For Alabama, it’s just AJ being AJ
BY MIKE BERARDINO For Sun-Times Media
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 07: AJ McCarron #10 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates with the Coach's Trophy after defeating the Notre Dame Fighting Irish by a score of 42-14 to win the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — AJ McCarron was trying to get back to the locker room, trying to escape a confetti-strewn field after winning a second straight BCS national championship for Alabama.
Then the celebrated quarterback saw one of the Tide’s backup tight ends walking briskly toward him and froze in his tracks after Monday night’s 42-14 win over Notre Dame at Sun Life Stadium.
Corey McCarron, a sophomore transfer from the University of South Alabama, slapped a bear hug on his older brother and shared their first championship moment together.
“In my eyes, he’s the best quarterback in the country,” the younger McCarron said. “I might be biased, but I think he shows it in the big games. That’s when he plays the best.”
In shredding the top-ranked Irish on college football’s biggest stage, the elder McCarron finished 20 of 28 passing for 264 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions.
“He showed me what we already knew, what y’all should have known,” said tight end Michael Williams, who caught a 3-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. “He’s a great quarterback, a great leader and very efficient. He does his job to the best.”
McCarron completed eight of his first nine attempts, including gains of 28, 25 and 28 yards, as the favorites stormed to a 21-0 lead one play into the second quarter.
“I mean, eight incompletions?” Corey McCarron said. “I don’t know how much better you can do.”
In capping a 13-1 season, McCarron succeeded where his boyhood hero, former Miami quarterback Ken Dorsey, failed a decade ago in the Arizona desert against Ohio State.
McCarron became the first quarterback in the BCS era to repeat. Besides Dorsey, Florida State’s Chris Weinke (2000) and USC’s Matt Leinart (2005) also fell one win short of back-to-back crowns.
Nebraska’s Tommie Frazier (1994-95) was the last college quarterback to win consecutive national titles, but that was pre-BCS.
“I get chills thinking about it,” AJ McCarron said. “It’s pretty cool to be part of such a historic win and make Alabama history. I guess it will be even more special when I come back for our reunion in 50 years or 25 years, and we look back on what all we accomplished as a team.”
With Monday’s win, McCarron moved atop a prestigious list of Tide championship quarterbacks.
The list includes Greg McElroy (2009), Jay Barker (1992), Steadman Shealy (1979), Jeff Rutledge (1978), Joe Namath (1964) and Pat Trammell (1961).
Each of them, however, won a single title.
Other than Namath, they were known as caretakers or game managers. They mostly ran the option while Alabama’s defense did the heavy lifting.
McCarron is different. The kid from Mobile, Ala., can sling it, as he showed on a pair of deep outs to Kevin Norwood.
Those were pro throws, which could cause some to wonder if he might pass up his senior season and a shot at a three-peat.
“He’s coming back with me,” Corey McCarron said. “Guaranteed, he’s coming back with me. I believe we’re going to win three before he leaves.”