For much of the fourth quarter last weekend, Bryant-Denny Stadium resembled one of the local dive bars down the street on Alabama’s campus. Plumes of cigar smoke billowed out of the stands as the Crimson Tide put the finishing touches on a 52-24 victory over Tennessee, extending its winning streak to 15 straight games against the Volunteers.
A waft of victory cigar could be smelled all the way up in the press box as fans ignored the stadium’s no-smoking policy for the special occasion. Down on the field, the celebration didn’t go unnoticed by Alabama players, who polished off victory amidst a veil of smoke.
“It was very noticeable,” tight end Cameron Latu said when asked Tuesday about the late-game environment. “There was a lot of smoke everywhere.”
Added offensive lineman Evan Neal: “It was like a bonfire man. I almost got a headache.”
The starting left tackle isn’t complaining though.
“I enjoy the secondhand smoke, I’m not gonna lie,” Neal said. “Get a little nicotine buzz before we got to smoke a cigar.”
Sophomore defensive back Malachi Moore also enjoyed his first home victory over Tennessee but admitted the smoke did cause a few minor complications for him on the field.
“To be honest, to me it was a little hard because I have asthma and stuff, so I was out there coughing,” Moore said. “It was getting in my lungs a little bit and things like that. But it was cool. It was cool to see the — that was my first time experiencing that in Bryant-Denny, and it was cool to see all the fans excited that we was fixin’ to win.”
Following the win, Alabama players joined in on the fun as several of them sprinted back onto the field out of the locker room to light up cigars with the remaining Crimson Tide faithful. From there, players posed for photos with their respective position groups before making their way toward the student section in the far end zone.
“That’s always something we’ve done when we have some cigar time in the locker room,” Robinson said. “Some guys do take the field again and take pictures and enjoy that time together and try to enjoy that time with the fans, also. It’s just a special rivalry to the Alabama fans and the players so we want to just have fun with it while we can.”
Alabama has an open date on its schedule this weekend as players will get the opportunity to rest their bodies — and their lungs — before hosting LSU on Nov. 6.