(1) Alabama 12 Tennessee 10: Post-game Thoughts
A game not to be forgotten for a long time.
This old rivalry lived up to all it could be. Tennessee, a two-touchdown underdog, traveling into enemy territory. Alabama, an undefeated season in the making, ranked number one in the AP poll. A perfect setting for a blowout. Or, a memorable upset.
But instead, what happened was the stuff of legend.
This is a game that will be reviewed over and over and over, on film and in the mind, just to try and figure out (1) what happened and (2) if the result was justified based on the play of both squads.
In the end, it was perhaps the sheer will and/or physical strength of the Alabama defensive front that won saved this game for the Crimson Tide. There were key stops and sacks. But, it was defensive lineman Terrence Cody’s fourth quarter plays that will live in the collective Crimson Tide consciousness for decades. Cody blocked two field goal attempts (from 43 and 44 yards) by Vol place kicker Daniel Lincoln in the fourth quarter – the last attempt if converted, with only a couple of seconds left on the game clock, would have given Tennessee a 13-12 shock win that would have reverberated throughout the south and the nation. Lincoln earlier had missed a 47 yard attempt just before the end of the first half. He ended the day 1 for 4 from the spot.
On the other side of the kicking game, Tide scoring king Leigh Tiffin accounted for all his side’s points, kicking field goals from 38, 50, 22, and then 49 yards.
But it was a Vol defense that in the second half stuffed the Alabama vaunted running game, making all of the game’s later theatrics possible. And, a newly-reborn Vol quarterback Jonathan Crompton that appears to have shrugged off all the old, stale jokes and criticisms that have been thrown his way over the past two years. And, a Vol gang-tackle-induced fumble by Heisman candidate Mark Ingram (his first lost fumble ever in 322 touches). And a converted on-sides kick immediately after the Vols scored the only touchdown of the day to maintain possession with only a bit more than a minute left in the game to set up the game winner attempt that sadly found flesh at the line of scrimmage.
See what I mean?
Well, I’ll just leave you with it. I’m too exhausted and emotionally spent to go on. On Sunday, I’ll come back with a game summary and some additional thoughts about a game that was both thrilling and killing.
A penny for your thoughts…