AUBURN, Ala. -- The script for Alabama and AJ McCarron was supposed to have been written, with ink dried, when the fifth-year senior hushed a sellout Iron Bowl crowd at Auburn with a 99-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Amari Cooper to give the Crimson Tide a 7-point lead Saturday.
But Chris Davis went off script. And when a late Nick Marshall touchdown pass and Davis' improbable 100-yard return of a missed field goal conspired to stun top-ranked Alabama 34-28, McCarron's bid for a third-consecutive national championship ended abruptly at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
For McCarron, what could have been the biggest moment of his college career is now more of a footnote, but worthy of a look just the same:
McCarron finished 17 of 29 for 277 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in the loss. Had it not been for several dropped passes by his receivers -- one a would-be touchdown by Amari Cooper -- McCarron would easily have passed for 300-350 yards and four touchdowns. Nevertheless, the late-season Heisman Trophy momentum McCarron had garnered disappeared along with Alabama's championship hopes, as McCarron lost the first road game of his career and fell to 37-3 as a starter in his career.