White Defeats Crimson in Record-Setting A-Day, 20-13

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

By Scott Latta, UA Media Relations 

TUSCALOOSA, Ala.- In front of a crowd in excess of 92,138, the largest crowd in A-Day history, Alabama's White squad defeated the Crimson squad 20-13 in the first public scrimmage under first-year Alabama head coach Nick Saban.

The White squad featured Alabama's first-team offense and second team defense, and the Crimson squad featured the Tide's second-string offense and first-team defense.

Alabama's capacity crowd is well over the previous best for a Southeastern Conference Spring Day game, which is believed to have been set by Tennessee in 1986, with 73,000. It also nearly doubles this season's previous best set by Florida at 47,500.

"I'd like to thank all of our fans, who made this a really special day today," Saban said. "To have as many people as we had here today is a great self-gratification for the players. It shows what great passion and support we have at the University of Alabama and it certainly makes me feel great about being here as a coach."

After a scoreless first quarter, the Crimson team got on the board first on a five-yard touchdown pass from freshman Greg McElroy to junior Matt Caddell. The score gave the second-string offense its first points of the day and capped an 11-play, 74-yard drive to make the score 7-0.

The White team answered on the following drive with a 17-yard touchdown from sophomore quarterback John Parker Wilson to junior DJ Hall. The extra point from junior Jamie Christensen tied the score at 7.

With just seconds remaining before halftime, Christensen kicked a 42-yard field goal for the Crimson team that capped a 10-play drive, for a 10-7 halftime lead. Christensen also kicked a 41-yarder to cap the Crimson team's opening drive of the second half to extend its lead to 13-7.

The White squad took the lead for good on its next drive, this time with a 10-play, 70-yard touchdown drive that was capped by a 26-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to sophomore Nikita Stover, to take a 14-13 lead.

Freshman Leigh Tiffin added a pair of field goals, a 46-yarder and a 28-yarder, respectively, to extend White's lead to 20-13.

"I think we did good today," Wilson said. "Offensively, we took care of the ball. We handled it without turning it over. We were able to score some points offensively. It was a good day."

Wilson finished the day 18-of-36 for 244 yards with two touchdowns. Hall, who was voted by the media as the recipient of the Dixie Howell Memorial Award as the game's most valuable player, led the White team receiving with five catches for 87 yards and a touchdown. Stover had three catches for 58 yards and a touchdown and freshman Preston Dial had two catches for 33 yards.

On the ground, freshman Terry Grant led the White team with eight rushes for 47 yards. Sophomore Jimmy Johns had six carries for 26 yards.

Leading the Crimson squad, McElroy was 14-of-33 for 139 yards with a touchdown. Freshman Mike McCoy had three catches for 29 yards, freshman Roy Upchurch had three catches for 26 yards, and freshman Earl Alexander had three catches for 45 yards.

On the Crimson team, freshman Jamar Taylor had 10 carries for 44 yards, Upchurch had nine carries for 37 yards and sophomore Glen Coffee had four carries for 15 yards.

Freshman Marquis Johnson led the secondary with one solo tackle and six assists, with two pass breakups.

"I think we're on pace," sophomore defensive lineman Bobby Greenwood said. "We've got a lot of hard work to do this summer, but we've come a long way since the beginning of spring to where we are now, so I think we're making real good progress."

Saban, who said the game plan was toned down for the players in order to increase focus on performance, agreed.

"The discipline and execution was appropriate," Saban said. "We dropped some balls, the tackling was pretty good for the most part and we didn't make a lot of mental errors. The game was pretty simple, relative to the things that we did on the running plays, passing plays and defensive pressure that we had. It made the players focused, play with discipline, have fun, focus and compete."

In addition to Hall's most valuable player award, sophomore lineman Antoine Caldwell was voted by the media as the recipient of the Dwight Stephenson Award, which recognizes A-Day's most valuable lineman.

"It feels good to win the Offensive Lineman Award," Caldwell said. "I am blessed and glad I had then opportunity to win it. I am very impressed with how everything is going around here, and am very appreciative.

"The fan support today was amazing. I have always thought there are no other fans like that of Alabama. That's why I love playing here. That is why I wanted to come here. They are always behind us no matter what we do, both home and away."