Alabama won a wild 2014 Iron Bowl and had to rally in the second half to get the win. Amari Cooper was the star of the Crimson Tide offense with 224 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns. Bama QB Blake Simms threw for 312 yards and 4 touchdowns but put the team in a hole by throwing three interceptions early.
Nick Marshall put up some lofty stats as well with 456 passing yards and 3 touchdowns. Sammie Coates blistered the Alabama secondary for 206 yards and 2 TDs.
“First of all, that was a tremendous college football game on both sides. I’m really proud of the way our guys competed in the game. We didn’t play very well in the first half and didn’t start out well in the second half, but we just kept grinding. We started making some plays on offense and got the momentum of the game back. We started playing better on defense in the third and fourth quarters and came out with what was a tremendous come-from-behind win for our team. The thing you have to say about this team – somebody asked me how would you characterize this team – I would say that they do a great job from a competitive character standpoint of always making plays in the game when they need to make them. They seem to always be able to be resilient enough to play through adversity, which we certainly did today. It was great for our seniors in their last game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. It was really important to me that they have a great memory from their last game here. A lot of guys that are seniors contributed out there and down the stretch even. It makes you proud, and I’m sure our players are extremely happy to win the (SEC) West and have an opportunity to go to the SEC Championship Game.
“There were a lot of things that we need to do better as a team. You could say that in a lot of ways we didn’t play our best football, especially in the first half, but you have to give their players a lot of credit for making really good plays as well. I’m really, really proud of our team and proud of the character they showed in the second half. I just told the players at halftime, ‘We have 30 minutes. A lot of you guys have a lot of goals and aspirations. This is a gut-check as to what kind of heart you have, what kind of character you have and what kind of competitor you are in how you go out and play the second half of this game. I believe in you, I think we can win and I think we will win if everybody makes a commitment to doing their best in the second half.’ I was really pleased with the way the players responded and how they came out and played. Even though we turned it over the second play of the second half and they went down and scored, it just made the comeback that much better for our players, in terms of how they competed through adversity.”
On the fourth down conversion in the third quarter:
“I don’t think it was do-or-die. I thought we could play field position. One of the things that comes into my mind when we make those kind of decisions is if we were playing really, really well on defense, I probably wouldn’t have made that decision. But the fact is I thought we needed to score to change the momentum of the game – you have to take some chances. That was one that paid off for us, and I think it did change the game. I think it was a really big play for us.”
On Amari Cooper’s play tonight:
“We didn’t throw the ball downfield very much in the first half. The one time we did was a touchdown. I kept saying to (offensive coordinator) Lane (Kiffin) we’ve made a lot of explosive plays throwing the ball down the field, let’s take some shots on these guys and see if they can cover us deep. They (were) certainly doing that to us and we were not having much success. I think a couple of the big plays really changed the momentum of the game. Coop has been great for us all year. He certainly had a great game today. The guy played through a lot of injuries today. He was really kind of hurt, and he did a great job competing out there. He had 13 catches for (224) yards and made some extremely big plays in the game. I think we have other guys that are capable that we need to get involved offensively in terms of what they can do. DeAndrew White, Christion Jones, 13 (ArDarius Stewart) did a good job for us last week, hopefully we’ll get him back this week.”