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Alabama season in review
Daily Photo by Gary Cosby Jr.
Alabama celebrates its 15th national championship after dominating Notre Dame in the BCS Championship Game Monday. Alabama tight end Kelly Johnson (31) and Alabama linebacker Adrian Hubbard (42) celebrate with fans.

vs. Michigan Sept. 1

Freshman T.J Yeldon rushed for 111 yards and a score and All-American linebacker C.J. Mosley returned an interception for a touchdown as No. 2 Alabama opened the 2012 season with a convincing 41-14 win over 8th-ranked Michigan in the Cowboys Classic at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The Crimson Tide rolled up 431 yards of offense, including 232 on the ground, while limiting Denard Robinson and the Wolverines to 269 total yards and 3 turnovers in the first-ever regular-season meeting between the two teams.

Sparked by a pair of touchdown passes from junior quarterback AJ McCarron, Alabama (1-0) scored 31 unanswered points before Michigan (0-1) got on the board and carried a commanding 31-7 lead into halftime. Cade Foster connected with a 51-yard field goal and Yeldon scored on a 1-yard run in the second half to seal the win.

McCarron passed for 199 yards on 11 of 21 attempts to accompany his two scores. Dee Milliner and freshman Dillon Lee each added interceptions for the Crimson Tide.

vs. Western Kentucky Sept. 8

McCarron matched his career high with four touchdown passes and the defense forced the same number of turnovers as top-ranked Alabama shut out Western Kentucky 35-0 in the Crimson Tide’s home opener.

McCarron connected with freshman Christion Jones on a pair of first-half touchdown passes and Kevin Norwood hauled in two of his own as the tandem became the first to catch two touchdowns passes each in the same game for Alabama since 1950.

Mosley anchored the defense with 11 tackles, including a sack, and former Deshler High School standout Deion Belue picked off Hilltoper quarterback Kawaun Jakes to propel Alabama to a 2-0 start.

at Arkansas Sept. 15

Eddie Lacy rushed for three touchdowns as Alabama scored a season-high 52 points in shutting out Arkansas (1-2) in Fayetteville.

The Crimson Tide defense forced five turnovers and took advantage of an Arkansas team which was without 2011 All-SEC quarterback Tyler Wilson. Defensive backs Vinnie Sunseri and Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix each had first-half interceptions to spearhead an Alabama squad that held Arkansas to just 44 yards in the first half and 137 for the game.

McCarron connected on 11 of his 16 passing attempts for 189 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper, as the Tide racked up 438 yards of offense. It was the first time Alabama had posted back-to-back shutouts since 1980.

vs. Florida Atlantic Sept.22

Alabama scored on all six of its first half possessions, jumped out to a 30-0 halftime lead, and cruised to a 40-7 win in Tuscaloosa against an overmatched Florida Atlantic.

The Crimson Tide’s first score came less than two minutes in, when McCarron found Kenny Bell on a crossing pattern, which Bell turned into an 85-yard touchdown. DeAndrew White was on the receiving end of McCarron’s second touchdown pass; a 4-yarder in the back of the end zone. Jones snared a 4-yard touchdown reception and Kenyan Drake scored on an 8-yard fourth-quarter run. Kickers Jeremy Shelley and Foster each added a pair of field goals in the win.

McCarron finished with 212 yards and three scores, while Lacy added 108 yards on the ground for an Alabama team which tallied 503 yards of offense.

The Crimson Tide defense smothered Florida Atlantic (1-3), allowing just six first downs and a season-best 110 total yards; 75 of which came on the Owls fourth-quarter scoring drive.

vs. Ole Miss Sept. 29

Cooper caught touchdown passes of 16 and 12 yards and McCarron surpassed Brodie Croyle for the most consecutive pass attempts without an interception in school history as Alabama improved to 5-0 on the season with a 33-14 home win over Ole Miss (3-2).

The Crimson Tide trailed for the first time this season, when running back Jeff Scott scored on a 1-yard run to put Ole Miss ahead 7-6 early in the second quarter. The lead lasted just 15 seconds, however, as Jones took the ensuing kickoff back 99 yards for a touchdown and Alabama never looked back. The Tide scored on its next two possessions to carry a 27-7 lead into halftime.

Shelley connected on all four of his field goal attempts, while Cooper finished with eight receptions and 84 yards to go along with his two scores.

Mosley posted 10 tackles and Belue, Milliner, and Robert Lester each had an interception for an Alabama defense which has held its opponent under 300 total yards for 18 of the past 19 games.

at Missouri Oct. 13

Lacy and Yeldon combined for 321 yards rushing and five scores, as Alabama (6-0) went on the road and pounded SEC-newcomer Missouri 42-10.

The Crimson Tide scored the game’s first 28 points and gained 533 yards of total offense in the rain-soaked contest which was halted for 30 minutes because of lightning. McCarron was 16 of 21 passing for 171 yards and freshman Kenyan Drake added a fourth-quarter touchdown run.

Mosley notched 12 tackles, a fumble recovery, and a sack for the defense, which limited Missouri (3-4) to 129 total yards and just 3 yards rushing. Sunseri and Clinton-Dix had interceptions and Landon Collins added a blocked punt, all of which the Alabama offense cashed-in for touchdowns.

at Tennessee Oct. 20

True freshmen were on display as the top-ranked Crimson Tide traveled to Neyland Stadium and upended Tennessee 44-13.

Alabama got on the scoreboard first when McCarron found Cooper for a 23-yard touchdown strike. The Tide claimed a 23-10 halftime lead behind a 1-yard touchdown run from Yeldon and a 1-yard scoring reception by tight end Michael Williams.

Kenny Bell and Cooper each added touchdown receptions in the second half and Yeldon raced 43 yards for his second score as Alabama put the game away.

Cooper set a freshman school record with 162 yards receiving on 7 catches to go along with his pair of scores, while Yeldon added 129 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. McCarron passed for 306 yards and 4 touchdowns as the Crimson Tide tallied a season-high 539 total yards of offense.

Mosley and Lester posted interceptions for an Alabama defense which held the Volunteers (4-3) to 282 total yards and 11 first downs.

vs. Mississippi State Oct. 27

No. 1 Alabama scored touchdowns on its first three possessions and held undefeated and 11th-ranked Mississippi State to a lone fourth-quarter score en route to a convincing 38-7 win at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Yeldon scored on an 11-yard run, as Alabama (8-0) took the opening kickoff and went 59 yards on 9 plays to begin the game. Dee Milliner blocked a 31-yard field attempt on Mississippi State’s ensuing possession and it took the Crimson Tide just six plays for McCarron to connect with Bell on a 57-yard pass to push the lead to 14-0. McCarron later found Williams on a 9-yard touchdown strike and Shelley added a 34-yard field goal to give Alabama a 24-0 advantage at halftime.

The score remained the same into the fourth quarter, until third-string quarterback Phillip Ely found Lacy for a 29-yard catch-and-run score. Kenyan Drake added a 3-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 38-0. The Bulldogs’ (7-1) only points came with under five minutes to play when sophomore Robert Johnson pulled in a 2-yard pass from reserve Dak Prescott.

McCarron finished with 208 yards through the air and two scores, while Yeldon added 85 yards rushing on 10 carries and a score. Lester recovered a fumble and intercepted his third pass of the season to lead the Crimson Tide defense, which allowed 256 total yards and 47 yards on the ground.

at LSU Nov. 3

McCarron lobbed a screen pass to Yeldon, who raced 28 yards for a touchdown with 51 seconds remaining as top-ranked Alabama came from behind to stun No. 5 LSU in a thriller in Baton Rouge, La.

LSU broke the stalemate in the opening quarter when Drew Allman was good on a 38-yard field goal to seal a 12 play, 53-yard drive. Alabama (9-0) responded on its next possession going 92 yards and scoring when Eddie Lacy ran up the middle for 7 yards to make it 7-3. The Crimson Tide overcame a muffed punt return by Cyrus Jones and a faked field goal attempt from Les Miles and LSU (7-2), when McCarron scored on 9-yard keeper with 11 seconds remaining in the second quarter to carry a 14-3 lead into halftime.

The Tigers cut into the lead in the third going 58 yards, capped by a 1-yard run from Jeremy Hill to make it 14-10. Not to be outdone, Alabama drove deep into LSU territory, but a Yeldon fumble was recovered by standout defensive end Sam Montgomery to turn the momentum in LSU’s favor. Seven plays later, quarterback Zach Mettenberger found Jarvis Landry on a back-shoulder throw for the go-ahead touchdown score as the Tigers claimed a 17-14 lead. A missed 45-yard field goal from Allman returned the ball to Alabama with 1:34 remaining to set up what has become known to Alabama fans as “The Drive.” McCarron, who struggled for much of the second half, completed three consecutive passes to junior receiver Kevin Norwood, before flipping to Yeldon for the game winner.

McCarron finished with 165 yards passing and 2 scores, while Lacy and Yeldon combined for 159 yards rushing and one score each. Mettenberger passed for 298 yards and a score and Hill added 107 yards rushing on 29 carries against a Crimson Tide defense which allowed a season-high 435 yards.

vs. Texas A&M Nov.10

Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel and 15th-ranked Texas A&M jumped out to a 20-0 first-quarter lead and held on late to upset unbeaten and No. 1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

Christine Michael scored on a pair of 1-yard runs and Manziel scrambled before finding a wide-open Ryan Swope on a 10-yard touchdown pass to hand Alabama its largest deficit since its 2010 loss to South Carolina. The Crimson Tide responded in the second quarter with touchdown runs from Yeldon and Lacy to make it 20-14 at the half.

Shelley added a 28-yard field goal in the third quarter as Alabama drew within three points. Texas A&M (8-2) replied by adding a field goal of its own and Malcome Kennedy hauled-in Manziel’s second touchdown pass of the game to push the lead to 29-17. Alabama (9-1) cut the lead to five, when A.J. McCarron hooked up with Cooper down the sideline for a 54-yard touchdown. A defensive stand returned the ball to Alabama and McCarron, who found Bell on a 54-yard toss to get to the A&M 6-yard line. On 4th-and-2, sophomore Deshazor Everett stepped in front of a McCarron pass to repel Alabama for the final time. An offside penalty on fourth down allowed the Aggies to maintain possession and run out the clock.

Manziel finished with 253 yards and 2 scores through the air and 92 yards rushing, while Swope added 11 receptions, 111 yards, and a score. McCarron, whose school record for passing attempts without an interception was broken at 292, threw for a career-high 309 yards and score. Cooper caught 6 passes for 136 yards and a score and Lacy added 92 yards to go along with his touchdown.

vs. Western Carolina Nov.17

McCarron set Alabama’s single-season touchdown passing record and the Crimson Tide notched its fifth consecutive 10-win season with a cathartic 49-0 home win over Western Carolina.

Alabama (10-1) scored touchdowns on its first six possessions and Deion Belue scooped up a fumble and ran 57 yards for a score, as the fifth-ranked Crimson Tide dealt the struggling Catamounts their 10th loss of the season.

Lacy rushed for three first-half touchdowns and 99 yards, while McCarron, whose 29-yard touchdown pass to Christion Jones moved him past Greg McElroy for the record, was a perfect 6 of 6 for 133 yards. Backup quarterback Blake Sims added 80 yards rushing and a third-quarter touchdown run.

It was the 18th consecutive non-conference win for Alabama, which gained 300 yards rushing and 160 through the air. Western Carolina (1-10) managed just 8 first downs and 163 total yards.

vs. Auburn Nov. 24

Second-ranked Alabama secured the SEC Western Division Title with a 49-0 shutout of rival Auburn, the most lopsided defeat in the Iron Bowl in 64 years.

McCarron threw for 216 yards and four touchdowns and Eddie Lacy ran for 131 yards and two touchdowns, as the Crimson Tide scored on its first seven possessions to carry a 42-0 lead into halftime. Cooper and Norwood each pulled in two touchdowns and Yeldon added a 2-yard score for Alabama (11-1), which moved back into the national championship picture following losses by Kansas State and Oregon.

It was the fourth shutout of the season for the Alabama defense, which held Auburn to 163 total yards and forced 3 turnovers. Lester and Clinton-Dix each had interceptions and Milliner added a fumble recovery.

vs. Georgia Dec. 1

Alabama’s offense topped 500 yards for the fourth time this season, but it took every second of the 60-minute SEC Championship Game for the nation’s No. 2 team to secure a 32-28 victory over third-ranked Georgia and a trip to its third BCS title game in four years.

The Bulldogs (11-2) broke open the scoreless tie in the second quarter when quarterback Aaron Murray completed a 13-play drive with a 19-yard pass to freshman tight end Jay Rome. Alabama tied the game at 7 with less than two minutes in the half on a 41-yard run by Eddie Lacy. Georgia moved the ball to midfield, before Clinton-Dix picked off Murray and returned it into Bulldog territory. Shelley was good on a 22-yard field goal as Alabama carried a 10-7 lead into halftime.

Georgia took the second-half kickoff and went 75 yards to reclaim the lead. Freshman Todd Gurley, who finished with 122 yards rushing, scored on a 3-yard run to put the Bulldogs ahead 14-10. On Alabama’s next possession, a 49-yard field goal attempt by Foster was blocked by Cornelius Washington and returned for a score by Alec Ogletree to extend Georgia’s lead to 21-10 midway through the third quarter. Yeldon cut into the deficit with a 10-yard scoring run and Lacy added his second touchdown of the game to put the Crimson Tide ahead 25-21 early in the fourth quarter. A 45-yard pass from Murray to Tavarres King, who had 142 yards receiving, set up Gurley for his second touchdown; a 10-yard run which put Georgia ahead 28-15 with 13 minutes to play. The teams traded possessions, until McCarron found Cooper behind the Georgia defense for a 45-yard touchdown pass to put Alabama ahead 32-28 with 3:15 left. The Bulldogs gained possession and went 80 yards to the Alabama 8 yard line, before a tipped pass from Murray was mistakenly caught by a falling Chris Conley with just five seconds remaining allowing time to expire and Alabama to escape Atlanta with its 23rd SEC Title.

Lacy earned game MVP honors behind his 181-yard, two-touchdown performance. Yeldon tallied 153 yards rushing and a score, while Cooper caught 8 passes for 128 yards and one touchdown for Alabama (12-1).

vs. Notre Dame Jan. 7

Alabama claimed its second consecutive national championship and its third in four seasons with a dominating 42-14 victory over No. 1 Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship Game in Miami. Lacy rushed for 140 yards on 20 carries while Yeldon added 108 yards on 21 carries. McCarron, meanwhile, became the first quarterback to lead his team to back-to-back BCS championships, throwing for 264 yards and four touchdowns.

The Crimson Tide (13-1) took control early, taking the opening kickoff and driving 82 yards in five plays. Lacy rambled 20 yards up the middle for the first score to put the Tide up 7-0.

Alabama scored on each of its first three possessions to take a 21-0 lead. McCarron hit Williams for a 3-yard score on the Tide’s second drive and Yeldon scored on a 1-yard run on the first play of the second quarter.

Lacy turned a short pass from McCarron into an 11-yard touchdown in the final seconds of the half as Alabama took a 28-0 halftime lead against a stunned Notre Dame team.

Cooper hauled in a 34-yard scoring pass from McCarron in the third quarter as Alabama extended its lead to 35-0. Notre Dame avoided the shutout with a touchdown late in the third quarter, but the outcome had already been decided by that time as the Tide cruised to the 42-14 victory and the national championship.

Lacy was named the Offensive MVP, while Mosley finished with eight tackles to earn Defensive MVP honors.

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