Crimson Defeats White in A-Day Scrimmage, 24-14

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM John Parker Wilson during the A-Day Game
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
John Parker Wilson during the A-Day Game
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

April 12, 2008

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
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By Scott Latta
UA Media Relations

In front of a Bryant-Denny Stadium crowd of 78,200, Alabama's Crimson squad defeated the White squad 24-14 Saturday in the school's annual Golden Flake A-Day Football Game.

The Crimson squad was comprised of Alabama's first-team offense and second team defense, while the White team featured the Tide's first-team defense and second-team offense.

Combined with last year's capacity crowd of 92,138, the total number of fans present at head coach Nick Saban's two spring scrimmages now totals more than 170,000.

"First off, I would like to thank the fans for coming out today," Saban said. "We had a really good turnout. I've been involved with a lot of things at a lot of places, but this is a really positive family experience that we have here for A-Day. To have over 78,000 people to show up for the game and to honor our captains today at Denny Chimes is a tradition like no other that I have seen relative to giving someone the opportunity to become a part of the legacy of all the people who have been captains on this team."

The White squad got on the board first in the first quarter on a 28-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Greg McElroy to freshman wide receiver Darius Hanks. The score capped an 82-yard drive for the second-team offense against the second-team defense.

The Crimson squad answered with 17 consecutive points, following a 44-yard Leigh Tiffin field goal with a pair of touchdown passes from quarterback John Parker Wilson. Wilson's first touchdown pass, a six-yarder, was caught by sophomore Earl Alexander.

Wilson's second touchdown came on the final drive of the first half. After a sack by junior Eryk Anders, Wilson connected on three consecutive passes to three different position players. First, Wilson found tight end Colin Peek for 25 yards, then hit junior Mike McCoy for 24 yards on the right sideline before finding tailback Terry Grant over the middle for a 15-yard touchdown.

The score gave the Crimson team a 17-7 halftime lead.

"I think we did well," Wilson said. "I think we did a lot of good things, and we're playing pretty well right now for it just being the spring. We obviously have some things to work on still, but I thought we played pretty well today."

The White team cut the lead to three points when redshirt freshman quarterback Thomas Darrah found fellow redshirt freshman Marquis Maze in the end zone for a 44-yard touchdown to cut the score to 17-14.

On the next drive, however, Wilson found Grant in the right flat, and Grant took the play 75 yards into the end zone to extend the score back to 10 points, at 24-14.

"We started just picking away at them, hitting little bitty short passes," Wilson said. "When you get the ball to a playmaker like Terry Grant, and he takes it 75 yards that makes it easy."

Wilson finished the day 17-of-34 for 265 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. McCoy led the Crimson receivers with six catches for 101 yards. Grant caught four passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns, while Alexander had four grabs for 28 yards and one touchdown.

On the ground, Grant had six carries for 21 yards. Senior Jonathan Lowe had four carries for 19 yards.

Leading the White team, McElroy finished 12-of-26 for 196 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Darrah finished 8-of-14 with 110 yards and a touchdown. Hanks finished the game with four catches for 102 yards and a touchdown, while Maze caught four passes for 58 yards and a score. Tight end Nick Walker caught five passes for 69 yards.

On the ground, tailback Roy Upchurch had 11 carries for 49 yards.

Freshman Demetrius Goode had six carries for 19 yards.

The Crimson defense was led by Ali Sharrief and Charlie Higgenbotham, who each had eight tackles. Alfred McCullough had six tackles, one sack and two pass breakups. McCullough's performance was enough to earn him the Dwight Stephenson Award for the most valuable lineman of the game, as voted on by the media.

The White defense was led by linebacker Cory Reamer, who had six tackles. Safety Rashad Johnson had two interceptions on the day.

"After a year in Coach Saban's system, a lot more guys are a lot more confident and you can just see it out on the field," Johnson said. "Sometimes I don't even have to look back to get the check when a receiver goes and slides up into the boundary, and they know what they need to do. It just makes my job a whole lot easier since Coach Saban came."

In addition to McCullough's award, Grant was awarded the Dixie Howell Memorial Award, for the game's most valuable player.

Alabama will conclude its spring practice season after its final practice, Monday, April 14.