Shopping and Bama football
Published 12:37 am Monday, November 30, 2009
By By Adam Prestridge
The day after Thanksgiving has typically been one of the busiest for Christmas shopping across the country.
Shoppers begin cranking mini vans and SUVs as early as 11 p.m. on Turkey Day to be one of the first in line at retail stores of all types that have lowered prices on some of the most popular items in hopes of drawing in huge crowds. For most “big box” retailers, the day makes or breaks the budget for the year.
This year, the craze for great holiday deals was just as wild as in years past, but in Alabama, shoppers emptied their buggies early, headed to checkout counters and hurried back home for some holiday action on the gridiron.
Best known as “Black Friday,” the State of Alabama switched to crimson and white, and orange and blue, depending on your loyalty, as Iron Bowl 74 was played on The Plains. The annual rivalry was played on Friday this year, which put many fans in predicaments trying to make it back in time to see kickoff.
My family typically joins in on the madness on “Black Friday,” but passed it up this year, which proved to be a wise decision. Despite a lackluster economy, retailers were bombarded once again with shoppers looking for great deals. My wife and I did not want to risk missing kickoff, so we decided that none of the deals were ones we wanted to take advantage of or that could not wait.
Fans of No. 2 Alabama were shocked as Auburn made a statement to open the game as they held the Tide to a punt on the opening drive of the game. The Tigers then took it to the highly-ranked visitors when they converted on a 67-yard touchdown run early in the contest. The trickery of a reverse caught the visitors off guard.
Bama fans were surprised when Gene Chizik opted to attempt an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff. The Tigers recovered the stunned Tide special teams and once again converted on a short pass to cap off a sustained drive. The touchdown gave the home team a 14-0 lead.
Bama was able to tie the game up with a rushing and passing touchdown to tie the game at 14 at halftime.
The second half proved to be a defensive struggle following a long passing TD for the Tigers to give them the lead early in the third quarter. Defenses for both teams flexed their muscles as Auburn held Alabama to two field goals and Auburn was held scoreless.
What is already being dubbed as “The Drive,” Alabama’s offense led by quarterback Greg McElroy and star receiver Julio Jones orchestrated a 15-play drive that covered 79 yards and ate up 7:03 to score with just over a minute left to play. The drive was capped off by a 4-yard pass to Roy Upchurch. The score proved to be enough as Bama knocked down a Hail Mary in the end zone to hang on to a 26-21 victory.
Following the game, Tide head coach Nick Saban said he “expected a tough game, and got a tough game.”
With the win, the 2009 Bama team becomes the first team in 34 years to win 11 games in the regular season two seasons in a row.
Adam Prestridge is publisher of The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at 368-2123.