Alabama notebook: McCarron gets a hug from Saban
by Marq Burnett and Joe Medley
Nov 09, 2013 | 3390 views |  0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron (10) throws the ball to a receiver behind the block of Alabama offensive lineman Cyrus Kouandjio (71). (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron (10) throws the ball to a receiver behind the block of Alabama offensive lineman Cyrus Kouandjio (71). (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
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TUSCALOOSA — Alabama coach Nick Saban showed his happy side after his Crimson Tide beat LSU 38-17 on Saturday.

In the postgame celebration on the Bryant-Denny Stadium turf, Saban even took a flying leap into the arms of his starting quarterback, AJ McCarron.

“Look man, AJ and I have been through a lot,” Saban said with a slight smile. “Some of it you’ve seen on TV, and some of it you haven’t.”

Saban said he hasn’t coached anybody who is more competitive than McCarron.

“I thought he did a great job of showing a lot of leadership, especially in the second half,” Saban said.

McCarron passed for 179 yards, which gave him 7,997 for his career. That moved him ahead of John Parker Wilson (7,924 yards from 2005-08) for No. 1 on the school’s career passing yards list.

Fake punt

LSU coach Les Miles is known for calling trick plays, but it was Nick Saban who pulled the first one. Saban called a fake punt on fourth-and-two and the Tide converted.

Linebacker C.J. Mosley handed the ball to safety Jarrick Williams who was able to pick up the yardage. The Tide drove down the field and scored a touchdown to cap the drive.

“I’d trust C.J. to do anything,” Saban said. “Watch my kids, watch my house. So a (punt) fake isn’t much.”

Early defense struggles

Since facing Texas A&M on Sept. 14, Alabama’s defense hadn’t allowed a first-half point until Saturday night.

The Crimson Tide went six games before surrendering a first-half score to LSU. The Tigers ultimately scored 14 points in the opening half.

In the second half of Saturday’s win, however, Alabama limited LSU to three points and 52 yards.

Sack streak

Alabama went four complete games without allowing a sack, but that streak came to an end when a free blitzer reached McCarron in the first half.

McCarron ducked and went to the ground before the linebacker was able to lay a big hit on him.

Howard’s touchdown

Freshman tight end O.J. Howard recorded the second touchdown of his Alabama career in the second quarter of Saturday night’s game, going 52 yards for the score.

The catch was his longest of the season, surpassing his previous high of 27 set at Texas A&M.

They were here

While Saturday’s Alabama-LSU game didn’t command “Game of the Century” hype, it did command a big-game press box.

SEC commissioner Mike Slive was there, along with scouts from the Gator, Florida Citrus, Chick-fil-A and All-State Sugar Bowls. National media figures included Pat Forde, Dennis Dodd, Phil Steele and representatives from the New York Times, USA Today, SI.com and The Sporting News.

On the photo deck were representatives from 11 NFL teams — the Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders, Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Bucs.

Up next

Top-ranked Alabama (9-0, 6-0 SEC) will go on the road this week to play Mississippi State (4-5, 1-4) in an SEC West Division game.

MSU lost 51-41 at Texas A&M on Saturday. The Bulldogs have lost two games in a row, and their lone SEC victory this season was at Kentucky (28-22).

After MSU, Alabama has a Nov. 23 tuneup against Chattanooga at home before playing at No. 7 Auburn on Nov. 30.
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Alabama notebook: McCarron gets a hug from Saban by Marq Burnett and Joe Medley

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