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Alabama Football: Top 5 best games of 2014

It wasn’t easy, but Alabama fans grew with its team in 2014. The Crimson Tide accomplished a lot, and head coach Nick Saban guided the group to a College Football Playoff appearance. Senior quarterback Blake Sims proved he could lead the team.

He totaled 3,487 yards, 35 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Amari Cooper had a record-setting season, accounting for 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns on 124 catches. Running backs T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry both neared 1,000 yards rushing. Both collected 11 touchdowns.

Alabama’s 2014 team was thought to lose three or more games. It managed to secure a 10+ win season and a Southeastern Conference title. Here are the top five best games from 2014.

 

5. #7 Alabama vs. #21 Texas A&M

  • Date: Oct. 18, 2014
  • Head coach: Nick Saban vs. Kevin Sumlin
  • Venue: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
  • Final Score: Alabama 59, Texas A&M 0

Summary: College Football analysts thought Texas A&M’s offense would challenge Alabama. Sophomore quarterback Kenny Hill was a non-factor against Alabama’s defense. Hill was sacked five times and tossed a costly interception. The Aggies’ ground game never got going. It accounted for 31 yards on 24 carries, averaging 1.3 yards per carry.

Blake Sims put up huge numbers in his second SEC home game as a starting quarterback. He threw for 268 yards and totaled four touchdowns (one rushing). T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry gashed Texas A&M’s run defense. Yeldon recorded 114 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Henry totaled 70 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. Amari Cooper led Alabama’s receiving corps with eight catches for 140 yards and a touchdown. Alabama outgained TAMU, 602-172.

 

4. #1 Mississippi State vs. #5 Alabama

  • Date: Nov. 15, 2014
  • Head coach: Nick Saban vs. Dan Mullen
  • Venue: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
  • Final Score: Alabama 25, Miss. State 20

Summary: Bryant-Denny Stadium was boisterous. Alabama’s Million Dollar Band welcomed Mississippi State to Tuscaloosa with the soothing sounds of C-Murder. Alabama’s linebacker Trey DePriest set the tone early by forcing a safety. Dak Prescott totaled 372 yards (290 passing, 82 rushing) and two touchdowns, but Alabama’s secondary forced three interceptions. Bulldogs’ running back Josh Robinson was held to 37 yards on 12 carries. De’Runnya Wilson caught eight passes for 91 yards.

Blake Sims’s statistics against Mississippi State equaled the ones he had against Ole Miss. Winning was the lone difference. Sims had 211 passing yards and a touchdown. T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry each had one rushing touchdown. Amari Cooper collected eight passes for 88 yards and a touchdown. Freshman punter JK Scott pinned Mississippi State inside its 20-yard line five times.

 

3. #1 Alabama vs. #16 Missouri

  • Date: Dec. 6, 2014
  • Head coach: Nick Saban vs. Gary Pinkel
  • Venue: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Ga.
  • Final Score: Alabama 42, Missouri 13

Summary: Blake Sims’s daughter, Kyla Sims, won the hearts of many in Alabama’s SEC title game matchup against Missouri. Blake Sims had a record-setting day. He completed 85.2 percent of his passes (23/27) for 262 yards and two touchdowns. Sims’s 85.2 percent completion rating set an SEC Championship Game record. T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry both accounted for two rushing touchdowns apiece. Henry rushed for 141 yards on 20 carries. DeAndrew White stole the show for Alabama’s receiving corps. He brought in four passes for 101 yards and a touchdown. Amari Cooper’s 12 receptions set an SEC title game record. Christion Jones chimed in with three catches for 40 yards and a touchdown.

Improvisation was Missouri’s best form of offense. Maty Mauk extended plays with his feet, and trusted his receivers to make receptions. Missouri’s run game faltered. It netted 41 yards on 1.8 yards per carry. Bud Sasser, Jimmie Hunt and Darius White all assisted Mauk. Hunt led the trio with six catches for 169 yards. Sasser caught five passes for 31 yards and a touchdown. Alabama converted 9 of 13 third downs (69.2 percent). It outgained Missouri, 504-313.

 

2. #1 Alabama vs. #14 Auburn

  • Date: Nov. 29, 2014
  • Head coach: Nick Saban vs. Gus Malzahn
  • Venue: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
  • Final Score: Alabama 55, Auburn 44

Summary: Fans on both sides of the rivalry were on the edge of their seats. It combined for the most points in series history. Blake Sims had a terrible start, but engineered a finish for the ages. He overcame three interceptions, and guided Alabama to victory. Sims registered four touchdowns in the second half, including two touchdown passes to Amari Cooper. T.J. Yeldon had the hot hand for much of the game. He had 127 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries. Derrick Henry did damage in the second half, posting 72 yards and a touchdown on 14.4 yards per carry. Cooper took Auburn’s secondary to school. He put in 13 receptions for 224 yards and three touchdowns. DeAndrew White chimed in 19 receiving yards and a touchdown.

Auburn’s quarterback Nick Marshall displayed a valiant effort. He tossed for 456 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Alabama’s defense held Cameron Artis-Payne to 77 rushing yards. D’haquille Williams, Sammie Coates and Quan Bray all performed well against Alabama’s secondary. Williams led the group in receptions (7). Coates totaled 226 yards and two touchdowns. Fifth-year safety Nick Perry saved the day for Alabama with a fourth quarter interception.

 

1. #5 Alabama vs. #16 LSU

  • Date: Nov. 8, 2014
  • Head coach: Nick Saban vs. Les Miles
  • Venue: Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, La.
  • Final Score: Alabama 20, LSU 13 (OT)

Summary: Alabama’s playoff push started at Tiger Stadium. Blake Sims didn’t have his best game, but it didn’t matter. He completed 20 of 45 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns. Sims led Alabama on a 9-play, 55-yard drive in the fourth quarter with 50 seconds left to tie the game at 13. He completed passes to O.J. Howard, DeAndrew White and Christion Jones on the drive. Placekicker Adam Griffith nailed a 27-yard field goal to send the game into overtime. Sims returned in the overtime period with a game-winning, 6-yard touchdown pass to White. He caught three passes for 36 yards. Jones had three receptions for 38 yards. Amari Cooper led the group with eight catches for 83 yards and a touchdown.

It was a rough outing for LSU’s quarterback, Anthony Jennings. He mustered 76 passing yards, one touchdown and an interception. True freshman Leonard Fournette totaled 79 rushing yards on 3.8 yards per carry. Malachi Dupre caught Jennings’s lone touchdown pass, a 14-yard strike in the first quarter. Alabama outgained LSU, 315-259.

Games that missed the cut: Florida, Arkansas, Tennessee, West Virginia

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