Work in Sports
TUSCALOOSA, Alabama (Ticker) -- The "Underachievers" held off "Cinderella" at Bryant-Denny Stadium this afternoon, thanks to some Hollywood inspiration.
After watching its promising season go sour in a hurry with three losses in four games, Alabama managed to burst No. 23 South Carolina's bubble, holding on for a 27-17 home victory in a Southeastern Conference battle.
Looking to inspire his 1-3 squad, Alabama coach Mike DuBose took the Crimson Tide to see the film, "Remember the Titans," on Friday.
"You need to watch, 'Remember the Titans,'" DuBose said. "The team went to go see it last night. It's about tightness and people changing and coming together. This is the biggest win for our football team. The critical part is that the football team needs to come together."
Ahmaad Galloway's 62-yard touchdown run with 29 seconds remaining in the third quarter gave the Crimson Tide (2-3, 2-1 SEC West) a 20-10 lead. After South Carolina quarterback Phil Petty re-applied the pressure with a fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Jermale Kelly, Alabama sealed the win on Andrew Zow's eight-yard keeper with 5:07 to play.
"I got the line and I was thinking of running the play the other way but I didn't call it," Zow said. "So they snapped the ball and I went the wrong way. The guy was on me and I made him miss. I knew I had to score because coach would have picked me up by my neck."
The Tide remained unbeaten in 10 all-time meetings with the Gamecocks (4-1, 2-1 SEC East) and spoiled a miraculous 4-0 start for Lou Holtz's club after a miserable 0-11 campaign last year.
The Gamecocks jumped out to an early 3-0 lead when Reid Bethea connected on a career-long 49-yard field goal just over five minutes into play. But Alabama answered with 13 straight points on a pair of Neal Thomas field goals from 44 and 50 yards and Brandon Miree's one-yard scoring plunge with 6:08 remaining in the first half.
Thomas' 50-yarder came 5:03 into the third quarter as Alabama opened a 13-3 lead. The Gamecocks got untracked when Petty found Jermale Kelly with a 19-yard touchdown pass that shaved the deficit to three with 5:07 left in the third quarter.
But Galloway's 62-yard scamper just before the end of the period re-established a 10-point cushion for the Tide.
Zow, who began the game on the sideline until a hamstring injury forced starter Tyler Watts out, completed 14-of-26 passes for 149 yards with an interception and Galloway finished with 96 yards on 14 carries as Alabama improved to 62-8-1 in Tuscaloosa openers since 1929.
The Tide played five times in September for the first time in school history and paid for it, dropping out of the top-25 by losing three of four contests before today's stirring triumph.
Not all was lost for Holtz, who watched his squad score its most points ever against Alabama and continue to look like a legitimate SEC threat.
"I thought we played hard. I thought we would play better," Holtz said. "I would like to congratulate Alabama. They played good when Andrew Zow came in. I'm upset because we're better than that. Our players were motivated. They were really inspired. They were really ready to play."
"Holtz had those guys ready to play," Zow said. "They came out with a passion and they really wanted it. You could see it in their eyes and that is how we have to become."
Holtz started Erik Kimrey behind center and watched the junior signal-caller complete 13-of-22 passes for 113 yards and an interception before calling for Petty, who was bothered by a sprained ankle in last week's 23-19 upset of Mississippi State.
Kimrey threw the game-winning touchdown pass in that contest.
Petty went 9-of-17 for 151 yards and two TDs, but also threw a pair of interceptions. Kelly caught six passes for 107 yards.