Hentges talks about near-catch, matchup with Clemson in semis

FILE - Hale Hentges and Alabama will face Clemson on New Year's Day in the Sugar Bowl. (University of Alabama athletics)

Hale Hentges had just made Alabama's version of the The Catch, the latest and greatest play in the amazing series of Alabama-Auburn football.

Goose bumps for the 2015 Helias graduate and his followers.

But upon further review ...

The play came on 3rd and 9 from the Auburn 17 late in the third quarter of the Nov. 25 game at Auburn, when Jalen Hurts threw a pass to a well-covered Calvin Ridley near the goal line.

"They always tell us to keep our eye on the ball when it's in the air and run towards it," said Hentges, a junior Alabama tight end, "because you never know what's going to happen."

Well, what happened was the ball was deflected high in the air.

"I started running towards it and the tip, it was just kind of perfectly laying up there," Hentges said. "I thought I'd caught it."

So did the officials ... touchdown!

Hentges' heroic haul just inches from the turf appeared to give the Crimson Tide a 21-20 lead with one minute left in the third quarter. Then, the review.

No touchdown --- the ball touched the ground as Hentges tried to secure it.

"I guess I didn't have my hands close enough together," he said. "I guess it nicked the ground, but I thought it didn't. But when I went back and watched the tape, it was pretty clear it did.

"It would have been talked about a lot this year if we would have gone on to win the game. It would have fit right into Iron Bowl history, because there are always plays that shouldn't happen that end up happening.

"But the football is a weird-shaped little ball, it doesn't always fit in your hands like it should. You think you've just made an unbelievable play, then you realize it's fourth down and you're going out there for a field goal."

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