McCarron’s grown a lot since four passes in 2010 Iron Bowl

Take a break from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and read a little more about Alabama football and Saturday’s Iron Bowl game with Auburn. Today we examine AJ McCarron’s growth.

TUSCALOOSA — Just 51 seconds and 81 yards separated AJ McCarron from immortality.

Thrust into his first Iron Bowl a year ago by Greg McElroy’s head-spinning concussion, the Alabama redshirt freshman had to grow up fast.

Four incomplete passes later, McCarron and the Tide watched Auburn take a knee for a 28-27 win that will certainly play a factor when the rivals reunite Saturday.

Now a sophomore and 11 starts into his third season, a matured McCarron leads No. 2 Alabama (10-1, 6-1 SEC) into a BCS knockout game with Auburn (7-4, 4-3).

Alabama coach Nick Saban said McCarron has used his 11 starts this year to become a better quarterback and leader on the field.

Entering last season’s Iron Bowl cold, McCarron’s didn’t face favorable circumstances in the closing minute. Injured starting receiver Darius Hanks was sidelined and Julio Jones was hobbled, so several second-teamers also were forced into action.

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