Crimson Defeats White, 27-24, in Alabama Football’s Golden Flake A-Day Game
JK Scott’s 30-yard field goal on the final play of the game gave the Crimson team a 27-24 win over the White team in Alabama’s 2017 Golden Flake A-Day Spring Football Game Saturday before a crowd of 74,326 at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Scott’s field goal capped a last-minute 58-yard drive in eight plays engineered by quarterback Jalen Hurts to complete a come-from-behind victory for the Crimson which trailed by 14 points twice in the first half.
Freshman wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, an early enrollee from Deerfield Beach, Fla. (Deerfield Beach HS) caught five passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns (26.8-yard average) to lead the White offense that accumulated 358 passing yards and 419 yards overall. Jeudy’s performance earned him the Dixie Howell Memorial Award given to the most valuable player of the Crimson Tide’s spring game while defensive lineman Raekwon Davis, who had a team-leading seven tackles with one quarterback sack to lead the White team’s defense, earned the Dwight Stephenson Award given to the most valuable lineman of the spring game.
Freshman White team quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, another early enrollee, passed for a game-high 313 yards and three touchdowns while completing 17-of-29 pass attempts while throwing one interception. Wide receiver T.J. Simmons had six catches for 82 yards and a touchdown for the White team while running back Najee Harris rushed for a game-high 70 yards on 17 carries as the White team rushed for 61 yards on 25 attempts.
For the Crimson, wide receivers Robert Foster (115 yards and a touchdown on two catches) and Calvin Ridley (102 yards and a touchdown on four receptions) led the offense which was held to eight rushing yards on 27 attempts on the day. Hurts passed for 301 yards and two scores with one interception while completing 16-of-25 attempts.
Defensively, White team linebacker Keith Holcombe led all tacklers with 10 stops on the day, including three solo tackles and two quarterback sacks. The White team registered nine sacks on the day, led by linebackers Holcombe, Rashaan Evans and Christian Miller, with two each.
Scott averaged 45.3 yards on 11 punts on the day, punting for both teams, and landed three punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line and had four punts travel more than 50 yards including a long of 55. Mark Bernier had one punt for 38 yards in the game.
Scott was 3-for-4 in field goal attempts, kicking for both teams. He made attempts of 37, 30 and 20 yards while missing one from 45 yards. Andy Pappanastos missed on two field goal tries, one from 31 and another from 38.
The White team opened the scoring in the first quarter on its first possession. After the Crimson team punted on its opening possession, the White team drove 60 yards in five plays, scoring on a 15-yard pass by Tagovailoa to Simmons with 10:30 left in the opening period. Simmons hauled in the pass in the end zone along the sideline despite tight coverage by defensive back Aaron Robinson. Scott kicked the extra point to give the White team a 7-0 lead.
The ensuing possession, a 64-yard march by the Crimson team, was keyed by a 60-yard pass from Hurts to Calvin Ridley to the White four-yard line. But that drive ended with an interception by Trevon Diggs in the end zone. The White team responded quickly, moving 72 yards in three plays to a touchdown. Tagovailoa started the drive with a 47-yard pass to wide receiver Xavian Marks to the Crimson 28. Then, after a three-yard run at right tackle by Najee Harris to the Crimson 25, Tagovailoa passed 25 yards to Jeudy for a score on a pass that deflected off Simmons, then off a defender into Jeudy’s hands. Jeudy took it from there and raced into the end zone. Scott’s extra-point was good, giving the White team a 14-0 lead with 6:40 left in the first quarter.
The Crimson offense roared back immediately. On the second play after the kickoff, from the Crimson 35, Hurts hit wide receiver Robert Foster on a streak pattern at the White 20 and Foster raced to the end zone behind the defense to complete a 65-yard touchdown strike. Pappanastos kicked the extra point, narrowing the White lead to 14-7 with 5:56 left in the first quarter.
Later in the first quarter, Crimson defensive back Kyrig McDonald intercepted a pass by quarterback Mac Jones at the White 23 and returned it nine yards to the 14-yard line. A one-yard run by running back Josh Jacobs ended the first period at the White 13. The drive stalled there and Pappanastos’ 31-yard field try was wide right with 13:35 left in the first half. Later in the quarter, after another missed field goal by the Crimson team, the White team took over at its 20-yard line and marched 80 yards to a score in four plays. Tagovailoa hit Najee Harris for 13 yards on a pass to the White 33, then hit Jeudy for 38 yards to the Crimson 29. Tagovailoa capped the march with a 29-yard pass to Jeudy for a touchdown. Scott’s conversion kick was good, giving the White a 21-7 lead with 5:09 left in the half.
In the closing moments of the half, Crimson linebacker Terrell Hall intercepted a Tagovailoa pass at the Crimson 40 and returned the theft 60 yards for a touchdown. Pappanastos kicked good and the Crimson team had trimmed the White team’s lead to 21-14 with 2:06 left in the half. The scoring didn’t end there, as the Crimson team continued its comeback, driving 44 yards in five plays to close the half on a 37-yard field goal by Scott with no time remaining. That cut the White team’s halftime lead to 21-17.
With 5:55 left in what would be a scoreless third quarter the White team took over possession at its own 22-yard line. The White mounted the most methodical offensive drive of the day, moving 75 yards in 13 plays, consuming 7:01 of game clock. Mac Jones passed for 19 yards to Jeudy to start the drive and hit Simmons for 16 yards on a slant pattern later in the drive to the Crimson 22. That set up a 20-yard field goal by Scott that extended the White team’s lead to 24-17 with 13:54 left in the fourth quarter.
Late in the fourth, Hurts connected with Ridley on a 37-yard touchdown pass that tied the game 24-24, setting a series of attempts by both teams to score the go-ahead points, which eventually brought Scott on with three seconds remaining on the clock for the 30-yard field goal as time expired.
The format for the A-Day game was much like a normal game, with a few minor variations primarily regarding the game clock. The game consisted of four 15minute quarters with a running clock. The clock stopped only following scoring plays, penalties, and changes of possession. Regular clock rules were used during the final minutes of the second quarter and the fourth quarter. Halftime was 12 minutes in duration. Players wearing black jerseys (quarterbacks and injured players) were considered “tagoff” and were not treated as live players. The kickoffs and kick returns were “tagoff” plays as well, with the ball spotted at the 30yard line.