Alabama seniors take field for final home game
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP)
Those two and six other senior starters - and possibly a few underclassmen - will play their final game at Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday against Chattanooga. It might be the only piece of drama in a game that amounts to a tuneup for No. 6 Auburn and an Iron Bowl that will decide the Southeastern Conference Western Division title.
The seniors will be honored in a pre-game ceremony for the Tide (10-0) before facing the FCS Mocs (8-3).
''I hope our fans certainly have appreciation for what this senior group has done in terms of what they accomplished as football players,'' Alabama coach Nick Saban said. ''But also what they've done as representatives and ambassadors for the university and the state of Alabama. I'm very proud of that part of what they've done, as well as what they've been able to accomplish on the field and how they contributed to the success of the program.
''I hope a lot of people come out early and actually show their appreciation for what they've done.''
McCarron is among seven Tide seniors who are in their fifth year and have been part of three national championship teams with a shot at No. 4.
''That's real special,'' wide receiver Kenny Bell said. ''I'm fixing to be part of a dynasty.''
''It still hasn't sunk in all the way,'' said Mosley, named a finalist Thursday for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and the Lombardi Award. ''Still looking forward to these next couple of games coming up so hopefully we prepare the right way and do the right thing so we have a few more games to go.''
Other key players like left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio and safety HaHa Clinton-Dix are juniors who are highly rated NFL prospects.
McCarron is 35-2 as a starter, tying Jay Barker for most wins among Tide starting quarterbacks. He and Mosley also is still in the running for several national awards.
Steen said it didn't hit him that this was his last game at Bryant-Denny until McCarron brought it up before practice early this week.
''I've been just trying to focus on the game,'' he said. ''I know it'll probably be emotional for my parents, especially my mom. She'll probably cry, knowing her. Hopefully, we'll just go out there and have a good game.''
Chattanooga coach Russ Huesman is expecting one from a program and head coach he admires.
''It's Alabama, they're getting everybody's best shot,'' Huesman said. ''To keep his players focused week in and week out, I think is the most remarkable coaching job probably in any sport at any level. It's amazing.''
Here are five things to watch in this game:
YELDON & VOGLER: Tailback T.J. Yeldon and tight end Brian Vogler are both nursing sprained ankles. Saban said their status for this game could be game-time decisions.
BAMA'S BACKUPS: It seems certain that McCarron and other Tide stars will spend a good chunk of this game as spectators. That's been a recurring theme in a season full of blowouts, but it does build experience for youngsters like tailback Derrick Henry, quarterback Blake Sims and linebacker Reuben Foster.
TOP DEFENSES: On a more level playing field, both defenses have been very good. Alabama leads the SEC in scoring defense, total defense and run defense. Chattanooga tops the SoCon in total, scoring and pass defense.
JACOB HUESMAN'S HEALTH: The Mocs' dual-threat quarterback didn't practice early in the week with a knee injury, but is expected to play. His 25 total touchdowns rushing and passing leads the SoCon.
PLAYOFF HOPES: Chattanooga must wait a couple of hours after the game to learn whether it will get an automatic bid to the FCS playoffs. That comes if Elon upsets Samford. The Mocs have only been to the FCS playoffs once, in 1984.