With the Crimson Tide cruising to victory, coach Nick Saban decided to give some of his backups some playing time on the tail end of the rout. Freshman quarterback Ty Simpson was one of those backups, and he nearly made the play of his young college career before it quickly turned into a nightmare.
At the start of the fourth quarter with Alabama already up 52–10, Simpson took off on a run on third-and-9 deep in Crimson Tide territory.
Simpson broke free, and was on his way to an astonishing 79-yard touchdown, but he decided to only carry the ball for 78 of those 79 yards.
Luckily for Simpson, no one appeared to notice his mistake. The play was ruled a touchdown in real-time, and only overturned upon review. Since no player made a clear recovery of the ball once it was dead on the ground, Alabama was awarded possession at the one.
Alabama QB Ty Simpson dropped the ball before crossing the goal-line on this 79-yd TD run.— Alabama Crimson Tide | AL.com (@aldotcomTide) November 18, 2023
Nick Saban did not look happy. 😡 pic.twitter.com/123yIbpTXe
Somehow, this was the second such mistake in college football in as many weeks, as Washington linebacker Alphonzo Tuputala pulled off the same miscue while returning an interception for a potential score last Saturday against Utah.
The Crimson Tide scored on the next play, but unsurprisingly, Simpson wasn’t the one carrying the ball this time.
While it all worked out on the field, Saban clearly wasn't happy with the play after the game.
“Do I have to comment on that?” Saban asked when a reporter brought up the fumble in his post-game press conference. "Every coach says cross the goal line and hand the ball to the official." Despite the gaffe, Saban still complimented Simpson on his overall play.
With the win, the Crimson Tide move to 10–1 on the season, with a road trip for the Iron Bowl next week before a showdown against No. 1 Georgia in the SEC title game.