James Jones Column: Milroe failed to deliver in clutch for Alabama

Published 5:30 am Tuesday, January 9, 2024

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Alabama’s offensive line did not do any favors for quarterback Jalen Milroe against Michigan in the College Football Playoff semifinal against Michigan on New Year’s Day.

Milroe was sacked four times in the first half, a harbinger of things to come  enroute to a 27-20 overtime loss. 

While the Crimson Tide’s o-line deserves criticism for failing to pick up blitzes, I put some blame on Milroe.   For me, Milroe looked bewildered and lost as the offensive line was throughout the contest.

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Alabama (12-2) either played a good first half or strong second half, leading to winning the SEC Championship.  The Crimson Tide needed four quarters and overtime to reach the title, but they did not deliver.

Moments of truth are usually handled well by most of Alabama’s quarterback in national championship games.

I’ll give you several examples to make my point.

-Tua Tagovailoa’s touchdown pass to Devonta Smith in overtime beat Georgia for the 2017 national title. Tagovailoa relieved an ineffective Jalen Hurts and led the second-half comeback.

-Mac Jones throws for over 400 yards and five touchdowns as Alabama beat beat Ohio State for the 2020 national title. 

I will give Hurts and Bryce Young passes in their title game moments because of injuries.

-If running back Bo Scarbough not gotten hurt in 2016, Alabama would have beaten Clemson for a national crown.

-When wide receivers John Metchie and Jameson Williams suffered knee injuries during the 2021 championship, Georgia denied Alabama a national title.

Pat Trammall, Joe Namath. Steve Sloan, RIchard Todd, Steadman Sealy, Jay Barker, AJ McCarron, Greg McElroy, Jake Coker, Jalen Hurts, Tua Tagavoila, Mac Jones are the Alabama starting quarterbacks to win national titles

I am not going to say that if Alabama beat Michigan, the Crimson Tide would have won a national title.  

 Everyone knew on fourth and goal at the Wolverne’s 3-yard-line on fourth and goal in overtime that Milroe would get the ball. A trick play might have turned the tide, The right tackle missed a block and Milroe fell short. 

Several social media posts blame offensive coordinator Tommy Reese for the failed play, but not me. Milroe had his chances but failed to cash in. Milroe will spend the next several months wondering “what if.”  Everywhere Milroe goes, he will be asked about the game against the Wolverines.  That is  a hard burden to carry going into next season.