AP photo by Butch Dill|
Matt Caddell hauls in the winning touchdown with eight seconds to play for Alabama in the Tide’s 41-38 win over No. 16 Arkansas in Tuscaloosa on Saturday night.
caps Alabama comeback
Saban says team made people in state proud
By Josh Cooper
TUSCALOOSA — No game-defining missed field goals. No “should we go for it?” moments. No “deer in the headlights” looks coming from the sidelines.
After fourth-quarter rallies became a foreign concept in recent years for Alabama football, the Crimson Tide overcame a seven-point deficit with 8:08 remaining to defeat 16th-ranked Arkansas 41-38 on Saturday.
With a sellout crowd of 92,138 at Bryant-Denny Stadium howling, Tide receiver Matt Caddell out-leaped Arkansas cornerback Jamar Love to catch the game-winning touchdown with eight seconds left.
Alabama never had a come-from-behind victory in four years under former head coach Mike Shula, but it took first-year Tide coach Nick Saban only three games to accomplish that feat.
“We always talk about playing 60 minutes in a game, and when we score a touchdown with eight seconds left to win a game, it’s an easy way to reinforce a point,” Saban said. “It was a tremendous victory for The University of Alabama, for our players and for our fans.”
Alabama (3-0, 2-0 SEC) got the ball at its own 27-yard line with 2:13 to play and drove 73 yards for the winning points.
John Parker Wilson hit Caddell for 19 yards. The pair then hooked up for two 9-yarders.
A pair of interference penalties gave Alabama first down at the Arkansas 13, and Wilson found Keith Brown for 9 yards. Two plays later, Wilson lofted a pass to Caddell in the left side of the end zone for the winning score. Wilson completed 24 of 45 passes for a career-high 327 yards and four touchdowns.
AP photo by Butch Dill|
Alabama wide receiver Keith Brown (81) stretches for extra yardage while being tackled by Arkansas defender Jamar Love in the second half of Alabama’s 41-38 win Saturday night in Tuscaloosa.
“I was really just focusing on making that catch,” Caddell said. “I knew where I had to get it. John Parker had faith in me and threw the ball where I could make a play on it.”
For a point in the second half, it appeared Alabama wouldn’t emerge with the win.
The Crimson Tide saw two 21-point leads disappear, including a 21-0 advantage in the first quarter that was sliced to 21-10 by halftime.
Alabama rebuilt its lead to 31-10, but by the eight-minute mark of the fourth quarter, Arkansas had a 38-31 advantage. The Razorbacks’ Casey Dick completed a 7-yard touchdown pass to fullback Peyton Hillis for the go-ahead points.
But Alabama drove for a 42-yard field goal by Leigh Tiffin to cut the lead to 38-34. Then after forcing Arkansas to punt, Alabama drove for the winning points.
“Just sometimes, you have a feeling, and I had a feeling we were going to win this game,” Tide cornerback Simeon Castille said. “I didn’t know how, but I knew somebody was going to do something for us to win this game.”
That feeling was tested earlier when Alabama was up 31-10.
That’s when the Razorbacks started their rally. First, Dick found Andrew Davie for a 2-yard pass in the end zone to bring the score to 31-17.
Then there were the two turnovers that helped Arkansas tie the game.
Near the end of the third quarter, Wilson fumbled a snap and seven plays and 42 yards later, Darren McFadden bulled his way into the end zone from a yard out.
Then after intercepting a Wilson pass in Alabama territory, Arkansas went 26 yards to score. It was culminated with McFadden on a keeper while playing quarterback to bring the game even at 31. McFadden had 195 yards rushing on 33 carries and was not tackled for negative yards.
“I just felt like we played well enough to win it,” Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said.
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