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Iron Bowl QBs at very different stages of careers

Associated Press Modified: November 21, 2012 at 12:46 pm •  Published: November 21, 2012

Wallace was primarily used as the Wildcat quarterback and had only attempted one pass before taking over in the second half of a blowout loss to Texas A&M. Now, he'll be the third freshman quarterback to start for the Tigers in an Iron Bowl.

Gabe Gross, a baseball star who eventually went on to spend seven years in the major league, started the 1998 game after coach Terry Bowden had already left the team during a 3-8 season. The Tigers lost 31-17.

Ken Hobby started the 1981 game against the fourth-ranked Tide, and lost 28-17.

Wallace hasn't reached 200 yards passing in a game yet but has also thrown just two interceptions.

"He's done a really good job of managing the game for them," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "That's a good thing to me. Don't take that the wrong way. He's done a good job of throwing the football. He is doing all the quarterback runs that they do.

"And he's athletic enough to do it and makes good decisions about it. "

Wallace now faces a defense that yields the nation's fewest points and is second in yards allowed.

"I'm seeing everything you can imagine that a defense can run," Wallace, who was coached in high school by three-time Alabama All-American linebacker Woodrow Lowe, said. "They have an NFL-type defense. They bring everything. They do a lot of things. It's going to be kind of like Georgia, maybe a little more. Other than that, it's just one of those things where you've just got to take it a play at a time."

Wallace gets more designed runs of the two quarterbacks, but McCarron has shown an ability to escape the rush. He even scrambled for 24 yards against Western Carolina in his longest run of the season.

Saban made it clear before the play was even over that's not his role — especially in blowout wins.

"He told me he was screaming for me to get out of bounds the whole time," McCarron said. "And I kept going. I came off after we scored on that long drive, came over and he met me. I knew what he was about to say, so I said, 'I just wanted to show you who was the real athlete out of us two.' He started laughing and just walked away, couldn't do anything but smile."