Brew: McCarron defines leader
- Nov. 5, 2012
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Through 58 minutes in Saturday’s mega-matchup between Louisiana State and Alabama, Crimson Tide quarterback AJ McCarron had only totaled 93 passing yards.
But with his senior season and a possible national championship on the line in Baton Rouge, McCarron showed exactly what it takes to be a champion.
Alabama fans had watched an 11-point first half lead evaporate as LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger threw for the most yards on the vaunted Alabama defense of any team this season. The energy grew in Tiger Stadium and McCarron was handed the ball with 1:34 remaining in the game, with his Crimson Tide down 17-14.
McCarron knew what was at stake. He had promised earlier in the year that he wouldn’t let his team lose to LSU this season; with the winner likely to represent the division in the SEC Championship Game. With a modest schedule for the remainder of the year, Alabama was facing its last major hurdle, an extremely talented LSU defense and more than 92,000 screaming fans hoping to see them fail.
AJ McCarron stepped up to the plate. And boy did he deliver.
McCarron hit wide receiver Kevin Norwood on three consecutive plays, each for first downs, to put Alabama in range for a game tying field goal.
But AJ McCarron doesn’t settle for anything less than the best, and this season was no exception. He has yet to throw an interception this year, and is expertly managing what could be the most talented team in football. He is 19-1 as a starter, and also has a BCS National Championship under his belt.
So with Alabama already in field goal range, McCarron went for more. He dropped back, drew the defense and dumped the ball off to running back T.J. Yeldon on a screen pass. Yeldon scampered 28 yards for a touchdown putting Alabama ahead 21-17 with just 51 seconds remaining.
McCarron was elated with emotion. He had willed his team down the field to score the most important touchdown of the season. As he sat on the bench waiting for his defense to eventually shutdown the LSU offense and secure the win, he was in tears of emotion. A warrior that had left it all on the field, expending every ounce of his mental, physical and emotional energy for his teammates. And after a heartfelt interview following the game, he ran straight to his parents in the stands and engulfed them with a championship caliber hug.
McCarron is a winner, and he does everything his team asks him to do to accomplish that. And when the game is on the line, he does even more. Not because he is the biggest or the strongest, but because he puts everything he has into the game.
“I just love moments like that. I like having the ball in pressure situations. When you’ve got teammates like I have, it makes your job easy.”