Alabama is surging in the direction of the College Football Playoff, however first, the undefeated Tide should go to Starkville to play Nick Fitzgerald and the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
Mississippi State gamers Devon Edwards (left) and Michael Gates (proper) hoist Titus Brown up after Brown sacked Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson on the ultimate play of the sport within the 2007 upset of Alabama.(Photo: File photograph)
STARKVILLE — A then-school-record of 56,188 followers witnessed it in individual at Davis Wade Stadium. Those who had been current swear they’ve by no means heard a louder crowd within the 10 years since. On Nov. 10, 2007, Mississippi State beat Alabama, 17-12.
The sport is remembered for the 103-yard interception return for a landing. It is remembered as a result of it was the unranked Bulldogs upsetting Nick Saban and the No. 21 Crimson Tide, Saban’s first Alabama crew. And it’s remembered as a result of Mississippi State hasn’t defeated Alabama since.
For Mississippi State, 10 years is simply too lengthy. The No. 16 Bulldogs (7-2, Three-2) will look to finish a nine-game dropping streak to the No. 2 Crimson Tide (9-Zero, 6-Zero) on Saturday (6 p.m., ESPN).
If that occurred, the present Bulldogs will unquestionably share the same feeling the Bulldogs from 10 years in the past held on the time. The manner gamers from the 2007 Mississippi State crew describe it, that feeling was one which combined reduction, triumph and exhilaration.
“It was indescribable,” former defensive lineman Titus Brown stated. “It felt like a championship. It wasn’t a championship, but for us, that was our championship game.”
This is the retelling of it.
A gradual begin
Mississippi State’s freshman quarterback on the time, Wesley Carroll, entered the Alabama sport having by no means thrown an interception in his profession.
Carroll threw one on the third play of the sport, 137 pbades into his profession and one shy of an NCAA file.
He had thrown 137 consecutive pbades with out an interception and was one try away from the NCAA all-time mark for the file by a freshman at the start of his profession.
Carroll then referred to as then-MSU offensive coordinator Woody McCorvey on the telephone from the sideline.
“Well, coach, that’s out of the way,” Carroll stated. “Let’s play ball.”
“It was a little surprising, but it wasn’t as if none of us had ever seen an interception before,” former MSU working again Anthony Dixon stated. “It was kind of just like, ‘OK, we still got this.’”
Alabama took the lead on a 39-yard discipline objective six performs later and made it 6-Zero halfway by the primary. Alabama hit one other discipline objective to make it 6-Zero, this time from 51 yards, with eight:25 left within the first quarter.
Then issues obtained worse for Carroll.
Carroll’s thumb broke when his hand collided with an Alabama defender’s helmet on the follow-through of a 16-yard move to Tony Burks late within the first quarter. Carroll nonetheless remembers the play vividly, visualizing the defender coming off a blitz from the left edge.
“H6, flanker drive,” Carroll stated. “My hand was fairly jacked up. It nonetheless is to at the present time. It was excruciating ache simply to get a snap underneath middle.”
No matter. Former MSU head coach Sylvester Croom instructed Carroll, “Now, Wes, win or lose, you are finishing this ballgame.”
“I will never forget that,” Carroll stated. “When you have that amount of confidence from your head coach, it’s something you look back on as such a metaphor for life.”
With Alabama main 9-Zero, Carroll orchestrated an 11-play, 52-yard drive with three completions that put MSU on the Crimson Tide 18. Adam Carlson hit a 35-yard discipline objective to make it 9-Three with four:12 left within the second quarter.
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To at the present time, Brown doesn’t perceive the play-call.
“Why would you do a play-action in the red zone?” Brown stated. “I don’t know. That just felt funny. So I just went directly to the quarterback.”
On the following drive after MSU’s first rating, Alabama superior 78 yards on 12 performs to the Bulldogs’ 2-yard line. On third-and-goal, Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson faked a hand-off from underneath middle and was met by Brown as quickly as he took one other step. Brown wrapped up Wilson and dragged him to the bottom, however not earlier than Wilson launched the ball.
The move, nevertheless, went straight into the arms of MSU’s Anthony Johnson, who returned it 103 yards for a landing.
“I looked up, and everyone was in the red zone expect me and John Parker,” Brown stated. “It was one of the best plays I’ve ever been a part of.”
The pick-six gave MSU a 10-9 lead with 4 seconds left within the second quarter.
Said Carroll: “I thought, ‘Thank God.’”
Johnson ran the ultimate 15 yards along with his proper arm raised. While on the bottom, his teammates mobbed him ultimately zone.
“I don’t remember a stadium ever being that loud,” Carroll stated.
“It was one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen,” Dixon stated. “That’s the most life I’ve ever seen at Davis Wade. I can’t remember another play that sparked a stadium like that play. It gets no higher than that.”
“That’s when we knew,” Brown stated, “that the game was over.”
Saban basically agreed with Brown’s evaluation in his postgame press convention after the sport. Saban referred to as the interception a essential error by the teaching employees that led to a momentum swing, and Alabama was by no means capable of regain management.
“We messed the game up right before half,” Saban stated on the time.
Derek Pegues intercepted a move on Alabama’s first drive of the third quarter and returned it 40 yards to the Alabama 25. Five performs later, Dixon scored a landing on a Three-yard run to make it 17-9.
Leigh Tiffin’s fourth discipline objective for Alabama was from 50 yards and reduce the result in 17-12 with 6:47 left.
Alabama was by no means capable of rating once more due to MSU’s ensuing drive, which lasted six minutes and compelled Alabama to make use of its timeouts.
After Dixon picked up 6 yards on third-and-1 to increase the drive, Saban took off his headset and smashed it into the bottom.
“That was my favorite scene from my college football career,” Dixon stated. “Getting that reaction from him was icing on the cake.”
Brown is a local of Tuscaloosa. Croom, who politely declined an interview for this story, is an Alabama alum. Several of MSU’s gamers on the time had been from Alabama, coveted a proposal from the Crimson Tide and by no means acquired one. The temper earlier than the sport, gamers stated, was severe as a result of the sport was private.
For MSU, there was an added incentive to win 10 years in the past, past the scope of the season — which ended with eight wins, together with one within the Liberty Bowl. It was the one profitable season in Croom’s five-year tenure.
“It was kind of like the Buster Douglas-Mike Tyson fight,” Brown stated. “You know what I’m saying? When you’re playing for something, you can beat the opponent you were really not supposed to beat. We were playing for respect and when you beat a team like Alabama, you get respect.”
The causes are totally different now, however 10 years later, Mississippi State desires that respect again.