Blocked field goal saves No. 1 Alabama
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Mount Cody kept No. 1 Alabama perfect with a pair of super-sized plays.
Terrence Cody, the Crimson Tide’s 350-pound nose guard, blocked a 44-yard field-goal attempt on the final play – his second block of the fourth quarter – and ’Bama escaped with a 12-10 victory over rival Tennessee on Saturday.
Cody muscled the Tide to another win, with pure brute force.
“I didn’t really get off the ground,” Cody said. “I just reached my arm up. That’s how I got it. I knocked (the blocker) back. He was on his back.”
Alabama (8-0, 5-0 Southeastern Conference) was about to have its bid for perfection knocked down, too.
Then Cody broke through the line on the last play and practically ran into Daniel Lincoln’s low kick. Relieved Alabama fans chanted “Cody!” as the All-American ambled toward the locker room.
Leigh Tiffin booted four field goals – including a 50-yarder and a 49-yarder – to provide all of Alabama’s points and the Tide survived Mark Ingram’s first college fumble and some problems for the nation’s top defense. The last few minutes were all about survival – much like in then-No. 1 Florida’s squeaker over Arkansas last week
“You talk about how fragile a season is,” Tide coach Nick Saban said. “You’re controlling a game, even though you may say it’s winning ugly. We’re still ahead 12-3 and totally controlling the game with 3 minutes, 29 seconds and the ball. That’s how fragile a season can be. You make one mistake and you have to go overcome it. I hope that there’s a lot of lessons our team can learn from this.”
Tennessee (3-4, 1-3) kept alive its hopes for coach Lane Kiffin’s first huge victory with Eric Berry’s fumble recovery and Jonathan Crompton’s 11-yard TD pass to Gerald Jones with 1:19 left. Then Tennessee’s Denarius Moore recovered the onside kick at the Vols’ 41 with no timeouts left.
Crompton hit Jones on a 14-yarder before Tennessee was pushed back by a false start. On second down, Crompton hit Luke Stocker for a 23-yard gain to get the Vols into position for the potential winning kick.
“It’s a difficult loss to deal with,” Kiffin said. “You come into a hostile environment and play the No. 1 team in the country, as I said before by far the No. 1 team in the country and the best-coached team around. You come in here and outgain them by (nearly) 100 yards and miss three field goals. … I don’t believe in moral victories. We should have won that game.”