Learning the ABCs of Alabama Crimson Tide Football: "Z"

Christopher WoodleyContributor IIIFebruary 9, 2012

2 Oct 1999: Andrew Zow #5 of the Alabama Crimson Tide passes the ball during a game against the Florida Gators at Florida Field in Gainsville, Florida. The Crimson Tide defeated the Gators 41-40.
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

His last name is next-to-last in the list of all-time Alabama lettermen. However, former quarterback Andrew Zow is near the top of some of the Crimson Tide passing records.

A native of Lake Butler, Fla., Zow narrowed his college choices to two bitter rivals, Alabama and Auburn. When the Crimson Tide offered him the opportunity to play quarterback, Zow opted for Tuscaloosa.

After a 1997 redshirt season, Zow earned his first Alabama start on Oct. 10, 1998 against Mississippi. He finished 15-of-30 for 272 yards and passed and rushed for a touchdown as the Crimson Tide topped the Rebels, 20-17, in overtime. His 272 passing yards stood as a school record for most passing yards in a starting debut until the mark was broken by Brodie Croyle in 2002.

Later in his redshirt freshman season, Zow had the best game of his career.  Oct. 31, Zow finished with 361 yards passing and three touchdowns in the Crimson Tide's 30-20 win over Southern Mississippi. Wide receiver Michael Vaughn was the recipient of each touchdown pass, including a 62-yard scoring reception in the second quarter. This would be the first of three career games in which Zow would pass for three touchdowns.

With a 7-4 record, Zow led Alabama to Nashville to face 24th ranked Virginia Tech in the Music City Bowl. While Zow finished with 224 yards passing and a touchdown, he threw three interceptions and the Crimson Tide suffered a 38-7 loss. Zow finished the 7-5 campaign with 1,169 yards passing,  11 touchdowns and six interceptions.

As a sophomore in 1999, Zow continued to put up impressive numbers as Alabama won five of their first six games.

While the Crimson Tide suffered a shocking 29-28 loss to Louisiana Tech, Alabama rebounded to post a 40-39 win at Florida two weeks later. In the Florida game on Oct. 2, Zow was 28-of-40 for 336 yards. His record of 28 completions is currently tied for fourth for most pass completions in a game.

With a 9-2 record and champions of the SEC West, Alabama prepared for a rematch against Florida in the SEC Championship Game. Zow only threw for 134 yards and a touchdown, but the Crimson Tide defense stepped up with four interceptions as Alabama cruised to a 34-7 victory.

After winning the SEC Championship, Alabama traveled to Miami to face Michigan in the Orange Bowl. The game featured 35 combined third quarter points and overtime. After the Wolverines scored first in the extra session, Zow tossed a 21-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Carter to cut Michigan's lead to 35-34. However, Ryan Pflueger missed the subsequent extra point as Alabama's season ended in heartbreaking fashion. 

Zow passed for a career-high 1,799 yards and 12 touchdowns in 1999, however, his interception total also increased with nine. 

Prior to his junior season in 2000, Zow and sophomore Tyler Watts were involved in a quarterback battle. Zow eventually won the competition prior to the season opener at UCLA.

One of Zow's best games that season occurred against Mississippi on Oct. 14, 2000. His 12 consecutive completions in the 45-7 win over the Rebels stood as the school record until it was broken by John Parker Wilson in 2008.

It was one of the few standout performances in an otherwise dismal season. After the Mississippi win, Alabama dropped five straight, including an embarrassing 40-38 loss to Central Florida at home. Zow's statistics mirrored the Crimson Tide's struggles. He passed for 1,561 yards but totaled 14 interceptions compared to only six touchdowns. 

Under new head coach Dennis Franchione in 2001, Zow was not the regular starting quarterback. Sharing quarterbacking duties with Watts, Zow appeared in six games and finished the season with 654 yards passing, six touchdowns, and only two interceptions. In his final game in the Crimson and White, he left on a positive note.  

Trailing 13-7 to Iowa State in the 2001 Independence Bowl, Zow's 27-yard touchdown pass to Terry Jones, Jr. was the difference in Alabama's 14-13 win. Zow, who played most of the game with a bruised calf, only passed for 119 yards, but he also added an eight-yard touchdown run in the first half.

Zow finished with several passing records. However, most of them would eventually be broken by Croyle. Zow was the school record holder with 5,958 yards of total offense, 5,983 passing yards, 459 pass completions, and 35 touchdowns. Croyle surpassed each record by the time he graduated in 2005. While Zow's 39 career touchdowns—35 passing, 4 rushing—is still 10th best in school history, he is still currently tied with Scott Hunter with a school record 32 career interceptions.

Zow won the Ozzie Newsome Most Improved Freshman Award in 1998 and the 2001 Pat Trammell Award. He was also a 2001 Academic All-SEC recipient.

Zow graduated from Alabama in 2001 with a degree in Sports Fitness Management. In 2003, Zow founded Andrew Zow & Associates in Birmingham, Ala. The business is associated with manufacturers and suppliers in the utility and automotive industries. He has also coached high school football.

Zow's only professional experience was with the Arena Football League's Birmingham Steeldogs. In his first start in 2005, he was 20-of-36 for 273 yards, three passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown. However, one week later Zow suffered a season-ending leg injury. 


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