McCarron picked but shines

McCarron picked but shines

October 23rd, 2011 by David Paschall in Sports - College

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- While so many impressive streaks continued Saturday night for the Alabama Crimson Tide, one ended quite abruptly.

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron entered Saturday night's 37-6 win over Tennessee having thrown 151 consecutive passes without an interception. His second attempt against the Volunteers was picked off by middle linebacker Austin Johnson, who halted Alabama's opening possession and returned the miscue 19 yards to the Crimson Tide's 41-yard line.

"I think AJ got a little bit spooked when they dropped back eight guys," Tide coach Nick Saban said.

The 6-foot-4, 205-pound redshirt sophomore from Mobile regrouped and wound up 17-of-26 for a career-best 284 yards. His streak of 152 passes without an interception ranks third in program history, trailing the 190 compiled by Brodie Croyle and 155 by Jay Barker.

"As the game went on, he played better and did a good job," Saban said. "We didn't run the ball and got behind in the sticks, and we probably didn't throw it enough on first down, because every time we threw on first down we had a successful play. We have a lot of weapons, and we've got to use them."

Record blowouts

Alabama's triumph set a program record, as it was the Crimson Tide's ninth straight by 16 or more points. This streak started with a 49-7 win over Michigan State in January's Capital One Bowl.

The Tide had eight straight wins of 16 or more points during the last six games of the 1977 season, which included a 35-6 rout of Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl, and the first two games of '78.

Alabama also has scored at least 20 points a school-record 27 consecutive times.

Maze moves up

A 69-yard reception by Tide receiver Marquis Maze late in the first quarter enabled the 5-10, 180-pound senior from Birmingham to move into seventh on Alabama's career charts.

Maze, whose longest career catch was an 80-yarder against Arkansas in 2009, had five catches for 106 yards against the Vols and now has 1,699 for his career. He passed David Palmer, who amassed 1,611 yards from 1991 to '93.

D.J. Hall holds Alabama's career receiving record with 2,923 yards, which he collected from 2004 to '07.

Tide tidbits

Alabama is 5-0 against Tennessee under Saban, winning four by 20 or more points. ... The Tide improved to 25-1 in their last 26 games at Bryant-Denny Stadium, and in that stretch they have tallied 59 rushing touchdowns while allowing two. ... Tennessee became the 13th consecutive team to be held to 10 or fewer first-half points against Alabama.