Alabama kicker and former Southlake Carroll High School player Cade Foster was inundated with support from teammates and thousands of fans on social media after missing two field goal attempts and having a third blocked in the Crimson Tide's loss to Auburn.
The initial negative backlash after Saturday's 34-28 defeat mostly turned supportive by Sunday. A fan page titled "Bama fans supporting Cade Foster" was started on Facebook after the game and was approaching 40,000 "likes" by Sunday afternoon. It included a message that negative posts would be deleted.
Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron posted on Twitter that "we win & lose as a team. If u blame this on 1 guy U aren't a true fan!"
Linebacker C.J. Mosley was even more emphatic with a tweet urging "fake" and "spoiled" fans to "stop sending threats to my teammates."
Auburn wound up winning on the final play on Chris Davis' 100-yard return of a missed 57-yard field goal attempt by Adam Griffith, who tried the potential game-winning kick in place of Foster.
The loss likely doomed Alabama's chances of making history with a third consecutive national title.
Foster, a senior, had been 11 of 12 on field goal attempts this season before the Iron Bowl. One of his misses came after he had to re-kick when a false start penalty negated his 28-yarder, and two others were 44-yarders.
The Tide was stopped short on a fourth-and-1 from Auburn's 13 after going for it instead of sending Foster out to try to give Alabama a 31-21 lead with about five minutes to play.
Some fans reacted angrily to Foster on his Twitter account in the game's aftermath. One tweet urged him to "drink bleach" and another said: "Cade foster I'm gonna kill you and your family just FYI."
The tone changed dramatically when calmer heads prevailed Sunday.
Blogger Kaitlin Goins, who said she is a 20-year-old Alabama student, posted a letter that included apologies to Foster for his treatment.
"I want to apologize for fans `booing' you," Goins wrote in a widely circulated post. "I want to apologize for the hateful comments. I want to apologize for the death threats. I want to apologize for the future interviews. I want to apologize for the future comments.
"But mostly, I want to apologize because your fan base did not stand behind you when you needed us the most."
Foster has rebounded from a rough game in the national spotlight before. He missed three long field goal tries in 2011 against No. 1 LSU when second-ranked Bama lost 9-6 in overtime.
Former Alabama kicker Leigh Tiffin watched the Auburn game on TV and said he's "sure nobody feels worse today than Cade Foster." Tiffin said some criticism comes with the position.
"The cruelty and a lot of the things are said in the heat of the moment after the game," said Tiffin, an All-American on the Tide's 2009 national championship team. "Anybody that plays the position is going to have to take flak when they don't perform up to standards. You've just got to understand that most of the people truly don't have a full appreciation for what's involved in the position."
Missouri kicker Andrew Baggett received nasty tweets after missing a short field goal attempt in overtime against South Carolina, including one that said "go kill yourself everyone in Missouri hates you."
The Tigers rebounded and will face Auburn on Saturday in the SEC championship game. Foster will get only one more game in his Alabama career.
Tiffin's toughest game at Alabama might have come in an overtime loss to Arkansas. But the stakes weren't nearly so high, and he was a freshman with plenty of time to gain seasoning and redemption.
"Cade's situation is unique and it's extraordinarily tough, I'm sure," Tiffin said. "I don't really know exactly what that feels like. I've certainly had a bad game in my career, but never with those sort of mistakes and not at the end of my career."