AJ McCarron threw for 179 yards and three touchdowns against LSU Saturday night, but the fifth-year signal caller cemented himself in Crimson Tide history before halftime – he passed former Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson to become the all-time career leader in passing yards in school history.
But McCarron wasn’t aware he had broken a record until someone told him. And he was quick to credit his teammates for his success at The University of Alabama.
“It means a lot. I can never thank my teammates enough, an unbelievable job by them,” McCarron said. “I think any time you set any type of record it shows what type of great teammates you have.”
McCarron has 7,997 career passing yards
Nick Saban praised his quarterback for his leadership in the game, specifically in the second half. He said he and McCarron have been through a lot in their time together.
“He’s done a great job for us,” Saban said. “There’s nobody that I’ve had the opportunity to coach that’s more into the game, that’s a better competitor.”
Defense shuts down LSU running game
The Alabama defense held the Tigers to 43 rushing yards on 31 carries.
LSU’s bruising running back Jeremy Hill rushed for only 42 yards on 13 carries, and the Crimson Tide sacked Zach Mettenberger four times – tying a season high for Alabama.
“In the second half we came out and tried to be a different team,” junior defensive lineman Jeoffrey Pagan said. “Our intensity went up and the amount of plays that we tried to do went up, and we just tried to play as hard as we could.”
Alabama also forced two turnovers and fell short of intercepting several Mettenberger passes.
Defensive back Jarrick Williams also said LSU capitalized on confusion from the defense.
“I think we played really well,” Williams said. “We could’ve done more. The majority of the plays they made were due to our mistakes. That’s something we can work on.”
Tana Patrick steps up with a big play
On LSU’s first drive of the game the Tigers marched down the field and were inches away from taking an early 7-0 lead. Fullback J.C. Copeland carried the ball outside of the left tackle and appeared to have an easy touchdown.
Senior linebacker Tana Patrick, who doesn’t see the field much, sprinted along the goal line and knocked the ball out of Copeland’s hand. The Crimson Tide recovered the fumble.
Saban and players said Patrick’s effort and opportunistic turnovers helped get Alabama’s defense off the field in the first half.
“We weren’t getting off the field on third down,” Saban said. “If it wasn’t for the turnovers, I think they would have scored a lot more points and the game would have been a little different.”
Saban praises fans
After his postgame interview with CBS reporter Tracy Wolfson, Saban jogged in the opposite direction of the locker room. Flanked by two state troopers, the winning head coach did a loop around the field, making sure to run a little slower around the student section.
Saban waved and wagged his finger in the air, much like Joe Namath did after the New York Jets won Super Bowl III.
Bryant-Denny Stadium’s crowd was nothing short of raucous, especially in the second half, and Saban took notice.
“I love our fans,” Saban said. “That was a great atmosphere for a college football game.”