Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron led the No. 1 ranked Crimson Tide to a last minute touchdown drive that kept last year’s national champions on course to defend their title in Miami.
With Alabama’s hopes of a second straight national title on the line, McCarron calmly guided his team down the field against Southeastern Conference rival and No. 5 LSU. The winning touchdown with 51 seconds left in the game at LSU’s Death Valley came on a screen pass to T.J. Yeldon who scampered 28-yards to give the Tide a 21-17 victory.
The stunning victory in the slugfest between the top-ranked teams earned Alabama selection as the Week 10 winner of the United States Sports Academy’s 2012 College Football Game of the Year Contest.
Alabama (9-0) remained undefeated thanks to McCarron overcoming a dismal second half. McCarron connected on 4 of 5 passes on Alabama’s final drive, including three straight. Before that drive, McCarron was only 1 of 7 on passes in the second half as LSU (7-2) took the lead, 17-14, with just under 13 minutes remaining in the game.
Led by quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who threw for 298 yards and a 14-yard TD, LSU had fought back from a 14-3 halftime deficit. The Tigers were on the verge of putting the game away, but kicker Drew Alleman missed a 38-yard field goal, and McCarron took over from there.
On the game-winning play, McCarron recognized an LSU corner blitz and tossed the ball quickly to Yeldon. The freshman running back broke one tackle and faked out another defender, racing to the end zone for the winning score. He finished with 76 yards on 11 carries for an average of 6.9 yards per attempt.
A national panel of experts selects the weekly winner of the Academy’s College Football Game of the Year Contest. Each week’s winner is considered for the award honoring the best College Football Game of the Year at the end of the season.
This committee is currently chaired by Jack Lengyel, the former athletic director at the United States Naval Academy. Lengyel was also a college football coach best known for being the head coach who resurrected the Marshall University football program, as depicted in the 2006 film, “We Are Marshall.”
Daniel Moore, the American Sports Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) 2005 Sport Artist of the Year, is commissioned by the Academy each year to create a painting honoring the selected College Football Game of the Year. The Academy, also known as America’s Sports University, donates the painting and $5,000 to the general scholarship fund of the annual winner.