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Top 10 Bama Stories of 2006: Cotton Bowl Victory

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I've decided to recap the Top 10 Bama stories of '06 in chronological order. Also, just because it's "Top 10," doesn't mean they're all good. Without any further introduction....

JANUARY 2
DALLAS, TEXAS
COTTON BOWL
ALABAMA 13, TEXAS TECH 10


Celebrating "The Wounded Duck"

That kick. That horrifically ugly, yet somehow gloriously, amazingly accurate kick.

"The Wounded Duck" as it has since been labeled certainly won't go down in history as the equal of "The Kick," but it helped accomplish a few feats in addition to winning the game. It marked the 28th time Alabama registered 10 or more wins in a season (an NCAA record) as well as giving the Tide its 30th bowl win in 53 appearances (both NCAA records as well.) It was also the first time the Cotton Bowl was won with a field goal as time expired.

The game pitted the incredibly explosive Texas Tech offense against an even more incredibly stingy Crimson Tide defense. Tech had been earning over 400 yards per game through the air that season and Bama held them to a season low 226. Alabama maintained possession for an impressive 38 minutes and 58 seconds to keep the dynamic and quick striking Red Raider offense on the sidelines.

On their second play from scrimmage, Croyle completed a 78 yard screen pass to Keith Brown for a touchdown (Brown finished the game with 5 catches for 141 yards), but that was the last time the men in Crimson would find the endzone that day. Both teams also had field goals blocked. One peculiar thing I remember from the FOX broadcast was a stat put up on the screen, "Number of QBs knocked out of the game: 1" after the stout Tide defense sidelined starting QB Cody Hodges. Hodges returned to the game, but was visibly in pain and unable to clinch the win for Tech.

It was great way to start 2006. None of us knew then that we were watching Mike Shula coach his last bowl game at Alabama.

Game highlights: