Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Alabama Holds Off Tennessee With Blocked Field Goal

By Ross Everett

Alabama didn't so much win their game against Tennessee on Saturday as much as they escaped. Despite playing one of their worst games of the year they managed to keep their undefeated season alive as nose tackle Terrance Cody blocked a potential game winning field goal on the last play of the game to preserve a 12-10 victory for the Crimson Tide. Alabama held a tenuous 12-3 lead late in the game before a Tennessee touchdown and recovered onside kick had them facing the specter of the defeat for the first time this season. Instead, Alabama improved to 8-0 while Tennessee slipped to 3-4.

College football pointspread players who took Tennessee as +14 road underdogs were in good shape throughout the contest and eventually cashed their tickets. The Vols improved to 4-3 against the spread while the Crimson Tide dropped to 5-3 versus the number.

After the game, Cody recounted his blocked field goal attempt that saved the day:

"I didn't really get off the ground. I just reached my arm up. That's how I got it. I knocked the blocker back. He was on his back."

First year Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin wasn't about to call the near miss loss a 'moral victory':

"It's a difficult loss to deal with. 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."

He explained the difficulty that placekicker Daniel Lincoln has getting elevation on his kicks since a quadriceps injury:

"He can't kick the ball up high. If you kick the ball up high it's never going to get there, so we can't allow the penetration up front."

Alabama coach Nick Saban views the game as a learning experience:

"You talk about how fragile a season is. 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."

Alabama has a week off before a tough game at home against LSU on November 7. They'll play at Mississippi State the following week before a game against FCS Chattanooga on November 21. Tennessee hosts South Carolina next Saturday and Memphis the following week.

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