I just keep getting more & more geeked up about this little scrimmage scheduled for Saturday afternoon in Atlanta. So I decided to remember, here on the blog, some of the more prominent games (READ: "the games Alabama won") in this inter-divisional rivalry leading up to Saturday afternoon.
We'll start this morning with the 2005 Tide/Gators match-up at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, AL. If ever the Tide rolled, they did in this game. Total domination to win 31-3. A few incidental reflections:
• Tim Tebow was AT this game as a prospective recruit for ALABAMA. He nearly went with the Tide a couple months later -- reportedly agonizing over the decision on the day of his announcement, soul-searching while sitting by a lake with his dog -- but instead went with his boyhood dream of being a Gator. Having a Heisman Trophy to his credit & a National Championship ring on his finger, I'd say it's hard to fault him for the choice he made.
• This was the game in which Tyrone Prothro broke his leg. No matter how enjoyable this game is for Tide fans to remember & relish, it sucks that much more to remember that one of the most celebrated Tide players of this decade suffered a career-ending injury near the end of this same game. He caught an 80-yard touchdown to open the scoring on Alabama's first play from scrimmage, as well as a 2nd touchdown later in the game. Little did we know that just a few hours later his career would be over. He was just a sophomore.
If it sounds like I'm describing a death in the family, that's precisely what it still feels like.
Okay, that's a total bummer for a lead-in to an awesome video. How about a story?
A year later, in '06, my sister & I went to a 'Bama game where she wanted to get Prothro's autograph. Tyrone's career was done for all intents & purposes, but he would still suit up and was sort of a player-coach.
At one point in the 3rd quarter, with the game well in hand, we decided to go for it. So we found him on the sideline & Katie started calling him to try to get him over to the fence to sign her jersey. She was calling, "Prothro!!" "Hey Tyrone!!" "Number FOUR!! Sign my jersey!" He wouldn't budge. I figured it was hopeless at that point -- the players probably don't interact with fans during the game as a general rule.
But my baby sister looked up at me with her puppy-dog eyes & asked me to parlay my strong preaching voice for her cause. So big bro went to work...
"Hey PRO! Come on man! Just one signature!" "Pro-THRO!!" No response. Nothing.
Finally I got creative. In the loudest, clearest voice I could muster, I yelled "HEY PLAY-MAKER!!!" He & the other receivers just cracked up laughing at that. The people around us giggled at it, too. Still, though, no dice. We could sense that he wanted to come over to sign after that, but it was still taboo. That's okay. At least I made "Pro" laugh.
Alright! That's better. So back the truck up to 2005 again. Here are the highlights from a glorious Gator beat-down...
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