29 November 2009
Here are a few great Bama drives. This is not intended to be an all-inclusive encyclopedia, and the time frame examined is my own memory, so if we're missing one of your favorites, please let us know in the comments.
1965 - Alabama 17, Ole Miss 16
Steve Sloan kept Alabama's second consecutive national championship season alive with an 89-yard touchdown drive in the waning moments to top Ole Miss. After the Rebels took a 16-7 fourth quarter lead, Bama's David Ray kicked a 37-yard field goal, the Tide D held, and Alabama took over on its own 11 with 7:33 remaining. Sloan capped the drive with a 9-yard run.
1966 - Alabama 11, Tennessee 10
A 14-play, 74-yard drive on soggy Shield-Watkins Field in Knoxville led to a Steve Davis chip shot with 3:23 remaining to give the Tide the lead for the first time in the game. Tennessee drove to the Bama 3, but a last-second field goal was wide right, allowing the Tide to post an 11-0 season - later to be denied its third consecutive national championship in favor of a Notre Dame team that ran out the clock on a tie in its final game against Michigan State.
1969 - Alabama 33, Ole Miss 32
In ABC's first-ever prime-time regular season football telecast, Alabama overcame a legendary performance from Archie Manning, who passed for 432 yards and rushed for 108 in defeat. After Manning hit Vernon Studdard for 42 yards to the Tide 22 and then ran it in himself in two plays to take the lead with 7:15 left, Scott Hunter calmly directed an 11-play, 80-yard drive for the win. On the drive, Hunter was 8-8 for 74 yards and the game-winning 15-yard TD strike to George Ranager.
1975 - Alabama 8, Florida State 7
The Seminoles brought a 16-game losing streak into Denny Stadium - and almost ended it against one of the nation's top teams. Playing without injured quarterback Richard Todd, the Tide offense spluttered all game against the hapless ‘Noles. But when FSU coach Darrell Mudra took an intentional safety on 4th and 26 from the FSU 5 with 1:27 left, the margin was only 7-5. Third-string Tide QB Jack O'Rear then completed his only pass of the game, a 32-yarder to Ozzie Newsome, to set up Bucky Berry's game-winning field goal with 33 seconds on the board.
1985 - Alabama 20, Georgia 16
After Georgia took the lead for the first time with less than a minute to play on a blocked-punt touchdown, Mike Shula's Tide took over on its own 29 with only 50 seconds left and no timeouts. Bama only needed 35 of those 50 seconds to go the 71 yards in five plays, including the last 17 on a Shula-to-Al-Bell strike over the middle for the win.
1985 - Alabama 25, Auburn 23
As a USA Today writer put it at the time, this game needed to go in a time capsule so that historians of the future would know what college football was really about. The game featured zero penalties, zero turnovers, a heroic performance from the iconic Bo Jackson playing with two broken ribs, and as exciting a game-winning drive as you could ever hope to see. Trailing 23-22 and with no timeouts remaining, the Tide faced 3rd and 18 on its own 12-yard-line with 37 seconds left before Mike Shula calmly engineered Bama into scoring position for Van Tiffin's monumental 52-yard game-winner. The key play was a 19-yard pass to Greg Richardson, who drug an Auburn defender to the sidelines to stop the clock and make the field goal possible.
There was no national or even conference championship at stake, but this game should be in the discussion when the subject of the greatest college football game ever played comes up.
1993 - Alabama 17, Tennessee 17
The defending national champion Crimson Tide brought a 25-game winning streak into the game, but it took a memorable ending for the home team to escape from Legion Field with a tie. Without a touchdown in the entire game, Bama took over on its own 17 with 1:44 left. Jay Barker completed five straight passes to lead the Tide down the field, then connected on a 17-yard completion to Kevin Lee just short of the UT goal line on 4th and 10. After Barker snuck it in, the Tide lined up with David Palmer at QB on the two-point attempt. Palmer swept right and found the end zone for the sweetest tie in Tide football history.
1996 - Alabama 24, Auburn 23
After taking an early 17-0 lead, Alabama stood by while the Tigers reeled off 23 straight points to take a late 23-17 lead. But after Alabama took over on its own 26-yard-line with 2:14 left, Freddie Kitchens calmly maneuvered the Tide down the field, finding Dennis Riddle with a 6-yard dump pass on 3rd and goal with 26 seconds left. Jon Brock added the extra point and it was a Bama victory.
2007 - Alabama 41, Arkansas 38
Not only had it been a decade of mediocrity for Alabama, but it had been a decade of close loss after close loss after close loss, a decade when heroes in crimson were hard to find. But the Tide chalked up its first heroic victory in years in Nick Saban's third game at the Capstone. The Tide took over on its own 27, trailing 38-34 with 2:13 left, and marched 73 yards in nine plays. When Wilson found a leaping Matt Caddell in the back of the end zone from four yards eight, and with just eight seconds left on the clock, Tide fans finally had heroes again and the light at the end of the tunnel looked pretty bright.
2009 - Alabama 26, Auburn 21
This time around, it was a time-consuming 15-play, 79-yard drive that was calculated not only to put the Tide ahead, but to end the game, and it all but did so. Greg McElroy's four-yard play-action strike to Roy Upchurch put the Tide ahead for the first time in the game, but the methodical drive had already killed over seven minutes from the clock, drained the underdog Tigers of two of their timeouts, and left them with only 1:24 to score a game-winning touchdown. They didn't come close, and Bama's national title hopes remain alive.
|< Prev||Next >|