ATLANTA — Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron has had the most recognizable girlfriend in college football since January's rout of Notre Dame in the BCS championship.
This weekend, he had the sport's most talked-about toe.
McCarron was photographed Friday night in a walking boot, which led to plenty of speculation. He went out Saturday and completed 10 of 23 passes for 110 yards with a touchdown and an interception, and he was sacked four times.
"It's a little ridiculous, if you ask me," McCarron said about the attention. "I had an ingrown toenail, and it got stepped on, which made it worse. It got infected really bad, and I had it surgically removed. I had part of my nail cut off and then part of the skin on the side so that they could go in and get the hangnail out."
Right guard Anthony Steen roomed with McCarron on Friday night.
"We're sitting at the hotel, and it came on 'SportsCenter' about him wearing the boot," Steen said. "I just looked over at him and started smiling and trying to give him a hard time."
Thrice as nice
Alabama's three non-offensive touchdowns against the Hokies were the most by the Tide since they had three during a 31-0 win at Georgia in 1995. In that victory, Kevin Jackson had a 26-yard interception return, Deshea Townsend blocked a field goal that led to a 90-yard return and Cedric Samuel made a 23-yard fumble return.
Saturday also was the first time Virginia Tech allowed a kickoff return for a touchdown, a punt return for a touchdown and an interception return for a touchdown in Frank Beamer's 27 seasons as coach.
A very early bye
The Crimson Tide have an incredibly favorable SEC schedule, getting cross-divisional matchups with Kentucky and Tennessee, two teams that combined to go 1-15 in conference play a year ago. They also have byes before the Sept. 14 game at Texas A&M and the Nov. 9 hosting of LSU, but one downside is that the first bye is already here.
"I don't really like it, and I don't ever remember having it that way, but it is what it is," Tide coach Nick Saban said. "We're going to do what we need to do to take advantage of it and continue to develop our team and use the extra practice dates to try to improve and prepare for the opponents that we have down the road. We've known it's going to be this way for a long time, and we have a plan for it."
Alabama extended its series lead to 12-1 over the Hokies, with the only loss occurring at the inaugural Music City Bowl in 1998 at Vanderbilt Stadium. ... Six Tide players made their first career starts: offensive linemen Arie Kouandjio, Ryan Kelly and Austin Shepherd; defensive lineman Jeoffrey Pagan; defensive back Jarrick Williams; and true freshman long snapper Cole Mazza. ... Alabama has scored in 157 games, the longest streak in program history, since being blanked by Auburn 9-0 in 2000. ... Junior left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio was flagged twice for holding. ... Kellen Williams played most of the second half at left guard, replacing Arie Kouandjio. ... Freshman tailbacks Altee Tenpenny and Derrick Henry each had an initial carry that went for lost yardage. .. The 2014 Chick-fil-A Classic will consist of two games, with Ole Miss taking on Boise State and Alabama facing West Virginia.
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...