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Crimson Defeats White, 14-7, in Golden Flake A-Day Game



April 18, 2009

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Tuscaloosa, Ala. -

A crowd of 84,050 packed into Bryant-Denny stadium Saturday to watch the Crimson team defeat the White team, 14-7, in the annual Golden Flake A-Day football game. ESPN televised the action for the first time in the history of the event.  The Crimson team was comprised of Alabama’s first-team offense and second-team defense, while the White team featured the second-team offense and first-team defense.

“We certainly appreciate the atmosphere that was created out there for our team,” head coach Nick Saban said. I think our fans coming out and us having over 80,000 people is a real positive for our players. It was great to have ESPN here today. It was tremendous exposure for the University, as well as the football team. The tradition that is emulated here on A-Day is something hard not to have tremendous respect for and respond to.”

For the third straight year under head coach Nick Saban, the spring scrimmage attracted an enormous crowd. More than 250,000 fans have attended the three A-Day games since Saban took over as head coach.  After both defenses held to open the game, the Crimson squad jumped out to a 7-0 lead on its second possession when Greg McElroy found Julio Jones behind the defense for a 52-yard touchdown strike.

“(Julio) was actually my third read,” McElroy said. “I started my read at the tight end, then worked over to the over-route, then looked to Julio on the backside, and it was good. He got open and made a play. I knew exactly where he was going to be and I guess that’s what all the execution over the spring led to, and I was excited we got the points out of it.”

The White team tried to answer quickly on the next drive when Star Jackson hooked up with Marquis Maze for a 38-yard gain, but three plays later Chris Jordan came up with an interception at the five-yard line to end the threat.  The Crimson team added a second score midway through the second quarter when McElroy found Mike McCoy in the corner of the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown. That play capped a seven-play, 58-yard drive with the big play coming on a 30-yard reception by Colin Peek.

The Crimson team took that 14-0 lead into halftime.

The White team opened the second half with a 10-play, 54-yard drive, but Leigh Tiffin’s 33-yard field goal try was wide left keeping the score at 14-0.  Neither defense surrendered a point in the third quarter, but the White cut the lead to 14-7 on the second play of the fourth quarter with a five-yard run by Ivan Matchett.

The White team’s last attempt at a comeback ended when Jackson’s pass on a fourth-and-13 was intercepted by Mark Barron on the last play of the game.

McElroy threw for 189 yards on 16-of-30 passing with two touchdowns and two interceptions.  Julio Jones finished with four catches for 73 yards and a score, and McCoy had three catches for 53 yards and one touchdown.   On the ground, Terry Grant ran for 27 yards on 10 carries to lead the Crimson team. Grant also added three catches for 19 yards.

Jackson and Thomas Darrah split time at quarterback for the White team with Jackson going 4-for-13 for 52 yards with two interceptions, and Darrah completing 8-for-22 attempts for 113 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions.  Maze led the White team in receiving with five catches for 87 yards, and he also led his squad in rushing with 47 yards on two attempts.   Preston Dial had five catches for 58 yards.  Jeramie Griffin ran for 31 yards on 10 carries.

“(Maze) has made a lot of big plays this spring,” Saban said. “He is very fast and our most explosive guy off the line against any kind of close coverage.  He has the ability to run with the ball and has improved his hands, which is a real key.  I think he is a guy that can be a real play maker for us in the future.  I am very, very encouraged by the spring that he had.”

McElroy and Maze shared the Dixie Howell Memorial Award as Most Valuable Players of the A-Day Game.
Defensively, Mark Barron led the Crimson squad with 4.5 tackles to go along with his one interception. Marcel Dareus had four tackles and a sack and earned the Dwight Stephenson Award given to the best defensive lineman in the game. The Crimson Team had eight sacks on the game with Chavis Williams and Courtney Upshaw each getting to the quarterback twice.

For the White, Rolando McClain had six tackles to lead the team with one sack.  Linebacker Eryk Anders had two sacks. Linebacker Dont’a Hightower made five tackles and picked off a pass, and Robby Green had the other interception for the White team.