Wilson Has Three TD Passes In A-Day Win
John Parker Wilson
John Parker Wilson

Posted Apr 12, 2008

John Parker Wilson passed for three touchdowns to lead the Crimson to a 24-14 victory over the White in Alabama’s A-Day Football Game at Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday. The game is ordinarily the final day of spring practice, but this year the team has one day remaining Monday.

John Parker Wilson connected on touchdown passes of six yards to Earl Alexander in the second quarter and 14 yards to Terry Grant just seconds before halftime, then clinched the game when he connected with Grant on a short pass that the speedy tailback turned into a 75-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

The Alabama scrimmage put the first offense and second defense (Crimson) against the first defense and second offense (White). Following the game the players prepared for the spoils -- a steak dinner for the winning Crimson team players and coaches, beans and hot dogs for the losing White squad.

Greg McElroy gave the second offense an early lead as he directed the White offense on a seven-play, 82-yard drive that ended with McElroy hitting redshirt freshman wide receiver Darius Hanks on a 28-yard pass. Roy Upchurch had a 14-yard run on a draw play and McElroy completed a 29-yard pass txo tight end Nick Walker in the drive. Leigh Tiffin kicked the extra point.

Tiffin kicked the Crimson onto the board a few minutes later when he connected on a 44-yard field goal. A nice Crimson drive that included Wilson scrambling for a 19-yard gain and Jonathan Lowe running for 11 yards fizzled at the White 28, forcing the long Tiffin field goal.

Tiffin tried another long field goal, a 48-yarder for the White, but it was blocked by Ali Sharrief.

The Crimson went on top for good early in the second quarter. Wilson connected with Earl Alexander, who made a nice reception over Kareem Jackson, for a six-yard touchdown pass. The score completed a nine-play, 69-yard drive. Wilson had completions of 13 yards and 18 yards to Mike McCoy in the drive. He also completed a 10-yard pass to Jonathan Lowe and a nine-yard pass to Alexander.

The passing tandem of Wilson to Grant (who won the Dixie Howell Award for being voted by the media as the game’s most valuable player) put the Crimson up by 17-7 with a score just before halftime. Operating a two-minute drill, Wilson took the Tide 74 yards in five plays for the touchdown. Tight end Colin Peek made a nice run with a pass for a 26-yard gain and Wilson hit McCoy on a 29-yard pick-up to the lWhite 14. Grant came out of the backfield and took the pass up the middle of the field for the touchdown just before intermission.

Early in the fourth quarter, fourth team quarterback Thomas Darrah connected with redshirt freshman wide receiver Marquis Maze on a 44-yard touchdown pass to pull the White to within three points at 17-14. The drive started with the first of two interceptions by safety Rashad Johnson. He picked off Nick Fanuzzi in the end zone and ran it out 29 yards. Darrah completed a 14-yard pass to tight end Preston Dial on the final play of the third quarter, then made the touchdown completion to Maze. True freshman placekicker Corey Smith kicked the extra point.

Moments later the Wilson to Grant combination ended the scoring for the day. On a third-and-15 play, Grant released across the middle, beating linebacker Jennings Hester, and Wilson led him perfectly. Grant got a little help on from McCoy, who brushed Javier Arensas and made Arenas alter his angle of pursuit, and Grant went 75 yards for the touchdown to make it 24-14.

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