Alabama Football: The 30 Greatest Games in Alabama Football History

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Dec 5, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin during the first quarter of the 2015 SEC Championship Game against the Florida Gators at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

2009 Tennessee – Rocky Block

Alabama Football was supposed to be unchallenged by first-year head coach Lane Kiffin’s Tennessee Volunteers. Instead, a sluggish offense set up a defensive struggle and a dramatic finish.

After coming into the season as an unknown at quarterback, Greg McElroy took over the starting job after the graduation of three-year starter John Parker Wilson. McElroy had a great September and went from potential problem to one of the most efficient passers in the SEC.

Then October came, and as the Tide got into the toughest stretch of their schedule, Greg McElroy started to struggle. He came into the Tennessee game not having thrown a touchdown in either of his last two starts. Mark Ingram had entered the national spotlight during McElroy’s struggles, but the Volunteers had success containing Ingram.

Bama couldn’t move the ball on its first two drives. An interception by Mark Barron gave the offense favorable field position, and instead of a punt Alabama was able to kick a field goal and take a 3-0 lead. Tennessee responded with a field goal, then Leigh Tiffin kicked two more and Tennessee missed one late in the second quarter. Alabama led 9-3 at the half.

Early in the fourth quarter, Tennessee’s short field goal attempt to bring the score to 9-6 was blocked by Terrence Cody. Leigh Tiffin hit a long field goal on the next Bama possession to bring the Tide’s lead to 12-3.

Then Mark Ingram lost his first career fumble, giving the Volunteers the ball near midfield with 3:29 to play. Tennessee scored on an 11-yard touchdown pass. The Volunteers successfully recovered an onside kick down 12-10. Tennessee set up for a 45-yard field goal as time expired, but Terrence Cody came up with his second block of the quarter to preserve a 12-10 Alabama win.

Next: 2009 Iron Bowl