Freshman Yeldon Shines in Alabama's Spring Game

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- New Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon
showed that the Crimson Tide's backfield has plenty of remaining
The highly touted freshman, who enrolled in January, had 88
yards rushing and 91 yards receiving in the Tide's spring game
Saturday before 78,526 fans. Yeldon led the White team to a 24-15
win over the Crimson and is among the crop of runners vying for
carries with the departure of Heisman Trophy finalist Trent
Richardson to the NFL.
Yeldon won the Dixie Howell Most Valuable Player of the Game
Award. Presumed starter Eddie Lacy sat out the spring while
recovering from surgery to repair a turf toe injury.
"T.J. did a good job in all the scrimmages. He made the
difference for his team," Tide coach Nick Saban said. "He made a
lot of good plays today and had a lot of production.
"I think that's important for us because we needed someone like
that. He has a really good opportunity. Eddie will hopefully be
able to come back, Jalston (Fowler) can do certain things, Dee Hart
can do certain things. T.J. is one of those guys who can do
Quarterback AJ McCarron, playing for the Crimson team, completed
29 of 42 passes for 304 yards with two touchdowns. He was also
intercepted three times.
"At the end of the day it's for the fans and we just want to
kind of make it fun for them and make some crazy plays at the same
time that we probably wouldn't do in a real game," McCarron said.
"Coach always says, `Just have fun,' and I had a lot of fun
One of the nation's top running back recruits, Yeldon keyed two
third-quarter touchdown drives after being down at halftime, 9-3.
The first score was on pass over the middle that early-enrollee
Chris Black turned into a 44-yard catch-and-run, the other being
50-yard pass in which Yeldon broke a tackle.
Both were thrown by reserve quarterback Phillip Sims, who
despite being limited by a sore shoulder started for the White team
and completed 9 of 12 passes for 135 yards. Philip Ely, who split
time with Sims, completed 10 of 18 passes for 83 yards. Neither had
an interception.
McCarron had a 47-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Bell on a
flea-flicker, and 17-yarder to Christion Jones late in the first
Safety Vinnie Sunseri intercepted his last attempt to secure the
win. He actually returned it all the way to the 5-yard line where
he took a knee, but Saban ruled him down after 21 yards at midfield
when McCarron tried to slap the ball out of his hands.
"He gave AJ too much credit that he could tackle," Sunseri
said with a smile. "He doesn't realize that he wears that black
(noncontact) jersey for a reason."
Sunseri is one of five defensive players replacing an
All-American from last season, in his case Mark Barron.
"I felt really comfortable in what I had to do on every single
play," said.
Adrian Hubbard, stepping in at outside linebacker where Alabama
used to have Courtney Upshaw, earned the Dwight Stephenson Lineman of the Game Award after he had three sacks.
Alabama visits the White House Thursday to celebrate its second
national championship in three years.
"How good is this team? I don't know, I think it's kind of up
to this team," Saban said. "I think it's kind of up to a lot of
players on this team, a lot of players that have opportunities that
haven't played much before. We certainly don't have the maturity as
a team that we had a year ago, or that we had three years ago, but
there's certainly enough players on this team that we could develop
into a pretty good team."

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