Life's good for AJ McCarron
Originally Published: January 8, 2013By Chris Low | ESPN.com
MIAMI -- AJ McCarron has a pretty sweet life these days. He's dating Miss Alabama. He just picked up his second straight national championship ring as Alabama's starting quarterback. And he's well on his way to becoming a Crimson Tide legend.
Move over Joe Namath. OK, maybe not yet. But if McCarron keeps on delivering these virtuoso performances on college football's biggest stages, he may get his own statue at the Capstone. McCarron carved apart Notre Dame on Monday night in the Discover BCS National Championship with 264 passing yards and four touchdowns, and Alabama cruised 42-14 to win its third national title in the past four years. "I'm truly blessed. I believe the man above always has a plan for you," McCarron said. "He kind of lays down the grounds, and you can live it how you want [and] at the same time, make choices. It's great to do all this, but glorify in his name at the same time." McCarron has had a huge part in this historic run for the Crimson Tide, who became the first team since Notre Dame in the late 1940s to win three outright national titles in the four years. He was the Most Outstanding Offensive Player in last season's 21-0 victory over LSU in the BCS National Championship. And on Monday, he triggered Alabama's beatdown of Notre Dame by directing the Crimson Tide on touchdown drives on each of their first three possessions. He was 8-for-9 in those three drives and finished the game 20-of-28. In two BCS title games, McCarron is 43-of-62 for 498 yards and hasn't thrown an interception. "These are the kind of games AJ lives for," offensive tackle D.J. Fluker said. "We've got his back, and he's got ours. He's our leader, and we know if we give him the time he needs, there's going to be some teams hurting."
Cal Sport Media/AP ImagesAJ McCarron led Alabama to touchdown drives on each of its first three possessions.
The only time McCarron was touched all night was when he and senior center Barrett Jones launched into a heated exchange in the fourth quarter because there was a miscommunication on a check at the line of scrimmage. With the two barking at each other, Jones shoved McCarron after the ball wasn't snapped in time, resulting in a delay-of-game penalty. They quickly made up and were back to gigging each other good-naturedly in the locker room after the game. "I was right," Jones beamed. Told that McCarron said he was right, Jones cracked, "Of course he did. He's a quarterback. They always think they're right." McCarron used play-action on the second snap of the game and threw a 29-yard strike to Kevin Norwood. From there, it was McCarron's show and he made it look easy. He threw down the field. He hit his tight end, Michael Williams, for a touchdown and then closed the first half by connecting with running back Eddie Lacy out of the backfield for a touchdown. "We came out and started pretty well last year [in the BCS title game]," said McCarron, who finished the season with 30 touchdown passes and three interceptions. "I think it's always on how I start. My mindset inside the white lines changes. I'm always a little cockier then and think I can achieve anything. "When I start getting some passes going and completing them early, I feel like I can shred the defense." Having already announced that he will return for his senior season, McCarron now gets a chance to do it all over again next year. And you want to talk about history? No starting quarterback in college football has ever won three national championships, let alone three straight. "Hopefully, we can get another one next year," McCarron said. "It's going to be a lot of hard work, but our team is always up for a challenge, and that's the one thing our coaching staff is always up for a challenge. "There's never any quit in this team, which I love." After the final seconds had ticked off the clock Monday at Sun Life Stadium, McCarron was able to celebrate with his family and planted a kiss on his girlfriend, Katherine Webb, who received her share of face time during the game's telecast. McCarron was told after the game that even LeBron James was following Webb on Twitter now. "No way," McCarron exclaimed. "Man, I'm going to tweet him, and I'm going to get a follow. "That's messed up. I guess she's more famous than me." Perhaps so in the realm of social media. But in the realm of Alabama football, McCarron may be marching toward immortality.
AP Photo/Chris SzagolaMcCarron and center Barrett Jones had a heated exchange late in the game, but they quickly went back to taking care of beating the Irish.