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November 9, 2013

ALABAMA FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Saban reaches into Miles' bag of tricks for game-changing fake punt

TUSCALOOSA — Tricks certainly aren't just for kids.

They apparently aren't just for Les Miles, either.

Alabama coach Nick Saban took a page straight from his LSU counterpart's playbook early in the third quarter and rode it to a crucial 38-17 win over LSU Saturday night at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Following an uncharacteristic string of events — a 1-yard loss on third-and-1 and timeout because Landon Collins couldn't get on the field for the ensuing play — the top-ranked Tide reached inside the bag of tricks from inside their own territory and used a 6-yard gain on a fake punt run by Jarrick Williams to extend the drive. Alabama cashed in on the risky move shortly thereafter with a 4-yard touchdown run by T.J. Yeldon, swinging the score in the Tide's favor for the third and final time of the evening.

Saban and Co. tried another turn at trickery on the opening play of the fourth quarter. An attempt at a flea flicker came up empty, though, when A.J. McCarron overthrew Kenny Bell, who had a step on his defender.

Alabama's second drive of the second half was just as, if not more, impressive than the first — and once again, Yeldon was an obvious reason why.

It was only fair for the sophomore speedster to cap off the possession with a 1-yard scoring scamper. After all, he had five other carries for 33 rushing yards, as well as a 13-yard catch, on the drive.

Yeldon finished with 133 yards and the two touchdowns on 25 totes. Kenyan Drake was also helpful when utilized, turning 10 carries into 65 rushing yards.

% Name-calling: Call him a game manager. Call him a diva. Call him a cry baby.

After Saturday's performance, McCarron's critics have no choice but to also call him Alabama's all-time career passing yard leader.

The senior signal-caller took over the top spot from John Parker Wilson (7,924 yards from 2005-08) with a 12-yard pass to Amari Cooper in the second quarter.

McCarron had 14 completions for three touchdowns and 179 passing yards to push his career total to 7,997.

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