The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

November 5, 2012

Bama must come back to earth with Aggies coming

— TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Nick Saban doesn't waive his 24-hour celebration rule even after dramatic, last-minute wins that rescue No. 1 Alabama's hopes for a national title.

Maybe especially after them.

The Crimson Tide coach quickly cautioned his players not to let the emotions of that 21-17 victory overshadow the next big challenge. There's little time to celebrate when No. 15 Texas A&M's high-flying offense is coming to town.

"We've got to forget about this last game," Saban said on Monday. "We've got to move on. I told the players that right after the game. I think they have a lot of respect for this team. It'd be pretty difficult not to respect this team based on their body of work and what they've accomplished this season."

The Aggies (7-2, 4-2 Southeastern Conference) appear to represent the last real obstacle between the Tide and a perfect regular season, barring a gargantuan upset. A win sends Alabama (9-0, 6-0) into the SEC championship game against either No. 5 Georgia or No. 7 Florida.

After this one, Bama faces FCS Western Carolina (1-9) and struggling rival Auburn (2-7). To win the West, Saban's team needs only to win one more SEC game. To compete for the national title, it probably needs to win out.

The Tide offense was sputtering badly until AJ McCarron led the team down the field before lofting a screen pass that T.J. Yeldon turned into a 28-yard touchdown with 51 seconds left. And Alabama had survived its first significant threat of the season.

Saban said games like that LSU "can bring out either the best in you or the worst in you. It's all your choice."

Linebacker C.J. Mosley said sticking to the rule of one day to savor a wins before moving on was no big deal.

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