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Alabama Football, Top 10 plays from the 2014 season

Alabama’s head coach Nick Saban wants to move forward, but there is nothing wrong with reliving the excitement from last season. Blake Sims had a stellar year, and Amari Cooper proved to be an exceptional talent. Offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin opened up the scheme, and Alabama’s defense excelled against the run for much of 2014.

Yours truly of Touchdown Alabama Magazine now counts down the top 10 best plays from last season for Alabama.

 

10. Cyrus Jones: He strips, scoops and scores

  • Game: Alabama vs. Ole Miss
  • Date: Oct. 4, 2014
  • Venue: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, Miss.
Cyrus Jones, Alabama vs. Ole Miss

Cyrus Jones, Alabama vs. Ole Miss

Summary: Cyrus Jones totaled three tackles and two pass breakups against Ole Miss, but he made a play in the second quarter that gave Alabama momentum going into halftime. The Crimson Tide led 7-3, when Jones stripped the ball away from Rebels’ running back I’Tavius Mathers. He then recovers the ball, and returns it for a 13-yard touchdown. Alabama would go on to lose the game 23-17, but Jones’s contribution gave it a 14-3 lead at halftime on the road.

 

9. Nick on Nick crime: Nick Perry picks off Nick Marshall

  • Game: Alabama vs. Auburn
  • Date: Nov. 29, 2014
  • Venue: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Nick Perry, Alabama vs. Auburn

Nick Perry, Alabama vs. Auburn

Summary: Free safety Nick Perry emerged during the latter part of the 2014 season. He was clutch against Auburn, accounting for 13 tackles and a pass breakup. With the Crimson Tide trailing 36-34, Perry stepped up and intercepted a pass off Auburn’s quarterback Nick Marshall in the third quarter. Perry funneled the ball to the middle of the field, and created a crucial takeaway. His interception continued Alabama’s comeback as it outscored Auburn 34-18 in the second half. The Crimson Tide went on to defeat the Tigers 55-44 in the 79th Iron Bowl.

 

8. Blake Sims vs. Shane Ray- Sims takes a shot, yet delivers a score

  • Game: Alabama vs. Missouri
  • Date: Dec. 6, 2014
  • Venue: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Ga.

Summary: Alabama’s running back T.J. Yeldon opened the 2014 Southeastern Conference Championship Game with a 1-yard touchdown run, but it was the toughness of quarterback Blake Sims that took over in the second quarter. Wide receiver DeAndrew White ran a perfect post pattern to the inside. He was able to create separation, and offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin noticed immediately. Sims stepped and delivered a strike to White.

Missouri’s defensive end Shane Ray planted Sims as he released the ball, but the pass made it to White for a 58-yard touchdown. Sims would go on to complete 85.2 percent of his passes, and deliver Alabama to a 32-13 victory over Missouri in the SEC Championship Game.

 

7. Trey DePriest: Tone-setting safety

  • Game: Alabama vs. Mississippi State
  • Date: Nov. 15, 2014
  • Venue: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Summary: Could Alabama’s defense shut down Dak Prescott? This was the question leading into the Crimson Tide’s matchup against Mississippi State last season. Senior inside linebacker Trey DePriest answered the question, during the Bulldogs’ second possession of the game. Mississippi State had the ball inside its own 4-yard line.

DePriest read the play, shot the gap, and wrapped up running back Josh Robinson in the end zone for a safety. The play excited Alabama fans, and it ignited a fire on the sidelines. DePriest’s play would lead to Alabama’s secondary forcing three interceptions off Prescott. The Crimson Tide defeated the Bulldogs 25-20.

 

6. Reggie Ragland intercepts Kenny Hill, Alabama blanks Texas A&M

  • Game: Alabama vs. Texas A&M
  • Date: Oct. 18, 2014
  • Venue: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Summary: College football analysts thought that Texas A&M’s quarterback Kenny Hill would give Alabama’s defense problems. The Crimson Tide sacked Hill five times. Senior ILB Reggie Ragland accounted for five tackles and a half sack. His third quarter interception secured Alabama’s shutout victory. Hill threw a pass over the middle, but Ragland deflected the ball in the air and came down with it himself. The Crimson Tide defeated Texas A&M 59-0.

 

5. Amari Cooper–“The Catch”

  • Game: Alabama vs. Mississippi State
  • Date: Nov. 15, 2014
  • Venue: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Ala.

 

Amari Cooper, Alabama vs. Mississippi State

Amari Cooper, Alabama vs. Mississippi State

Summary: Amari Cooper had some Heisman-like moments in 2014, but none bigger than his reception at Bryant-Denny Stadium against Mississippi State. Alabama was leading 12-0 in the second quarter, when offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin decided to dial up a deep ball. Blake Sims put the ball in the air, and Cooper outleaped two defenders to bring it in.

It was a 50-yard hook up between Sims and Cooper, and it resulted with Alabama having the ball inside the 1-yard line. Running back Derrick Henry would cap off the drive with a touchdown, but Cooper made a tremendous play by high pointing the ball and making a reception.

 

4. Leonard Fournette meets Reuben Foster: The Collision

  • Game: Alabama vs. LSU
  • Date: Nov. 8, 2014
  • Venue: Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, La.

Summary: Reuben Foster didn’t play much in 2014, but LSU’s freshman running back Leonard Fournette wouldn’t believe it. Blake Sims guided Alabama’s offense on a 9-play, 55-yard drive with 50 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 13. In the ensuing kickoff, Foster meets head-to-head with Fournette. He leaned in with his head, and knocked Fournette backwards. Alabama was excited, and LSU was shocked. Foster’s play gave the Crimson Tide momentum.

 

3. Goodbye Drake: 87-yard touchdown reception

  • Game: Alabama vs.Florida
  • Date: Sept. 20, 2014
  • Venue: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Ala.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWq4gW-NzT8

Summary: Alabama’s Kenyan Drake was leading the team in touchdowns (6), prior to his injury. In its matchup against Florida, Kiffin decides to toy with the Gators’ defense by placing Drake in the slot. He dials up a slant “n” go route for Drake, while having Amari Cooper and DeAndrew White run post patterns. The scheme has Drake matchup up against a linebacker.

He creates separation, and beats the linebacker at the line of scrimmage. Sims recognizes Drake and fires a dart down field. Drake runs under it and accelerates for an 87-yard touchdown on Alabama’s first offensive possession of the game.

 

2. Landon Collins saves the day: INT vs. Arkansas 

  • Game: Alabama vs. Arkansas
  • Date: Oct. 11, 2014
  • Venue: Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, Ark.

Summary: Landon Collins saved Alabama from losing consecutive conference games last season. It was in a dogfight with Arkansas, following a 23-17 loss to Ole Miss the week before. The Crimson Tide struggled offensively, and needed something to spark the team.

Collins provided a spark late in the fourth quarter. He intercepted a pass off Razorbacks’ quarterback Brandon Allen. It was one of Collins’s three takeaways of the season, but it was the one that brought all of his teammates on the field to congratulate him. Alabama’s defense forced three turnovers, and its offense did enough to squeak out a 14-13 win over the Hogs.

 

1. DeAndrew White’s 6-yard TD receptions: The Dagger

  • Game: Alabama vs. LSU
  • Date: Nov. 8, 2014
  • Venue: Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, La.

Summary: One can’t question DeAndrew White’s toughness in 2014. He nursed shoulder, toe and hamstring injuries, but was a clutch as they come. His defining moments came in the fourth quarter and overtime period in Alabama’s meeting with LSU. White caught a 16-yard pass from Blake Sims, setting up Adam Griffith’s game-tying, 27-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.

He returned in overtime with a 6-yard touchdown reception in the corner of the end zone. White’s catch would be the final score recorded in the contest, as LSU fans watched Alabama escape Tiger Stadium with a 20-13 win. White caught three passes for 36 yards and a touchdown.

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