Defensive end Damion Square was asked if Alabama needed such a test after trailing for all of 15 seconds in the first eight games. "I don't think you ever need a game like that, but you know they come," Square said. "I've been playing college football for a while and every year we have one like that. You never know when it's going to show up, but coach always says to practice your best so when your best is needed, you can bring it out. And our best was needed and we brought it out."
"It was a crazy experience last week," offensive lineman Cyrus Kouandjio said. "Now itís time to move on. I had my 24 hours to reflect on the game. Now all Iím worried about is the Texas A&M team and its defensive front, which is pretty impressive." Linebacker C.J. Mosley echoed his coachís words. "Itís time. Itís time to get ready for Texas A&M," he said. "So that game is done and over with. What happened, happened. Weíve just got to get ready for this game."
"It obviously was a good drive in the two-minute," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "Weíve never really had to use the two-minute." Even so, the Tide practices it regularly each Thursday inside its indoor practice facility. The players say itís ready when needed, such as the last game against LSU or maybe Saturdayís home game against No. 15 Texas A&M. Recorded crowd noise fills the facility, and the first-team offense has to go against the Tideís first-team defense. They have only one limit ó they arenít allowed to go full-contact and knock each other all around the building. "Coach Saban basically tells us how many minutes we have left on the clock, how many timeouts we have left, if we need to get a field goal or touchdown," said Alabama receiver Kevin Norwood, who made all five of his receptions Saturday in the hurry-up offense. "We just move the ball as an offense." So, who wins the most: the offense or defense? "Itís kind of 50-50," Norwood said. "The defense wins most of the times, and then we win most of the times. So itís kind of 50-50."
The star of Texas A&M's show has been redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel, who completed 30 of 36 passes for 311 yards against the Bulldogs and rushed 21 times for 129 yards. Manziel threw for 290 yards and rushed for 90 at Auburn despite playing one series into the third quarter. "There have been a number of plays he's made over the course of the year, and some of them were improvised and some of them were called," Sumlin said. "Obviously he has the green light a lot of times to take off, and what you're seeing is our team really, really adjusting to him with some of the downfield blocking that is occurring when he gets loose and with guys working to get open. "We're all playing with a lot of confidence now, and in order to be successful on the road and start the way we've started the last couple of weeks, that confidence level has got to be high."
It went barely noticed on Saturday night, but Saban said punter Cody Mandell did what the offense could not Ė flip field position on the Tigers. Mandell averaged 45.1 yards on seven punts. He put two inside the 20 and LSU had just 16 yards total on three punt returns. A 56-yard punt rolled out of the bounds at the LSU 9 and a 55-yarder in the fourth quarter was fair caught at the LSU 18. "It was probably as good a game, consistency-wise, that heís had," Saban said of his punter. "It was really, really important because he did change field positions on several occasions. Thatís what heís capable of doing. Heís gotten more and more consistent. "Certainly it couldnít have happened at a better time for us in terms of him having an outstanding game."