3:30 PM ET, October 24, 2009
Bryant-Denny Stadium, TUSCALOOSA, AL
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Mount Cody kept Alabama (No. 2 BCS, No. 1 AP) 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 Alabama escaped with a 12-10 victory over rival Tennessee on Saturday.
• Alabama's Leigh Tiffin made four field goals and teammate Terrence Cody blocked two Tennessee field goals, including one as time expired.
• Cody blocked a Daniel Lincoln FG at the beginning of the fourth quarter and saved the game with the one as time expired. Lincoln also missed a FG at the end of the first half, with Tennessee down 9-3.
• Tiffin, who had two FGs last week and five the week before, leads the nation with 20 field goals made. He hit one in the first quarter, two in the second and a 49-yarder in the fourth.
• Mark Ingram had 99 rushing yards on 18 carries as Alabama improved to 8-0, winning its third straight against the Vols.
-- ESPN Stats & Information
He 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.
Forde: Sermon of The Mount
Terrence Cody is primed to be immortalized on Alabama's Mount Rushmore of heroic defensive performances after saving the Tide, writes Pat Forde. Story
Leigh Tiffin booted four field goals -- including a 50-yarder and a 49-yarder -- to provide all 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."
His team gets some time to absorb them with an open date before No. 9 LSU visits.
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 touchdown pass to Gerald Jones with 1:19 left. Then Tennessee's Denarius Moore recovered the onside kick at the Vols' 41 with no time outs remaining.
Crompton hit Jones on a 14-yarder before Tennessee was pushed back by a false start. On second down, the much-maligned Crompton hit Luke Stocker for a 23-yard gain to get the Vols into position for the potential game-winning kick.
But Cody and the Tide made a big push, and Alabama, second in the BCS standings, still controls its destiny in the national title race.
"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."
He said Lincoln hasn't regained his leg strength since a quadriceps injury.
"He can't kick the ball up high," Kiffin said. "If you kick the ball up high it's never going to get there, so we can't allow the penetration up front."
Tiffin's 49-yarder with 6:31 left had barely cleared the uprights for the 12-3 lead and, it turns out, the decisive points. That came after Cody batted Lincoln's 43-yard field goal attempt with his left hand.
"Neither was an exceptionally good kick, but they both went through and that's what counts," Tiffin said. "I don't know if I watched either one of them go through."
Tennessee would get new life when Ingram lost the first fumble of his career in 322 touches, giving the Vols the ball back at the Bama 43. All-American safety Eric Berry jarred the ball loose as Ingram was going down, and then recovered it.
Crompton overcame a sack on the first play and completed 4-of-4 passes for 42 yards and the TD to make it 12-10. Alabama had nearly made it three games in a row without allowing a touchdown.
The Volunteers now have tested two No. 1 teams. They lost 23-13 to then-No. 1 Florida earlier and Kiffin's team came even closer this time.
Tennessee was unranked the last time it beat an AP No. 1, topping Auburn 38-20 in 1985.
"On the sideline, we just knew we were going to win in those last 4 seconds," Stocker said. "I dont think there are enough words to explain how we feel. We are just speechless."
Alabama was held without an offensive touchdown for the first time since the Mississippi State game in 2007.
The Vols outgained Alabama 341-256 and Crompton outplayed the Tide's Greg McElroy. He was 21 of 36 passing for 265 yards with an early interception.
McElroy's 18 of 29 produced only 120 yards. Ingram, who emerged as a Heisman Trophy contender the past two weeks gained 99 yards on 18 carries and surpassed 1,000 yards on the season.
After Cody's first block, McElroy passed for a first down and ran for another to move the Tide in position for Tiffin's field goal that made it a two-score game.
After a roughing the punter on Tennessee, Alabama was in position to milk the clock and secure the victory. But the normally sure-handed Ingram gave the Vols another shot.
Tennessee got close, but Mount Cody was ultimately too big to kick over.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Alabama blocked Tennessee's 44-yard field goal attempt on the final play of the game with the Tide up 12-10.
Gameball goes to... Terrence Cody. The noseguard blocked his second field goal of the fourth quarter as the clock ran out.
Stat of the game... 0. The number of touchdowns Bama scored in the win, as all the Tide's points came off four field goals.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||6-15||5-14|
|4th Down Conversions||2-2||0-1|
|FG||01:22||Leigh Tiffin 38 Yd||0||3|
|FG||11:38||Daniel Lincoln 24 Yd||3||3|
|FG||07:54||Leigh Tiffin 50 Yd||3||6|
|FG||01:11||Leigh Tiffin 22 Yd||3||9|
|FG||06:31||Leigh Tiffin 49 Yd||3||12|
|TD||01:19||Gerald Jones 11 Yd Pass From Jonathan Crompton (Daniel Lincoln Kick)||10||12|