Perhaps the 2011 game against LSU was foreshadowing.
In that "Game of the Century," Alabama kicker Cade Foster went 1-4 on his field goal attempts and LSU won the game 9-6. Though as you may remember, Alabama got its revenge in the National Championship.
There likely won't be such a national title opportunity this year after Foster's struggles against Auburn on Saturday in the Tide's 34-28 Iron Bowl loss. The senior kicker was 0-2 and never got the opportunity to attempt a fourth field goal, one that could have given Alabama a 10 point lead with 5:34 to go in the fourth quarter.
After Foster missed wide left once on a slight pull, and once on what can be described as nothing but a pull hook, coach Nick Saban decided to go for it on fourth and one from the Auburn 13. It would have been a 30 yard field goal. Running back TJ Yeldon was stopped on the conversion attempt.
"We missed a couple field goals," Saban said. "We had fourth down and less than a yard. I don't ever like to say I don't have confidence in our players, but I thought the percentages were that we'd make the first down and we've been a very good short yardage team all year. It didn't work out that way, so myself and a lot of other people will probably say that we should have kicked the field goal there but we had a field goal from that same spot that we missed. So you can't take it for granted that we would have made it."
When Alabama's next drive stalled on fourth and 12, Saban had but no choice to send in Foster for a 44-yard attempt. The stakes were the same. The kick was blocked.
And then there was that fateful try with one second left that fell into the arms of Chris Davis. But that was by freshman Adam Griffith, not Foster.
"Griff makes them from 60 in practice," Saban said. So there was a shot. We had the wind behind us, we had the wind in the fourth quarter. He didn't hit it great but we still should have covered it. The game shouldn't have ended that way."
Let's see who else did well and not-so-well this weekend:
Utah State: The Aggies had to work their way into the Mountain West and now they find themselves at the top of the league. With Saturday’s 35-7 win against Wyoming, the Aggies, who are in their first year in the Mountain West, won the conference’s Mountain Division and secured a date with Fresno State in the inaugural conference title game. What’s most impressive about Utah State’s run is that it was done without star quarterback Chuckie Keeton, who suffered a season-ending injury early in the year. But some stumbles by Boise State opened the door for the Aggies.
Duke: Duke’s miracle season just keeps getting better. The Blue Devils rallied against North Carolina, grabbed a game-ending interception, and secured an ACC Coastal title and a spot in the ACC title game. The win gave the Blue Devils their 10th victory for the first time in school history. In the postgame press conference, Duke coach David Cutcliffe said he wanted to cry. Let’s hope Duke savors this moment because Florida State is going to make it very tough to win No. 11.
Jameis Winston: With his three touchdowns passes in Saturday’s dominating victory over Florida, Winston set the single-season record for touchdown passes in a season, passing Danny Kanell and Chris Weinke with 35 on the year. Winston hooked up with wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin twice in the first half en route to a 327-yard passing performance.
David Fales: The San Jose State senior signal caller put on a show Friday afternoon against formerly unbeaten Fresno State. Fales completed 37-of-45 passes for a school-record 547 yards and six touchdowns in a 62-52 victory to clinch bowl eligibility for the Spartans. Fales showcased impressive accuracy all game long, starting off the game with 13 consecutive completions for SJSU’s first win over a ranked opponent since 2000
Southern Miss: The Eagles won a game. We repeat, the Eagles won a game. The 23-game losing streak is over, and dang, it happened in impressive fashion.
Southern Miss trailed UAB 21-13 at the half but reeled off 35 unanswered points to take a 48-21 lead and an eventual 62-27 win. Quarterback Nick Mullens finished 23-38 for 351 yards and five touchdowns. And now our futile team of the moment is Miami (OH). The RedHawks have lost 16 straight.
Bonus Winner: Texas Tech's Ryan Erxleben ran for a 51-yard touchdown on a fake punt against Texas on Thursday night. Who doesn't love a good punter touchdown?
Andre Williams: College football fans hardly had time to get to know Andre Williams before he stepped back out of the spotlight. Williams, the nation’s leading rusher who emerged as a Heisman candidate last week, was injured during the third quarter of Boston College’s loss to Syracuse. He was having a terrible game with just 29 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. Williams has 2,073 yards this season and came into the game averaging 299 yards in his past three contests, but he really needed to capitalize on his newfound popularity to gain Heisman votes.
Jen Bielema: The wife of Arkansas coach Bret Bielema has been a curse to the Razorbacks. Ever since she mocked Wisconsin’s loss to Arizona State by tweeting out “#karma” the Razorbacks have suffered. Friday’s 31-27 loss to LSU – a game in which Arkansas led late – extended the Razorbacks’ losing streak to a school-record nine games and made them winless in SEC play for the first time since joining the league in 1992. Perhaps the karma tweet was in reference to her husband, who unceremoniously left Wisconsin last year.
USC: It's a good thing Ed Orgeron built up a lot of positivity in his tenure as USC's interim coach, because that loss to UCLA Saturday night was ugly. In fact, the 35-14 loss was USC’s worst to the Bruins since 1970.
UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley threw for 208 yards and two touchdowns for the Bruins’ first win at the Coliseum since 1997.
Will this impact Orgeron’s status? The affable coach has been one of the feel-good stories of the college football season. However, it’s hard not to think that the loss has some impact on his chances. Though by the same token, those chances might have been helped when Kevin Sumlin, often mentioned as a candidate for the job, agreed to a contract extension with Texas A&M on Saturday.
East Carolina: A week after claiming the state of North Carolina with a billboard after beating NC State, maybe East Carolina was feeling a little overconfident coming into a crucial Conference USA East contest with Marshall.
The winner of the game took the division and the Thundering Herd trampled ECU by storming out to an early 24-0 lead and never looked back in a 59-28 win. bMarshall’s Essray Taliaferro torched the ECU defense for 161 rushing yards on 6.2 yards per carry while quarterback Rakeem Cato threw for two scores and rushed for two more. ECU quarterback Shane Carden tossed three interceptions. He had only thrown seven the entire year.
Dave Doeren: Wonder if the North Carolina State coach is thinking he should have stayed at Northern Illinois for another year? Even if it's just a smidge? We wouldn't blame him.
While the Huskies are headed to a second straight BCS bowl with a win in the MAC title game Friday night, Doeren's Wolfpack capped an 0-8 ACC season with a loss to Maryland on Saturday. NC State finished 3-9 on the year, and if you take the total of its four leading rushers, it wouldn't eclipse NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch's total this year.
Sam Cooper contributed to this post
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