Victory loves preparation.
I was thinking about some of the great plays of Alabama's 2011 season.
I wanted to point out a few that I thought were not only great plays, but plays that also served as straws that broke the camel's back. These are the plays after which you know the game has turned and the opponent has lost momentum.
Why is this a back-breaker, you say?
Because after Penn State scored their first three points of the game it was evident that the 'Bama defense wasn't going to allow much more scoring from the Penn State offense.
The only unknown was the Tide's offense.
With a strike to Williams, who was between two defenders in the end zone, the Penn State defense knew they hadn't even met the other side of the offense. When they did, Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy rushed for 196 yards.
With Alabama only up 17-7 at this point, Arkansas was still very much in the game.
No one doubted the ability of Tyler Wilson to complete passes to his top-flight receivers. However, no Alabama fan doubted the ability of Alabama's top-flight secondary and defensive line to squash the majority of Arkansas' passing attempts.
Nonetheless, this punt return for a touchdown in the third quarter did little to boost the confidence of the Arkansas bench. And the uphill battle for Petrino's team went from climbing the Rockies to scaling the Himalayas.
The key to this play was Nick Gentry. Alabama fans are going to miss Gentry because they know he was a player that loved his work. Sure, there will be others to fill his spot, but who can say that this kid didn't come to kick butt every game?
His pressure is the reason Upshaw takes this coconut in the chest and charges to freedom.
Yes, you can say the score was 10-10 at the time of the interception, but if you thought that the Gators were going to move the ball any more than this then you were highly mistaken.
Even if Brantley stayed in the game, UF's offensive line was having severe problems against the Tide.
This was actually the final straw that broke Auburn's back.
One could actually say that the first straw came when Alabama took the field. The next was the flea-flicker to Kenny Bell, and then A.J.'s back-across-the-field toss to a wide-open Smelley, and so forth.
However, with the score 27-14 with 14 minutes to play in the fourth quarter, the Auburn fans were looking in their rear-view mirror to 2010 at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Going into the fourth quarter in that game, 'Bama was leading 27-21. The Auburn fans felt that nothing was impossible looking back at that game.
It was not to be for them this year.
I love this play and hate it all at the same time.
Because C.J. gets injured during the ensuing tackle by Jordan Jefferson.
The Tide's defense had been putting the whipping on the Tigers the entire game. Never before in BCS history had an offense been dominated in such a way. LSU only crossed the 50-yard line one time, twice if you count the retreat, and that was in the fourth quarter.
This heads-up play is due in part to the inability of Jordan Jefferson to understand Alabama's defense as well as his ineptness at knowing what to do and when to do it after a play breaks down.
This play broke the Tigers' proverbial back. Though the interception didn't lead to points, it flipped the field once again in the Tide's favor and furthermore put more pressure on LSU's defense.
A defense can only stay on the field for so long, even one as deep as LSU's defense.