TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Before a crowd of 78,315, the White team defeated the Crimson team, 17-14, in the annual Alabama Football Golden Flake A-Day Spring Game at Bryant-Denny Stadium in perfect weather conditions Saturday afternoon.
Sophomore running back T.J. Yeldon, playing for the White team, earned the Dixie Howell Award given to the game's most valuable player, after totaling 129 yards on the day (69 rushing, 60 receiving), including the game-winning touchdown. Yeldon led all players in rushing and receiving yardage on the day. It marked the second consecutive year for Yeldon to win the honor.
Sophomore center Ryan Kelly of the White team earned the Dwight Stephenson Lineman of the Game Award given to the game's most valuable lineman.
White team quarterback AJ McCarron finished the day completing 19 of 30 passes for 223 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions. McCarron led the White team to 335 total yards. The Crimson team totaled 285 total yards on the day. The teams combined for nine turnovers, including five by the Crimson team and four by the White team.
"The biggest thing I was concerned about was how the team would go out there and what would be their energy, their enthusiasm, and their attention to detail," UA head coach Nick Saban said. "I don't think that there were enough guys that answered that question in a positive way to my liking. But I'm never satisfied."
The White team took the early lead in the first quarter on a 40-yard pass from AJ McCarron to Kenny Bell with 12:05 remaining. Cade Foster's kick gave the White a 7-0 lead. The pass capped a 70-yard drive in four plays. A short time later, the White upped its lead to 10-0 on a 29-yard field goal by Cade Foster with 7:09 left in the first period. That field goal was set up by a 42-yard interception return by Nick Perry of a Blake Sims pass to set up the White at the Crimson 12.
The scored remained 10-0 until the last play of the first half. On a first-and-10 at the Crimson 39, White team quarterback AJ McCarron's pass down the left sideline was intercepted at the Crimson 14 by Crimson safety Vinnie Sunseri who took the pass and raced diagonally across the field on an 86-yard interception return for a touchdown. Sunseri's score narrowed the White team's halftime lead to 10-7 following Adam Griffith's conversion kick.
The second half was a deadlock until the late going. The Crimson team took a 14-10 lead with 2:01 remaining on a 55-yard fumble recovery return for an interception by safety HaHa Clinton-Dix with 2:01 remaining in the fourth quarter. Clinton-Dix scooped up a fumble caused by cornerback Deion Belue who stripped the football from the hands of tight end Brian Vogler at the Crimson 45-yard line after an 8-yard completion. Griffith's extra-point kick gave the Crimson the four-point lead late in the game.
The White team stormed back on a game-winning drive to take the lead just 57 seconds later, moving 70 yards in only four plays. McCarron led the march, completing three consecutive passes to set up the winning touchdown. He started the march with a four-yard pass to Amari Cooper then completed a nine-yard pass to Yeldon to the White 43. The biggest play of the game followed as McCarron hit Christion Jones on a deep flag route down the middle of the field for 50 yards to the Crimson 7-yard line. Yeldon took it from there, taking a handoff from McCarron on a draw play over left guard to pay dirt with 1:04 remaining. Cade Foster's conversion kick gave the White team a 17-14 lead.
Quarterback Alec Morris led the Crimson team downfield in the final seconds, but threw incomplete in the end zone for Chris Black on the game's last play.
Four players saw time at quarterback for the Crimson team. Alec Morris completed 10 of 18 passes for 141 yards without an interception or a touchdown. Blake Sims completed 5 of 10 for 52 yards with two interceptions. Cooper Bateman was 1 of 3 with two interceptions for three yards. Luke Del Rio completed 2 of 3 for 38 yards without throwing an interception or a touchdown.
For the White team, Phillip Ely and Parker McLeod saw action behind starter AJ McCarron. Ely completed 2 of 4 passes for eight years while McLeod completed 1 of 2 for 19 yards.
While Yeldon led the Crimson team with 69 yards rushing on 15 attempts and scored a touchdown, Kenyan Drake led the White team with 33 yards on 8 carries. Yeldon also led all receivers with 7 catches for 60 yards. Drake led the Crimson team with 4 catches for 18 yards. Kenny Bell of the White team led all receivers with 71 yards on 3 catches, including a 40-yard catch. DeAndrew White led the White team with 62 yards on 3 catches. Christion Jones of the White team had 3 catches for 55 yards, including a game-long 50-yard catch.
Linebacker C.J. Mosley of the Crimson team had a game-high 9 tackles and a fumble recovery while linebacker Tana Patrick had 8 stops. Defensive back Landon Collins led the White team with 5 tackles. Cody Mandell had an outstanding day punting for both teams. He punted 7 times for an average of 48.3 yards per punt with 338 total yards. Three of Mandell's punts were downed inside the 20-yard line.
The attendance of 78,315 is the sixth-largest spring game attendance total at Alabama. More than 592,000 fans have attended the seven A-Day games during Saban's tenure as head coach, including 90,000 plus in three of the seven years.
ALABAMA ATHLETICS COMMUNICATIONS
2013 GOLDEN FLAKE A-DAY GAME
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Bryant-Denny Stadium – Tuscaloosa, Ala.
WHITE DEFEATS CRIMSON, 17-14, IN GOLDEN FLAKE A-DAY GAME
Running back T.J. Yeldon accounted for 129 all-purpose yards to lead the White team over the Crimson team, 17-14, in the 2013 Golden Flake A-Day Game before a crowd of 78,315 at Bryant-Denny Stadium and an ESPN2 television audience. Yeldon, playing for the White team, earned the Dixie Howell Award given to the game's most valuable player, after totaling 129 yards on the day (69 rushing, 60 receiving), including the game-winning touchdown. Yeldon led all players in rushing and receiving yardage on the day. It marked the second consecutive year for Yeldon to win the honor. Sophomore center Ryan Kelly of the White team earned the Dwight Stephenson Lineman of the Game Award given to the game's most valuable lineman.
OFFICIAL A-DAY GAME ATTENDANCE
The official estimated attendance at today's game was 78,315 at Bryant-Denny Stadium (capacity: 101,821) on Saturday, the sixth-largest attendance mark for an A-Day football game.
LARGEST A-DAY ATTENDANCE TOTALS
The top attendance totals for Alabama's A-Day Game.
SPRING FOOTBALL AWARD WINNERS
The following Alabama football players were honored for the performance throughout Spring Football Practice with the following awards bestowed by the Crimson Tide coaching staff:
Lee Roy Jordan Headhunter Award – Christion Jones, Adrian Hubbard
Jerry Duncan "I Like to Practice" Award – Ryan Kelly, Brian Vogler, Vinnie Sunseri, Davlin Tomlinson
Billy Neighbors Defensive Lineman Award – Jeoffrey Pagan
Paul Crane Offensive Lineman Award – Cyrus Kouandjio
Bobby Johns Defensive Back Award – Deion Belue
Johnny Musso Offensive Back Award – T.J. Yeldon
Ray Perkins Receiver Award – Amari Cooper
Woodrow Lowe Linebacker Award – C.J. Mosley
Derrick Thomas Community Service Award –Kevin Norwood, Blake Sims
Bear Bryant Outstanding Non-Scholarship Award – Parker Barrineau, Zach Houston
Ozzie Newsome Most Improved Freshman Award – Derrick Henry, O.J. Howard, Kenyan Drake, Ryan Anderson, Landon Collins, Cyrus Jones
Bart Starr Most Improved Player Award – Austin Shepherd, Arie Kouandjio, DeAndrew White, Denzel Devall, Geno Smith, Trey DePriest
Mal Moore Leadership Award –Anthony Steen, Ed Stinson
Sylvester Croom Commitment to Excellence Award –AJ McCarron, HaHa Clinton-Dix
Dwight Stephenson Lineman of the A-Day Game Award – Ryan Kelly
Dixie Howell Memorial Most Valuable Player of the A-Day Game Award – T.J. Yeldon
THE GOLDEN FLAKE A-DAY GAME BRINGS END TO SPRING PRACTICE
The University of Alabama football team and head coach Nick Saban wrapped up spring practice today with the 2013 Golden Flake A-Day Game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama opened spring practice on Friday, March 15, and held 14 practices through Thursday, April 18, leading up to today's A-Day game. The Crimson Tide also held two scrimmages here in Bryant-Denny Stadium this spring (April 6 and April 13) in preparation for today's game.
WALK OF FAME CEREMONY HONORED 2012 TEAM CAPTAINS
The annual Walk of Fame ceremony took place Saturday at 12:15 p.m. at Denny Chimes. The 2012 permanent team captains – offensive lineman Barrett Jones, defensive lineman Damion Square and offensive lineman Chance Warmack– had their hand prints and foot prints placed in cement at the base of Denny Chimes.
A-DAY GAME FORMAT
The format for the A-Day game was much like a normal game, with a few minor variations primarily regarding the game clock. The game consisted of four 15-minute quarters with a running clock. The clock stopped only following scoring plays, penalties, and changes of possession. Regular clock rules were used during the final minutes of the second quarter and the fourth quarter.
ALABAMA FOOTBALL POST-GAME QUOTES
2013 GOLDEN FLAKE A DAY SPRING GAME
#10 AJ McCarron, Quarterback
On the offensive line's performance:
"We did well. Things are simple [in the spring game]. We don't do any of our protections that we use in the game, so it's just ‘base' everything. It's almost really like one-on-one type of stuff. I felt like they did a great job up front controlling our big guys, but we're definitely going to have some work to do in the summer."
On the second team defense:
"They played really well, containing Blake [Sims] and making some plays in the back end. It helped us out and was a big part of our win."
On the other quarterbacks:
"From the little bit I saw, I felt like they did well. I wasn't really paying attention; when I get on the sidelines I zone out, so I can't really see too much. This is like playing in an all-star game. You don't get in a rhythm. It's not a real game, but it's fun to go out there and try to make plays happen, and do some trick plays. I felt like everybody had a good day."
#3 Vinnie Sunseri, Defensive Back
On today's spring game:
"Today was a good day. We competed a lot and made a lot of plays and got a lot to grow on – it was a good day."
On the play of the defensive backs in general today:
"That's what we told each other right before we broke into our separate teams, you know we might be on two different teams, but we are one unit. That's different this year – we are trying to make sure that we fly around to the ball, create turnovers and make it hard for the quarterback."
On spring practice as a whole:
"Exactly like Coach Saban said – we have a lot of guys that are giving a lot of effort, a lot of guys that improved, a lot of guys that are ready to step up in big roles but a couple of other guys are trying to learn or haven't done exactly what we needed to do right now. We are going to take May off, gather yourselves and get your body back underneath you and when we come back in the summer it's a whole new thing. We are making sure everyone is giving 100 percent every single day, and if you don't, we are going to let you know it."
HEAD COACH NICK SABAN
On the play of the quarterbacks (other than AJ McCarron)
"I would say that they all need to improve. Alec probably played as well as any of them. Blake, who's had a really good spring and made really good progress, if you look at the spring as a whole, sort of went a little bit rat trap out there today. Aborted his reads early, started scrambling, didn't do things like he's really improved in scrimmages as well as through the spring. I thought some of the young guys were a little bit antsy and had trouble managing the game, getting in the right formation, getting the call, which can be expected, but we certainly need for those guys to develop as well."
On whether Christion Jones will play offense or defense
"Well, I've answered this question numerous times before, and the answer is not going to change. Christion Jones has done a really good job on both sides of the ball. The object of what we did this spring is so that if we need a guy to play corner in the fall, he can play it. He'll know how to do it. We don't need to make that decision right now, and we're not going to make it. We don't need to make it. We're going to see if we can develop the players that we have so that he can be an explosive player on offense, which he is, which we'd like for him to do. I would like not to go into the season thinking that he's got to worry about preparing himself to play on both sides of the ball, but it will be nice to know that he knows how to play corner, and he learned how to play corner this spring. So if we needed him to play it, he could play it. But we're going to have to continue to get the young players that we have at that position, those coming in and those that are here to continue to develop at that position."
On the performance of the offensive line
"Well the offensive line has done a really good job all spring. I think Anthony Steen and Cyrus have done a really good job from a leadership standpoint. Ryan Kelley has played well all spring long. He got a lot of experience last year, which I think was helpful to him. Arie had a really good spring. Austin Shepherd had a really good spring. Leon Brown is guy that has ability that can give us depths, so can Kellen Williams. Those guys are still in competition for positions and rightfully so based on what they've been able to do. We need to continue to try to develop more players at that position but I'm pleased with the progress that that group has made."
On if he had any questions that were answered today
"The biggest thing I was concerned about was how the team would go out there and what would be their energy, their enthusiasm, and their attention to detail. So, mental intensity. I don't think that there were enough guys that answered that question in a positive way to my liking. But I'm never satisfied. I spoke to a bunch of alumni groups today, and they all want me to make a comparison between this year's team and last year's team and the team before that, and the team before that, and the team before that. And I wasn't happy with any of those teams at this point. If I was happy with them, we wouldn't have summer conditioning, we would not have fall camp, and we wouldn't have thirty practices to get ready for our first game against Virginia Tech. We'd just pack it in and say, ‘Alright, let's go to Atlanta and play the game.' We're not there yet. That's why we have all these practices, that's why we have all the work we need to do. I'm not disappointed where we are right now. I don't want anyone to think that. But I'm not satisfied with where we are either. But we have a high standard at what we want to do, and we need to realize that every team that we play is going to bring their A game, and that that game is circled on their calendar as to what they want to do when they come play Alabama."
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