn’t address him.

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Alabama vs. Ole Miss replay

Want to watch the replay of Alabama’s 33-14 win over Ole Miss?

ESPN3 has it online, and you can see it here. The link will take you to a menu page, and you can navigate to Alabama/Ole Miss from there.

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Alabama-Ole Miss highlights (video)

We have highlights for you from Alabama’s 33-14 win over Ole Miss. It was the Tide’s closest game of the season, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t plenty of good things for Alabama fans to see.

This video is about a minute and comes from the professionals at ESPN, which is kind enough to make them available for me to post here:

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Postgame opening statements by Saban, Freeze

Nick Saban before Saturday’s game. (AP photo by Dave Martin)

After Alabama’s 33-14 win over Ole Miss, here is Nick Saban’s opening statement:

“It was a hard fought win for us, and we are certainly happy for our team to be able to get a win. I don’t think the people give Ole Miss enough credit. They are really playing well. They play hard. They are very physical, a complete turnaround. Their offense is difficult to defend with the no huddle situation and the perimeter speed that they have. We knew this would be a tough game.

“There are definitely some things we need to do better. At times, the red zone scoring in the last couple of weeks, we’ve settled for too many field goals too many times. That’s something we probably need to improve on and use this bye week to improve on and just our overall passing game, maybe being more explosive. We really had high hopes that Amari Cooper would one day sort of find himself and do the things like he does in practice all the time in the game. I think that happened today. He played very well. That’s a guy that can be an explosive player for us and help us out down the road.

“Defensively, we were in some tough spots out there. It was really difficult to sub players. At times, I think we got tired on the longer drives when we couldn’t sub players because if they don’t sub, you really can’t sub because when they snap it quick, you aren’t ready. We weren’t ready to play when they hit the first big touchdown on their first drive. Guys were still looking at the bench trying to get a signal. We got better as coaches as the game went on. I think the players got used to the pace of the game as it went on, and I think we played a little better. We really didn’t get accomplished in the second half what we would have liked to get accomplished in terms of getting control of the game because we went three-and-out. We got the stops on defense but then went three-and-out and never really put a drive together and kicked two field goals. We need to do a little bit better job of finishing games as well.

“You have to give Ole Miss a lot of credit. They played hard and with a lot of toughness. We had a lot of respect for their team coming into this, but nobody really listens to me until after the fact, and they say, ‘Yeah, you were right.’

“We did have some guys that got injured today. DeAndrew White has a knee injury that will be evaluated tomorrow. He was really playing well for us on special teams and really playing his position well offensively. Dee Hart has a possible knee injury that will be evaluated tomorrow. Deion Belue hurt his shoulder and never returned to the game. I don’t think that’s serious. It’s a week or two type deal. He’s hurting right now, but I don’t really feel like it’s something that’s going to keep him out for a long time.”

And here is Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze’s opening statement:

“I couldn’t be more proud of the effort from our kids. I told them that in the locker room. They laid it on the line against a very talented team, a very physical football team. We were short-handed at some spots and I couldn’t be more pleased from the effort that was given from our young men tonight that represented Rebel nation and our great university very well.

“The disappointing thing was that we didn’t do some of the little things to get our kids to have a chance later in the game. Our special teams were atrocious and we turned the football over over us being greedy and we didn’t have a good third down plan on defense. We’ve got to go evaluate all of that because our kids deserved a little better outcome tonight from the way that they played and that’s my opinion. It’s hard to drive the football on that defense that they have. They’re so talented and so physical.

“We had two really nice drives and just could not stay away from a negative play, whether it be a turnover or something that put us behind the chains where they could pin their ears back and come get us. A lot of effort goes to them. Coach Saban and his staff do a wonderful job and they’re very talented. Again, I’m just really pleased with the effort and the fight that our kids showed.”

So far, so perfect for Jeremy Shelley

Nobody has connected like Alabama’s Jeremy Shelley this season.

He hasn’t missed a kick this year and put together his best game of the year Saturday as the Crimson Tide beat Ole Miss 33-14.

He made field goals of 38, 38, 26 and 24 yards. He also booted through three extra points.

For the year, he is 7 of 7 on field goals and 24 of 24 on extra points. Even last season, when he was awfully good, he wasn’t at this level.

He managed 115 points last year, which is the fifth highest total in school history, making 52 of 54 extra pointsa nd 21 of 27 field goals.

Tide gets behind, gets mad, gets after it to beat Ole Miss

Alabama hasn’t lost to Ole Miss at home since 1988. (AP photo by Butch Dill)

Alabama’s Amari Cooper (9) catches a pass for a touchdown over Ole Missdefensive back Wesley Pendleton (6). (AP photo by Butch Dill)

This is my story for Sunday’s print editions:

TUSCALOOSA — Alabama faced a situation Saturday night it hasn’t had to deal with all season:

The Crimson Tide trailed.

Alabama coach Nick Saban was asked Monday how his team might respond if it got behind, and the No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide offered a firm and definitive answer Saturday night in a 33-14 win over Ole Miss. Alabama came back with two touchdowns in 2 minutes, 50 seconds and roared from there.

“It was a tough, hard-fought game,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “Ole Miss is a tough team. Nobody listens to me until after the fact. Then they say, ‘You’re right.’ ”

After Ole Miss took a 7-6 lead on Jeff Scott’s 1-yard touchdown run, Alabama’s Christion Jones fielded the kickoff on one bounce at the 1-yard line, began running, found a hole and bolted through for a 99-yard touchdown return.

Then after a Dee Milliner interception, Alabama drove for another touchdown, which came on a 16-yard pass from AJ McCarron to Amari Cooper, a true freshman.

Alabama had gone 603:46 without trailing in regulation until the Ole Miss touchdown, going back to last season’s win over Tennessee. The Tide deficit lasted only 15 seconds.

Later in the half, Alabama got another touchdown on Cooper’s 12-yard catch from McCarron on a crossing route in the end zone for a 27-7 lead.

Although the Tide defense struggled at times to hold back Ole Miss’ no-huddle, fast-paced attack, Alabama had more than enough weapons to win this one. McCarron completed 22 of 30 passes for 180 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Cooper had a career-high eight catches for 84 yards in a career that’s only five games old.

“We had high hopes that Amari Cooper would find himself and do the things he does in practice all the time in the game, and I think he did that tonight,” Saban said.

After the Tide’s big first half, Ole Miss’ Randall Mackey cut the advantage to 27-14 midway through the third period with a 12-yard touchdown run. But that was as close as the Rebels could get. Alabama answered early in the fourth with Jeremy Shelley’s third field goal of the game. Shelley added a fourth 3-pointer with 1:41 to play.

Although the Crimson Tide won with a margin of comfort, the Ole Miss offense cut Alabama unlike it had been cut this season.
Only Michigan in the season opener matched the Rebels’ 14 points. Also, Ole Miss got both of its scores on long drives. The first covered 13 plays and 75 yards and the second went for 70 yards on 16 plays.

The Rebels played three different quarterbacks — Bo Wallace, Barry Brunetti and Mackey. All three threw an interception. Deion Belue, Robert Lester and Milliner each picked off one.

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Halftime at Alabama-Ole Miss

Alabama’s Million Dollar Band perform the national anthem. They deserve some photo space on The Daily Bama Blog, right?

Alabama leads Ole Miss 27-7 at halftime of tonight’s game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Here are a few notes of interest for you while you load up on chips, cookies and your favorite beverage:

–Alabama honored its 1992 national championship team before kickoff. Wide receiver Prince Wimbley and offensive lineman George Wilson served as honorary captains for tonight’s game.

–Alabama’s captains for tonight: quarterback AJ McCarron, linebacker Nico Johnson and center Barrett Jones.

–Tide receiver DeAndrew White went down in the first quarter, grabbing his right knee. He was carted to the locker room and isn’t expected to return to the game.

–Alabama place-kicker Jeremy Shelley made two field goals of 38 yards in the first quarter. After one half, he is 5-of-5 on field goals and 23-of-23 on extra points this season.

–Alabama shut out Ole Miss in the first quarter. The Tide hasn’t allowed a first-quarter point all season.

–Alabama trailed in the second quarter, and it’s the first time the Tide has trailed in regulation since Tennessee a year ago. That stretch lasted 40 quarters, which translates out to 603 minutes, 46 seconds in time. The deficit lasted 15 seconds as Christion Jones returned the kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown and a 13-7 lead.

–Dee Milliner and Deion Belue each got his second interception of the year in the first half. Those two lead the team. Six other guys have one each.

–AJ McCarron passed Brodie Croyle for the longest streak in school history without an interception. Croyle’s streak in 2005 was 190 straight. McCarron tied him with his 14th pass tonight on an 8-yard pass to Eddie Lacy. He passed him with a completed pass to Brent Calloway that lost 2 yards.

–Amari Cooper had two first-half touchdown catches, which gives him three for the season. That is tied with Christion Jones for first on the team.

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Saturday night at Bryant-Denny stadium

Fans gather for Alabama’s Walk of Champions, even though it was about 90 minutes before the team arrived.

This is Alabama’s third home game this season but first in which the Crimson Tide is hosting an SEC opponent. Already, we can see a difference.

There just seems to be a little more excitement in the stadium. The fans sound a little louder. They’re cheering more before the game.

Outside the stadium, the place was packed four hours before kickoff. At the Walk of Champions, a pretty good crowd had gathered about 90 minutes before the team arrived.

Alabama had a pretty decent number of recruits come to tonight’s game, and certainly, this is what the Tide coaches wanted them to see.

We had some rain about an hour before kickoff, but it’s dry now.

On the injury front, noseguard Brandon Ivory (ankle) doesn’t appear able to play tonight. Wide receiver Kevin Norwood (ankle), who played only sparingly at the start of last week’s game, is going through pregame warmups.

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Lassic was a classic for Bama in 1992

Before tonight’s game, Travelers sponsored a golf chipping challenge for fans, and the company brought back several Alabama players from the 1992 team to chip for charity.

The group included All-SEC running back Derrick Lassic, the Sugar Bowl most valuable player of Alabama’s 34-13 win over Miami.

He spent 1993-95 in the NFL with Dallas and Carolina and now lives in Atlanta, working in medical sales. He certainly didn’t mind talking a bit about the 1992 season, flashing that big smile Alabama fans got to know so well back then.

“It was a dream come true,” he said. “It was the 100th year of Alabama football. We hadn’t won a national championship in a while. It was great to bring one back to Alabama.”

He had hoped the winning would continue at Alabama, but even though it didn’t for a stretch, he’s happy where the Crimson Tide is now.

“We had some lean years after we left, but now we’re back on top,” he said. “Schools like Alabama, Notre Dame, Michigan — you’re used to seeing them on top of college football.”

There’s more, but I’m leaving that for my column for tomorrow’s print editions.

While looking for video of Lassic, I found this two-minute piece of him when he played at North Rockland High in New York:

On campus, everybody does Eddie Lacy’s spin move

I’m not a huge fan of ESPN, but I do think the network does some things awfully well, including fun stories, such as this one ESPNU did on Crimson Tide running back Eddie Lacy’s spin move.

Apparently, the spin move is catching on among Alabama students. Toungue is firmly in cheek with this “serious” story:

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