Originally created 01/03/06

Tide kicker makes up for miscues



DALLAS - The Alabama defense did its job against the Texas Tech offense. So did Brodie Croyle and the Crimson Tide offense.

Kicker Jamie Christensen didn't - until it mattered most.

Shaking off a miss from 39 yards and a block from 38, Christensen barely made a low, spinning line drive from a career-best 45 yards as time expired, giving No. 13 Alabama a 13-10 victory over No. 18 Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl on Monday.

The entire stadium went silent as Christensen's kick headed toward the bottom left corner of the goalpost. When the official immediately under it threw up his arms to signal the kick was good, one teammate lifted Christensen into the air and a wild celebration began.

It was a bizarre scene: The Crimson Tide circling the field looking for people to hug, while everyone on the Red Raiders' side of the field was so stunned they weren't moving.

This was the first time in the 70-year history of the Cotton Bowl that the game was decided by a last-second field goal. The only other time the winning points were scored as time ran out was in 1979, when an ill Joe Montana threw a tying touchdown pass and the ensuing extra point gave Notre Dame a 35-34 victory over Houston.

Alabama won its 30th bowl game in 53 tries, both extending the school's NCAA records. This one made the Tide 10-2, marking the 28th time they've hit double digits, extending another record.

Texas Tech (9-3) came in with the nation's top passing game at 403.6 yards per game, but was held to a season-low 226 against an Alabama defense that was allowing a national-best 10.7 points per game.

Red Raiders quarterback Cody Hodges was limping badly but connected with Jarrett Hicks, who worked his way past two defenders into the end zone for the tying score with 2:56 left.

Croyle then moved Alabama 58 yards in 10 plays to set up Christensen's winning kick.

Officials would not describe Hodges' injury, but an Associated Press photographer heard him tell Alabama coach Mike Shula, "I have a torn ACL."