In a game where Alabama had three uncharacteristic turnovers, gave up more points than it had since the 2010 Iron Bowl, and lost control of its destiny; there was one very bright spot.
Junior defensive back John Fulton stepped up in a big way.
Saban had Alabama’s defense lining up in the Nickel package all day to match up with Texas A&M’s offense, which gave Fulton more playing time than usual.
[Rumor mill: Derek Dooley reportedly out at Tennessee]
He made the most of his opportunity on Saturday. Most of the Crimson Tide defense struggled to slow down the Aggies’ blitzkrieg attack, but John Fulton stood strong.
Fulton had four solo tackles (five total), but his real contribution was his four passes defended. Two of those prevented A&M from scoring and kept Alabama’s hopes alive.
A&M’s Johnny Manziel completed 24-of-31 passes against Alabama, which could have been a near perfect 28-of-31 without Fulton patrolling the skies. Fulton was the only defensive back that could hold the Aggies’ receivers in check, and that speaks volumes about his talent and hard work this year.
Fulton has had to wait in the shadow of stars Dre Kirkpatrick and Dee Milliner during his three-year career at Alabama. Assuming he stays for his senior season, the starting cornerback job will be Fulton’s to lose. The knowledge he has gained and his experience this year will help him in being a shutdown corner in 2013.
If all the pieces fall into place for Alabama to make it to the BCS title game against Oregon or Kansas State, Fulton will be needed to stop another potent offense.
He now has proven that he has the skills necessary to take the challenge head on.
That’s enough to earn him a much-deserved Monday Man of the Hour.
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