BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Most days, Terrence Cody hears from at least one person about Oct. 24, 2009.
That day, Cody was the noseguard for the Alabama Crimson Tide, where he was responsible for blocking a field goal attempt by the Tennessee Volunteers in the final moments of the game, securing Alabama’s 12-10 win in the “Third Saturday in October” rivalry.
“Everybody always tells me their story of where they were and what they were doing when I blocked that kick, of how scared they were with that,” said Cody, better known by fans as “Mount Cody.” “I heard about people getting divorced after the game.”
For the most part, Cody likes hearing the stories. For everything since that day, including a Super Bowl win with the Baltimore Ravens, Cody knows he will always be associated with that game and that block.
“I feel the weight of that,” Cody said. “It was my one of my biggest plays and helped get us to where we needed to go.”
Cody, originally from Fort Myers, Florida, admitted that before arriving in Tuscaloosa to play for Nick Saban in 2008, he was unaware of the rivalry Alabama had with Tennessee. In fact, it wasn’t until he started watching videos of past Alabama-Tennessee games leading up to the game that he knew how much it meant to fans.
“I realized how good of a team they had,” he said. “They had a bunch of good players.”
Cody knew he had to be ready. He wasn’t fully healthy, going into the game following a sprained ACL. Nonetheless, he felt good about the team’s chances.
“We knew what we had to do,” he said. “We felt good going into the bye week.”
Alabama and Tennessee seemed to be evenly matched up during the 2009 season, with both teams never having much of a lead on the other throughout the game. However, what proved to be a crack in Tennessee’s offense was their kicking game, with Cody blocking one field goal attempt early on in the fourth quarter.
For Cody, this was the turning point.
“We had been practicing on that block basically the whole year, in case we needed it in a situation like that,” he said. “We didn’t think it was going to be that easy, but after we lined up on the right side of ball, it worked.”
However, Tennessee would set themselves up to nearly win the game in the final seconds of regulation, with the Vols setting up a field goal attempt from 44 yards out. For Alabama’s defense, the goal was simply to flood in as quickly as possible.
“I didn’t think I was going to get it coming into that play,” Cody said. “I wanted to give it the biggest push I could, just create havoc.”
With the ball snapped, Cody pushed forward, putting up his hands to block the kid. Then, he felt the ball hit his left hand and go to the side. From there, he heard the roar of Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama had won the game.
“I still think about that night,” he said. “That’s the loudest I’ve seen that stadium.”
Cody’s life immediately changed after that game. Already a fan favorite on the team, Cody was immediately recognized most places he went on campus at the University of Alabama, even in the classroom. He remembers how the Monday or Tuesday after the game, he walked in late to one class, where all the students immediately started clapping for him.
“My professor said ‘We just want to thank you for that game,’ and I said ‘You’re welcome,'” Cody said.
Then, his professor asked him something.
“He asked ‘Do you feel like having class today,'” Cody said. “I said ‘No,’ so they cancelled class for everyone that day.”
Cody, who would lead the Tide to another SEC Championship and national championship win, would receive many national accolades by the end of the season, including being named an All-American as well as a finalist for the Nagurski Trophy, the highest award for a college defensive player. Cody would later go on to the Baltimore Ravens, being part of their Super Bowl team in 2012.
Cody said that toward the end of his time with the Ravens, he knew his playing days were coming to an end.
“I had already been through different surgeries and I didn’t feel like I would be able to continue playing,” he said. My legs were almost gone.”
Life after football was especially difficult for Cody, including being let go by the Ravens in 2015 and later being convicted on misdemeanor animal neglect and drug charges. He said it took him a while to move past those days.
“That’s all I had,” he said. “That’s who I was from 2005 to 2015.”
However, Cody feels like he’s found a new calling these days, helping his former teammate Chavis Williams coach the defensive line at Dora High School. It’s a job he hopes he can continue to do.
“What I get out of it is sharing my knowledge with those guys,” he said. “I want to let them know it (college and NFL football) may look good on the outside, but there’s a lot of work that you have to put in.”
Cody has also been to more Alabama games the last few years. On Sept. 3, he and former teammate Roy Upchurch were welcomed at Bryant-Denny Stadium as honorary captains. He has even had the chance to share his famous blocked kick with his two daughters.
“My oldest has been able to see what type of player I was,” he said.
Cody said he appreciates all the love Alabama fans have shown him in the years since he helped Alabama beat Tennessee.
“It’s going to be with me forever,” he said.