First-year starting quarterback A.J. McCarron and the kicking game were supposed to be the Alabama Crimson Tide's biggest hurdles to a national championship. The LSU Tigers and the Tide were all but inseparable in most areas of the field, but LSU had more experience and pure playmaking ability at the QB position, while their special teams were supposedly much better than Alabama's.
Jeremy Shelley and fellow kicker Cade Foster combined for four field goals in the BCS National Championship game, making up for their poor performances in Alabama's loss to LSU earlier in the season. Head Coach Nick Saban was very pleased with his kickers, who helped guide Alabama to a win.
"Jeremy did a great job in the game. We have a lot of confidence in Jeremy. He doesn't have great range, but when we get it down there by the 25-yard line he does a pretty good job for the most part. We got one blocked and he pushed one to the right a little bit. But we're just going to keep on giving him opportunities, and I think he did a great job."
While the kickers redeemed themselves, McCarron did much more than that, and his play was perhaps the biggest story of the game. Though he did not throw a touchdown pass, he made a number of big plays to move the Alabama offense down the field and into field goal range, even when the LSU defense was doing a good job of containing Trent Richardson. McCarron was humble, praising Richardson and the coaching staff for their role in the win when asked about his performance.
"We've been leaning on No. 3 [Richardson] all year. He's our workhorse. I mean, he's our main guy ... I don't think I did anything special, really. I mean, I always bust my butt in the film room. I mean, it helps when you got a little longer, you can study them a lot more. But I bust my butt in there, and I know everything they want to do. Certain downs and distances. But that goes back to our coaching staff. We have the best coaching staff in the country."
Alabama are losing Richardson and a number of key defensive pieces, but Nick Saban will be happy that he doesn't have to worry about his quarterback or kicking game going into next season.