By Brett Beaird
Every team has a “gut check” on it's way to winning a BCS National Championship. Alabama’s “gut check” in 2009 happened Oct. 24 in Tuscaloosa.
A game Tennessee team coached by Lane Kiffin rallied from a 12-3 deficit and had a chance to upset the No. 1 team in the nation. With Alabama in total command of the game, future Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram fumbled for the first time in his college career after 296 carries.
Tennessee recovered the Ingram fumble at the Alabama 43-yard line. Much-maligned Volunteers quarterback Jonathan Crompton played maybe the best two minutes of his career, leading Tennessee to a touchdown and cutting the deficit to 12-10. The Volunteers executed the onside kick to perfection and recovered with 1:19 remaining.
Crompton then completed two well-thrown passes to wide receiver Gerald Jones and tight end Luke Stocker, who caught the ball between two Tide defenders and withstood a tremendous blow by Tide safety Robby Green before falling to the turf at the Alabama 34-yard line.
With four seconds remaining in the game, Kiffin called a timeout to allow kicker Daniel Lincoln to try a game-winning 44-yard field goal.
Alabama coaches called for “max block." This is simply a scheme where every member of the special teams unit crashes the line of scrimmage to block the kick. Nose guard Terrence "Mount" Cody (nicknamed for his 360 pound frame) already had blocked a 43-yard field goal attempt by Lincoln earlier in the fourth quarter.
“I told myself when I lined down, I mean, I was going to block that field goal,” Cody told the Tuscaloosa News. “It was an emotional, crazy game.”
Cody squeezed by Tennessee left guard Cory Sullins and blocked the second kick with his hand. The ball fell harmlessly to the ground, Bryant-Denny Stadium erupted and Alabama escaped.