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November 26, 2010

Notebook: Beat-up Tide had injuries at crucial positions

TUSCALOOSA _ If it appeared that something wasn't right after University of Alabama junior safety Mark Barron moved into position only to watch Terrell Zachery make the reception and race into the end zone for the 70-yard touchdown, it's because Barron was playing with a torn pectoral muscle.

"I couldn't pick my arm up," Barron said following Friday's 28-27 loss to No. 2 Auburn. "I have to get an MRI. They don't know how bad it is."

Barron sustained the injury while trying to swat the ball out of Emory Blake's hands on Auburn's first touchdown, the 36-yard reception with 5:08 remaining in the first half. Under normal circumstances he probably wouldn't have played the second half, but the Crimson Tide was already dangerously thin at position, with walk-on Will Lowery and true freshmen Nick Perry the backups.

Barron was one of many players sidelined by injuries, including senior quarterback Greg McElroy, who sustained a concussion on Auburn's fifth, and last sack.

"He's going to be okay," Coach Nick Saban said. "Nothing serious. He checked out good."

McElroy gave everyone a scare, though, as he was defenseless when being brought down by T'Shawrvan Bell on his head a shoulder.

"I was looking for him to move," said junior running back Mark Ingram, who was standing over McElroy when he first moved his legs and squeezed the thumbs of the medical officials attending him, with a cart ready to carry him off.

Meanwhile, junior wide receiver Julio Jones was briefly sidelined when the game was on the line after sustaining a bruised knee on Alabama's final kick return. He returned for the final series, led by backup quarterback A.J. McCarron.

The receiving corps was further depleted in the second half due to junior Darius Hanks sustaining bruised ribs.

Starters and more injuries

Sophomore Barrett Jones (ankle) suited up, but redshirt freshman Anthony Steen started in his place at right guard. Sophomore running back Trent Richardson (knee) was back in his usual rotation spot and also deep with Jones on kick returns.

Senior Luther Davis started at defensive end. Alabama came out with a three-receiver set while defense has the base unit in for its first snap.

Numerous records set

Although the University of Alabama football team ended up on the losing end Friday at Bryant-Denny Stadium, it set four offensive records during the explosive first half.

Combined with his four completions for 68 yards to finish the Georgia State game, McElroy started by making 12 straight for 223 yards and two touchdowns, with the combined 16 breaking his own Crimson Tide mark.

Most consecutive completions
16 Greg McElroy vs. Georgia St. (4) & vs. Auburn (12) Nov. 26, 2010
14 Greg McElroy vs. Florida International Sept. 12, 2009
12 John Parker Wilson at Tennessee & vs. Arkansas St. Oct. 25 & Nov. 1, 2008
12 Andrew Zow vs. Mississippi Oct. 14, 2000
11 Jay Barker at Mississippi State Nov. 12, 1994

McElroy finished 27 of 37 for a career-high 377 yards, the fourth-most passing yards in Alabama history (484, Scott Hunter vs. Auburn in 1969).

With his two touchdown passes, McElroy also set the Alabama record for most touchdowns thrown in a season with 19. The 38 over his career ranked third (John Parker Wilson, 47).

Touchdown passes, season
19 Greg McElroy, 2009
18 John Parker Wilson, 2007
17 John Parker Wilson, 2006
17 Greg McElroy, 2009
16 Mike Shula, 1985
16 Brodie Croyle, 2003

Jones set the Alabama single-season record for receptions with an 11-yard catch with 7:06 left in the first quarter, giving him 68. He went on to make four more receptions with his 1,059 total for the season also an Alabama all-time high.

Receptions, season
72 Julio Jones (1,059 yards), 2010
67 DJ Hall (1,005 yards) 2007
65 Freddie Milons (733 yards) 1999
62 DJ Hall (1,056 yards) 2006
61 David Palmer (1,000 yards) 1993
58 Julio Jones (924 yards) 2008

Receiving yards, season
1,059 Julio Jones (72 catches) 2010
1,056 DJ Hall (62 catches) 2006
1,005 DJ Hall (67 catches) 2007
1,000 David Palmer (61 catches) 1993
924 Julio Jones (58 catches) 2008
820 Dennis Homan (54 catches) 1967
804 Ozzie Newsome (36 catches) 1977
790 David Bailey (55 catches) 1970

Jones' 199 yards for the game were the third-most in Alabama history, after he set the record of 221 at Tennessee last month. It was his eighth career 100-yard game.

He's now second to DJ Hall on career receptions and receiving yards lists. Jones had 176 catches for 2,604 yards, while Hall had 194 for 2,923.

Tide-bits

SEC Coordinator of Officials Rogers Redding made the following statement regarding Nick Fairley's unsportsmanlike conduct in the second quarter: "The penalty was due to a violation of NCAA Rule 9-2-1.a.1(d), which states, in part, that any delayed, excessive, prolonged or choreographed act by which a player (or players) attempts to focus attention upon himself (or themselves) is an unsportsmanlike conduct foul." Tom Ritter's crew officiated the game, Ben Oldham was the replay official.

Ingram's 9-yard rushing touchdown was the 40th of his career, one short of Shaun Alexander's career record of 41 (1996-99).

Participating in the pregame Senior Day ceremony were: Earl Alexander, Drew Bullard, James Carpenter, Luther Davis, Michael DeJohn, Preston Dial, Rob Ezell, Collin Gallagher, Mark Holt, J.B. Kern, McElroy, Brian Motley, Kyle Pennington, Taylor Pharr, David Ross, Logan Thomas and Chavis Williams.

Team captains were McElroy, Jones, Dont'a Hightower and Barron.

Bowl officials on-hand included the Outback, Music City, Citrus, Chick-fil-A, Orange and Sugar bowls.


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