Alabama Crimson Tide football, 1970–79

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Contents: 1970197119721973197419751976197719781979


The 1970s were the most successful in the history of the Alabama football program. During the decade the teams won 3 national championships (1973, 1978, 1979) and dominated the SEC in an unprecedented manner, winning 8 titles in 10 years. The school posted back to back undefeated regular seasons in 1973 and 1974 and ended the decade in the midst of a school record 28-game winning streak. Alabama participated in a bowl every season during the decade, part of a school record 25 straight bowl appearances.

1970[edit]

1970 Alabama Crimson Tide football
Bluebonnet Bowl, T 24–24 vs. Oklahoma
Conference Southeastern Conference
1970 record 6–5–1 (3–4 SEC)
Head coach Paul "Bear" Bryant
Captain Danny Gilbert
Captain Dave Brungard
Home stadium Denny Stadium
Legion Field
Seasons
« 1969 1971 »
1970 SEC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#7 LSU 5 0 0     9 3 0
#4 Tennessee 4 1 0     11 1 0
#10 Auburn 5 2 0     9 2 0
#20 Ole Miss 4 2 0     7 4 0
Florida 3 3 0     7 4 0
Georgia 3 3 0     5 5 0
Alabama 3 4 0     6 5 1
Mississippi State 3 4 0     6 5 0
Vanderbilt 1 5 0     4 7 0
Kentucky 0 7 0     2 9 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll


Alabama started the 1970s much as it ended the 1960s, going 6–5–1 after going 6–5 the year before. Southern Cal traveled to Birmingham for the opener and pounded the Tide 42–21, racking up 484 yards rushing.[1] Auburn and LSU beat Alabama again, and Tennessee beat the Tide for the fourth year in a row. In the Tennessee game, quarterback Scott Hunter threw five interceptions and the team threw eight, both all-time Alabama records.[2]

Date Opponent# Rank# Site Result Attendance
September 12 #3 USC* #16 Legion FieldBirmingham, AL L 21–42   72,175
September 19 Virginia Tech* Legion Field • Birmingham, AL W 51–18   53,958
September 26 #13 Florida Denny Stadium • Tuscaloosa, AL W 46–15   58,138
October 3 at #7 Ole Miss #17 Mississippi Veterans Memorial StadiumJackson, MS L 23–48   46,812
October 10 Vanderbilt Denny StadiumTuscaloosa, AL W 35–11   49,038
October 17 at #14 Tennessee Neyland StadiumKnoxville, TN (Third Saturday in October) L 0–24   64,947
October 24 at #15 Houston* AstrodomeHouston, TX W 30–21   46,869
October 31 Mississippi Statedagger Denny Stadium • Tuscaloosa, AL W 35–6   58,843
November 7 #11 LSU #19 Legion Field • Birmingham, AL L 9–14   60,371
November 14 at Miami* Miami Orange BowlMiami, FL W 32–8   25,469
November 28 vs. #11 Auburn Legion Field • Birmingham, AL (Iron Bowl) L 33-28   71,747
December 31 vs. #20 Oklahoma* AstrodomeHouston, TX (Bluebonnet Bowl) T 24–24   53,822
*Non-conference game. daggerHomecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll.

1971[edit]

1971 Alabama Crimson Tide football
SEC Champions
Orange Bowl, L 6–38 vs. Nebraska
Conference Southeastern Conference
Ranking
Coaches #2
AP #4
1971 record 11–1 (7–0 SEC)
Head coach Paul "Bear" Bryant
Captain Johnny Musso
Captain Robin Parkhouse
Home stadium Denny Stadium
Legion Field
Seasons
« 1970 1972 »
1971 SEC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#4 Alabama 7 0 0     11 1 0
#7 Georgia 5 1 0     11 1 0
#12 Auburn 5 1 0     9 2 0
#15 Ole Miss 4 2 0     10 2 0
Tennessee 4 2 0     10 2 0
LSU 3 2 0     9 3 0
Vanderbilt 1 5 0     4 6 1
Florida 1 6 0     4 7 0
Kentucky 1 6 0     3 8 0
Mississippi State 1 7 0     2 9 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll


Two big changes came to Alabama football in 1971. The first were Wilbur Jackson and John Mitchell. Jackson, signed in 1969 and a member of Alabama's freshman team in 1970 (freshman in those days were not eligible for the varsity), was the first ever black player given a football scholarship to Alabama.[3] John Mitchell, who made the team as a junior in 1971, was the first to actually play,[4] eight years after the Alabama student body was integrated.

The second was the wishbone offense. In the wishbone, a variant of the triple option, the quarterback lines up with a fullback and two tailbacks behind him, and on any play may keep the ball, hand off to the fullback, or pitch to a tailback. Passing is deemphasized. In the summer of 1971 Bryant flew to Texas to learn the wishbone from Darrell Royal, who won national championships in 1969 and 1970 after his offensive coordinator Emory Bellard invented the formation in 1968. Bryant came back to Alabama less than a month before the 1971 opener and announced that Bama was shifting to the wishbone. The change was a closely guarded secret, to the extent that the Tide switched back to practicing the passing game whenever a member of the media was present. Bama's switch to the wishbone came as a complete surprise for the opener against Southern Cal, which had humiliated the Tide one year before.[5] Alabama won the game, 17–10, and started the greatest run of success in the history of the program. Over the next eleven seasons, 1971–1981, Alabama won nine SEC titles and three national championships, and lost only four Southeastern conference games.

Alabama tore through the 1971 season to finish 11–0, with the Southern Cal win and a 14–7 win over LSU as the only close games. The season finale matched up a 10–0 Tide with a 9–0 Auburn team, the first[6] and only time that both teams have come into the Iron Bowl with perfect records. Alabama scored 17 points in the fourth quarter to break the game open and win 31–7.[7] However, the perfect season was ruined when Alabama took a 38–6 beating from the national champion Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Orange Bowl.

Date Opponent# Rank# Site Result Attendance
September 10 at #5 USC* #19 Los Angeles Memorial ColiseumLos Angeles, CA W 17–10   67,781
September 18 Southern Miss* #9 Denny StadiumTuscaloosa, AL W 42–6   52,701
September 25 at Florida #8 Florida FieldGainesville, FL W 38–0   61,832
October 2 Ole Miss #7 Legion FieldBirmingham, AL W 40–6   72,871
October 9 at Vanderbilt #6 Dudley FieldNashville, TN W 42–0   34,000
October 16 #14 Tennessee #4 Legion Field • Birmingham, AL (Third Saturday in October) W 32–15   73,828
October 23 Houston* #4 Denny Stadium • Tuscaloosa, AL W 34–20   56,939
October 30 at Mississippi State #4 Mississippi Veterans Memorial StadiumJackson, MS W 41–10   40,500
November 6 at #18 LSU #4 Tiger StadiumBaton Rouge, LA W 14–7   64,892
November 13 Miami*dagger #4 Denny Stadium • Tuscaloosa, AL W 31–3   57,313
November 27 vs. #5 Auburn #3 Legion Field • Birmingham, AL (Iron Bowl) W 31–7   68,861
January 1, 1972 vs. #1 Nebraska* #2 Miami Orange BowlMiami, FL (Orange Bowl) L 6–38   78,151
*Non-conference game. daggerHomecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll.

Tennessee[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Tennessee 7 0 0 8 15
Alabama 6 9 7 10 32
  • Date: October 16
  • Location: Legion Field • Birmingham, Alabama
  • Game attendance: 73,828

[8]



1972[edit]

1972 Alabama Crimson Tide football
SEC Champions
Cotton Bowl Classic, L 13–17 vs. Texas
Conference Southeastern Conference
Ranking
Coaches #4
AP #7
1972 record 10–2 (7–1 SEC)
Head coach Paul "Bear" Bryant
Captain Terry Davis
Captain John Mitchell
Home stadium Denny Stadium
Legion Field
Seasons
« 1971 1973 »
1972 SEC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#7 Alabama 7 1 0     10 2 0
#5 Auburn 6 1 0     10 1 0
#11 LSU 4 1 1     9 2 1
#8 Tennessee 4 2 0     10 2 0
Georgia 4 3 0     7 4 0
Florida 3 3 1     5 5 1
Ole Miss 2 5 0     5 5 0
Kentucky 2 5 0     3 8 0
Mississippi State 1 6 0     4 7 0
Vanderbilt 0 6 0     3 8 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll


Alabama won its first ten games of 1972 in just as dominant a manner as it did in 1971. The Tide had only one close game, on Oct. 21 against Tennessee, when they scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to pull out a 17–10 victory.[9]

Then came the season finale against Auburn. Auburn also had a very good team in 1972 (the Tigers had lost only once and were ranked ninth going into the game)[10] but Alabama dominated play, allowing Auburn only seven first downs and 80 yards of total offense for the entire game.[9] With about five minutes to go, leading 16–3,[10] Alabama lined up to punt. Bill Newton broke through and blocked Greg Gantt's punt, and Auburn's David Langner gathered up the ball and ran it in for a touchdown. That made the score 16–10. Alabama could get only one first down on the ensuing possession, and with 90 seconds to go[11] lined up to punt again. Again, Newton blocked the punt, and again, Langner scored the touchdown. Auburn won 17–16, and the game went down in infamy (from a Crimson Tide standpoint) as the "Punt Bama Punt" game. Auburn would not beat Alabama again for ten years. Bama followed that loss up with a loss to Texas in the Cotton Bowl Classic and finished the season 10–2.

Date Opponent# Rank# Site Result Attendance
September 9 Duke* #7 Legion FieldBirmingham, AL W 35–12   71,281
September 23 Kentucky #7 Legion Field • Birmingham, AL W 35–0   71,433
September 30 Vanderbilt #6 Denny StadiumTuscaloosa, AL W 48–21   56,179
October 7 at Georgia #4 Sanford StadiumAthens, GA W 25–7   60,013
October 14 Florida #3 Denny Stadium • Tuscaloosa, AL W 24–7   57,631
October 21 at #10 Tennessee #3 Neyland StadiumKnoxville, TN (Third Saturday in October) W 17–10   72,049
October 28 Southern Miss* #2 Legion Field • Birmingham, AL W 48–11   57,090
November 4 Mississippi State #2 Denny Stadium • Tuscaloosa, AL W 58–14   57,171
November 11 #6 LSU #2 Legion Field • Birmingham, AL W 35–21   72,039
November 18 Virginia Tech*dagger #2 Denny Stadium • Tuscaloosa, AL W 52–13   57,162
December 2 vs. #9 Auburn #2 Legion Field • Birmingham, AL (Iron Bowl) L 16–17   72,386
January 1, 1973 vs. #7 Texas* #4 Cotton BowlDallas, TX (Cotton Bowl Classic) L 13–17   70,000
*Non-conference game. daggerHomecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll.

1973[edit]

1973 Alabama Crimson Tide football
Coaches' Poll National Champions
SEC Champions
Sugar Bowl, L 23–24 vs. Notre Dame
Conference Southeastern Conference
Ranking
Coaches #1
AP #4
1973 record 11–1 (8–0 SEC)
Head coach Paul "Bear" Bryant
Captain Wilbur Jackson
Captain Chuck Strickland
Home stadium Denny Stadium
Legion Field
Seasons
« 1972 1974 »
1973 SEC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#4 Alabama 8 0 0     11 1 0
#13 LSU 5 1 0     9 3 0
Ole Miss 4 3 0     6 5 0
#19 Tennessee 3 3 0     8 4 0
Georgia 3 4 0     7 4 1
Florida 3 4 0     7 5 0
Kentucky 3 4 0     5 6 0
Auburn 2 5 0     6 6 0
Mississippi State 2 5 0     4 5 2
Vanderbilt 1 5 0     5 6 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll


In 1973 Alabama football enjoyed one of its most dominating seasons of all time. The Tide went 11–0 in the regular season, never winning a game by fewer than 14 points and scoring 35 points or more in eight of 11 games.[12] On September 22 Coach Bryant made his first trip to Lexington since leaving the Kentucky Wildcats after the 1953 season; Alabama won 28–14. Against Georgia, the Tide trailed 14–13 in the fourth quarter before rallying to win 28–14. Tennessee and Alabama were tied 21–21 going into the fourth quarter before Bama scored three unanswered touchdowns in the final period to win. In the Iron Bowl, Alabama earned a measure of revenge for the Punt Bama Punt game by beating Auburn 35–0.

Alabama was voted national champion by the UPI coaches poll on December 4, the Tide's fourth wire service national championship. Through the 1973 season, UPI voted before the bowl games, and Alabama still had the Sugar Bowl to play against undefeated Notre Dame. The game turned out to be a classic. Notre Dame checked into the locker room at halftime up 14–10, the big play coming on a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Each team scored a touchdown in the third quarter, leaving the Irish up 21–17 going into the fourth. Alabama took a 23–21 lead on a fleaflicker touchdown pass from running back Mike Strock back to quarterback Richard Todd, but kicker Bill Davis missed the extra point, leaving Alabama up by two. Notre Dame drove the ball downfield and kicked a 19-yard field goal to go up 24–23 with 4:26 to go. Bama could not answer, but the punt left Notre Dame backed up to their own goal. With time ticking away and Notre Dame facing a third and eight, Alabama had a chance to get the ball back in excellent field position, but Irish QB Tom Clements threw a 35-yard pass to tight end Robin Webber and Notre Dame held on to win the game and the AP national championship.[13][14][15]

Schedule[edit]

Date Opponent# Rank# Site Result Attendance
September 15 California* #6 Legion FieldBirmingham, AL W 66–0   71,119
September 22 at Kentucky #4 Commonwealth StadiumLexington, KY W 28–14   53,209
September 29 at Vanderbilt #5 Dudley FieldNashville, TN W 44–0   34,500
October 6 Georgia #3 Denny StadiumTuscaloosa, AL W 28–14   57,790
October 13 at Florida #3 Florida FieldGainesville, FL W 35–14   64,864
October 20 #10 Tennessee #2 Legion Field • Birmingham, AL (Third Saturday in October) W 42–21   72,226
October 27 Virginia Tech* #2 Denny Stadium • Tuscaloosa, AL W 77–6   57,009
November 3 at Mississippi State #2 Mississippi Veterans Memorial StadiumJackson, MS W 35–0   46,000
November 17 Miami (FL)*dagger #2 Denny Stadium • Tuscaloosa, AL W 43–13   58,404
November 22 at #7 LSU #2 Tiger StadiumBaton Rouge, LA W 21–7   67,748
December 1 vs. Auburn #1 Legion Field • Birmingham, AL (Iron Bowl) W 35–0   69,418
December 31 vs. #3 Notre Dame* #1 Tulane StadiumNew Orleans, LA (Sugar Bowl) L 23–24   85,161
*Non-conference game. daggerHomecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll.

1974[edit]

1974 Alabama Crimson Tide football
SEC Champions
Orange Bowl, L 11-13 vs. Notre Dame
Conference Southeastern Conference
Ranking
Coaches #2
AP #5
1974 record 11–1 (6–0 SEC)
Head coach Paul "Bear" Bryant
Captain Sylvester Croom
Captain Ricky Davis
Home stadium Denny Stadium
Legion Field
Seasons
« 1973 1975 »
1974 SEC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#5 Alabama 6 0 0     11 1 0
#8 Auburn 4 2 0     10 2 0
Georgia 4 2 0     6 6 0
#17 Mississippi State 3 3 0     9 3 0
#15 Florida 3 3 0     8 4 0
Kentucky 3 3 0     6 5 0
#20 Tennessee 2 3 1     7 3 2
Vanderbilt 2 3 1     7 3 2
LSU 2 4 0     5 5 1
Ole Miss 0 6 0     3 8 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll


1974 saw Alabama go through the regular season undefeated for the third time in four years. Strangely, Bama's closest game came against a Florida State team that entered their matchup with the Tide as losers of sixteen games in a row.[16] The Seminoles scored a touchdown in the first quarter and in the fourth quarter still had a 7–3 lead, but a safety and a field goal allowed Alabama to escape with an 8–7 victory.

The FSU game, a 21–16 victory over Maryland in the season opener, and a 17–13 win over Auburn were the only close games the Tide played all season.[17] The season finale was a rematch against Notre Dame, this time in the Orange Bowl. Notre Dame, ranked ninth going into the game,[18] beat Alabama again, 13–11. For the third time in four years, Bama followed up their 11–0 regular season with a bowl game loss. The Orange Bowl defeat left Bryant and the Tide 0–7–1 in their last eight bowl games.

Date Opponent# Rank# Site Result Attendance
September 14 at #14 Maryland* #3 Byrd StadiumCollege Park, MD W 21–16   54,412
September 21 Southern Miss* #5 Legion FieldBirmingham, AL W 52–0   65,181
September 28 Vanderbilt #4 Denny StadiumTuscaloosa, AL W 23–10   58,419
October 5 at Ole Miss #3 Mississippi Veterans Memorial StadiumJackson, MS W 35–21   45,500
October 12 Florida State* #3 Denny Stadium • Tuscaloosa, AL W 8–7   58,394
October 19 at Tennessee #4 Neyland StadiumKnoxville, TN (Third Saturday in October) W 28–6   74,286
October 26 TCU* #4 Legion Field • Birmingham, AL W 41–3   63,191
November 2 #17 Mississippi Statedagger #4 Denny Stadium • Tuscaloosa, AL W 35–0   59,069
November 9 LSU #3 Legion Field • Birmingham, AL W 30–0   70,364
November 16 at Miami* #2 Miami Orange BowlMiami, FL W 28–7   26,265
November 29 vs. #7 Auburn #2 Legion Field • Birmingham, AL (Iron Bowl) W 17–13   71,224
January 1, 1975 vs. #9 Notre Dame* #2 Miami Orange Bowl • Miami, FL (Orange Bowl) L 11–13   71,801
*Non-conference game. daggerHomecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll.

1975[edit]

1975 Alabama Crimson Tide football
Sugar Bowl Champions
SEC Champions
Sugar Bowl, W 13–6 vs. Penn State
Conference Southeastern Conference
Ranking
Coaches #3
AP #3
1975 record 11–1 (6–0 SEC)
Head coach Paul "Bear" Bryant
Captain Richard Todd
Home stadium Bryant-Denny Stadium
Legion Field
Seasons
« 1974 1976 »
1975 SEC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#3 Alabama 6 0 0     11 1 0
Florida 5 1 0     9 3 0
#19 Georgia 5 1 0     9 3 0
Ole Miss 5 1 0     6 5 0
Tennessee 3 3 0     7 5 0
Vanderbilt 2 4 0     7 4 0
Mississippi State 1 4 1     6 4 1
Auburn 1 4 1     3 6 2
LSU 1 5 0     4 7 0
Kentucky 0 6 0     2 8 1
† – Conference champion
  • Mississippi State later forfeited all 1975 wins and one tie due to NCAA violations.
    Rankings from AP Poll


For the first time since 1970, Alabama lost its season opener, falling 20–7 to Missouri in a game where the Tide had only 118 yards total offense.[19] Bama bounced back from that loss and won every other game of the 1975 season by double digits. The Tide won its fifth straight SEC title (an all-time conference record) and ran its conference winning streak to 22 games. Alabama ended the campaign with its first bowl victory in nine seasons, beating Penn State 13–6.

1975 also saw the renaming of Alabama's on campus stadium, after the Alabama state legislature voted to amend the name to "Bryant-Denny Stadium" in honor of Coach Bryant.

Date Opponent# Rank# Site Result Attendance
September 8 Missouri* #2 Legion FieldBirmingham, AL L 7–20   63,000
September 20 Clemson* #14 Bryant-Denny StadiumTuscaloosa, AL W 56–0   58,383
September 27 at Vanderbilt #11 Dudley FieldNashville, TN W 40–7   34,000
October 4 Ole Miss #9 Legion Field • Birmingham, AL W 32–6   70,000
October 11 Washington* #7 Bryant-Denny Stadium • Tuscaloosa, AL W 52–0   58,000
October 18 #16 Tennessee #6 Legion Field • Birmingham, AL (Third Saturday in October) W 30–7   72,000
October 25 TCU* #6 Legion Field • Birmingham, AL W 45–0   52,000
November 1 at Mississippi State #6 Mississippi Veterans Memorial StadiumJackson, MS W 21–10   46,000
November 8 at LSU #5 Tiger StadiumBaton Rouga, LA W 23–10   65,047
November 15 Southern Miss*dagger #5 Bryant-Denny Stadium • Tuscaloosa, AL W 27–6   58,000
November 29 vs. Auburn #4 Legion Field • Birmingham, AL (Iron Bowl) W 28–0   63,500
December 31 vs. #8 Penn State* #3 Louisiana SuperdomeNew Orleans, LA (Sugar Bowl) W 13–6   75,212
*Non-conference game. daggerHomecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll.

1976[edit]

1976 Alabama Crimson Tide football
Liberty Bowl Champions
Liberty Bowl, W 36–6 vs. UCLA
Conference Southeastern Conference
Ranking
Coaches #9
AP #11
1976 record 9–3 (5–2 SEC)
Head coach Paul "Bear" Bryant
Captain Thad Flanagan
Captain Charley Hannah
Home stadium Bryant-Denny Stadium
Legion Field
Seasons
« 1975 1977 »
1976 SEC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#10 Georgia 5 1 0     10 2 0
#11 Alabama 5 2 0     9 3 0
#20 Mississippi State 4 2 0     9 2 0
Florida 4 2 0     8 4 0
Kentucky 4 2 0     8 4 0
Ole Miss 3 4 0     5 6 0
LSU 2 4 0     6 4 1
Tennessee 2 4 0     6 5 0
Auburn 2 4 0     3 8 0
Vanderbilt 0 6 0     2 9 0
† – Conference champion
  • Mississippi State later forfeited all 1976 wins due to NCAA violations.
    Rankings from AP Poll


Alabama was not quite as dominant in 1976 as it had been the previous five years. The season-opening 10–7 loss to Mississippi was Alabama's first conference loss since the Punt Bama Punt game in 1972. On October 2 the Georgia Bulldogs held Bama to 86 total yards;[20] the 21–0 loss was the first time Alabama had been shut out since 1970. For the first time since that same 1970 season, Bama failed to win the SEC title. Highlights of the 1976 season included a 38–7 victory over Auburn and a Liberty Bowl win over UCLA.

Date Opponent# Rank# Site Result Attendance
September 10 at Ole Miss #6 Mississippi Veterans Memorial StadiumJackson, MS L 7–10   48,500
September 18 SMU* #14 Legion FieldBirmingham, AL W 56–3   63,203
September 25 Vanderbilt #13 Bryant-Denny StadiumTuscaloosa, AL W 42–14   58,414
October 2 at #6 Georgia #10 Sanford StadiumAthens, GA L 0–21   60,200
October 9 Southern Miss* Legion Field • Birmingham, AL W 24–8   45,202
October 16 at Tennessee #20 Neyland StadiumKnoxville, TN (Third Saturday in October) W 20–13   82,417
October 23 Louisville*dagger #18 Bryant-Denny Stadium • Tuscaloosa, AL W 24–3   58,414
October 30 #18 Mississippi State #17 Bryant-Denny Stadium • Tuscaloosa, AL W 34–17   53,617
November 6 LSU #15 Legion Field • Birmingham, AL W 28–17   71,018
November 13 at #18 Notre Dame* #10 Notre Dame StadiumSouth Bend, IN L 18–21   59,075
November 27 vs. Auburn #18 Legion Field • Birmingham, AL (Iron Bowl) W 38–7   70,303
December 20 vs. #7 UCLA* #16 Liberty Bowl Memorial StadiumMemphis, TN (Liberty Bowl) W 36–6   52,736
*Non-conference game. daggerHomecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll.

Game notes[edit]

Tennessee[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
#20 Alabama 6 0 7 7 20
Tennessee 0 6 7 0 13

at Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, Tennessee

  • Date: Saturday, October 17
  • Game attendance: 82,417
  • Recap

Alabama scored the winning touchdown with less than six minutes remaining, set up by two QB Jack O'Rear's 15-yard runs, one to start the drive and one prior to Calvin Culliver's touchdown. The score came just moments after failing to punch it in from the Tennessee one. The winning drive covered 43 yards in five plays after forcing the Vols to punt from deep in their own territory. It was Alabama's sixth straight win versus Tennessee.[21]


1977[edit]

1977 Alabama Crimson Tide football
Sugar Bowl Champions
SEC Champions
Sugar Bowl, W 35–6 vs. Ohio State
Conference Southeastern Conference
Ranking
Coaches #2
AP #2
1977 record 11–1 (7–0 SEC)
Head coach Paul "Bear" Bryant
Captain Mike Tucker
Captain Ozzie Newsome
Home stadium Bryant-Denny Stadium
Legion Field
Seasons
« 1976 1978 »
1977 SEC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#2 Alabama 7 0 0     11 1 0
#6 Kentucky 6 0 0     10 1 0
LSU 4 2 0     8 4 0
Auburn 4 2 0     5 6 0
Florida 3 3 0     6 4 1
Georgia 2 4 0     5 6 0
Mississippi State 2 4 0     5 6 0
Ole Miss 2 5 0     5 6 0
Tennessee 1 5 0     4 7 0
Vanderbilt 0 6 0     2 9 0
† – Conference champion
  • Kentucky ineligible for SEC championship due to NCAA probation. Mississippi State later forfeited all 1977 wins due to NCAA violations.
    Rankings from AP Poll


In 1977 Alabama returned to its former place atop the SEC standings, going 11–1 on the year. The only blemish was a 31–24 loss to Nebraska in which quarterback Jeff Rutledge threw five interceptions.[22] On October 8, Alabama beat Southern Cal 21–20, turning away a Trojan two-point conversion in the fourth quarter to seal the victory. Bama beat Tennessee for the seventh year in a row and Auburn for the fifth year in a row, and finished up with a 35–6 victory over Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl.

Date Opponent# Rank# Site Result Attendance
September 10 Ole Miss #6 Legion FieldBirmingham, AL W 34–13   74,324
September 17 at Nebraska* #4 Memorial StadiumLincoln, NE L 24–31   75,899
September 24 at Vanderbilt #10 Dudley FieldNashville, TN W 24–12   34,694
October 1 Georgia #10 Bryant-Denny StadiumTuscaloosa, AL W 18–10   60,210
October 8 at #1 USC* #7 Los Angeles Memorial ColiseumLos Angeles, CA W 21–20   63,140
October 15 Tennessee #4 Legion Field • Birmingham, AL (Third Saturday in October) W 24–10   71,000
October 22 Louisville*dagger #3 Bryant-Denny Stadium • Tuscaloosa, AL W 55–6   60,210
October 29 at Mississippi State #2 Mississippi Veterans Memorial StadiumJackson, MS W 37–7   47,500
November 5 at #18 LSU #2 Tiger StadiumBaton Rouga, LA W 24–3   65,377
November 12 Miami* #2 Bryant-Denny Stadium • Tuscaloosa, AL W 36–0   57,422
November 26 vs. Auburn #2 Legion Field • Birmingham, AL (Iron Bowl) W 48–21   69,721
January 2, 1978 vs. #9 Ohio State* #3 Louisiana SuperdomeNew Orleans, LA (Sugar Bowl) W 35–6   76,811
*Non-conference game. daggerHomecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll.

Game notes[edit]

Sugar Bowl[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Ohio State 0 0 0 6 6
Alabama 0 13 8 14 35

[23]


1978[edit]

1978 Alabama Crimson Tide football
AP Poll National Champions
Sugar Bowl Champions
SEC Champions
Sugar Bowl, W 14–7 vs. Penn State
Conference Southeastern Conference
Ranking
Coaches #2
AP #1
1978 record 11–1 (6–0 SEC)
Head coach Paul "Bear" Bryant
Captain Marty Lyons
Captain Jeff Rutledge
Captain Tony Nathan
Home stadium Bryant-Denny Stadium
Legion Field
Seasons
« 1977 1979 »
1978 SEC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#1 Alabama 6 0 0     11 1 0
#16 Georgia 5 0 1     9 2 1
Auburn 3 2 1     6 4 1
LSU 3 3 0     8 4 0
Tennessee 3 3 0     5 5 1
Florida 3 3 0     4 7 0
Mississippi State 2 4 0     6 5 0
Ole Miss 2 4 0     5 6 0
Kentucky 2 4 0     4 6 1
Vanderbilt 0 6 0     2 9 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll

The only blemish on Alabama's record in 1978 was a loss to Southern California. Bama turned the ball over six times in that game.[24] The next week's 51–28 victory over Vanderbilt started what became an all-time school record 28-game winning streak.

The 1979 Sugar Bowl against Penn State would go down as a classic.[14] Alabama scored in the second quarter, then Penn State answered in the third, then Alabama took a 14–7 lead on a touchdown set up by a 62-yard punt return. Penn State had a chance to tie in the fourth, but quarterback Chuck Fusina threw an interception into the Alabama end zone.[25] Then Alabama had a chance to put the game away, but fumbled the football back to Penn State at the Nittany Lion 19-yard-line with four minutes to go.[14] Penn State drove to a first and goal at the Alabama eight. On third and goal from the one, Fusina asked Bama linebacker Marty Lyons "What do you think we should do?", and Lyons answered "You'd better pass."[26] On third down, Penn State was stopped inches short of the goal line. On fourth down, Penn State was stopped again, Barry Krauss meeting Mike Guman and throwing him back for no gain. Alabama held on for a 14–7 victory. The Crimson Tide split the national championship, winning the AP poll while Southern California won the UPI Coaches' poll. It was Alabama's fifth wire service national championship.

Alabama's costumed "Big Al" mascot officially debuted this season, appearing at the Sugar Bowl.

Date Opponent# Rank# Site Result Attendance
September 2 #10 Nebraska* #1 Legion FieldBirmingham, AL W 20–3   77,023
September 16 at #11 Missouri* #1 Memorial StadiumColumbia, MO W 38–20   73,655
September 23 #7 USC* #1 Legion Field • Birmingham, AL L 14–24   77,313
September 30 Vanderbilt #7 Bryant-Denny StadiumTuscaloosa, AL W 51–28   56,910
October 7 at Washington* #8 Husky StadiumSeattle, WA W 20–17   60,975
October 14 Florida #7 Bryant-Denny Stadium • Tuscaloosa, AL W 23–12   60,210
October 21 at Tennessee #4 Neyland StadiumKnoxville, TN (Third Saturday in October) W 30–17   85,436
October 28 Virginia Tech*dagger #3 Bryant-Denny Stadium • Tuscaloosa, AL W 35–0   60,210
November 4 Mississippi State #3 Legion Field • Birmingham, AL W 35–14   74,217
November 11 #10 LSU #3 Legion Field • Birmingham, AL W 31–10   76,831
December 2 vs. Auburn #2 Legion Field • Birmingham, AL (Iron Bowl) W 34–16   79,218
January 1, 1979 vs. #1 Penn State* #2 Louisiana SuperdomeNew Orleans, LA (Sugar Bowl) W 14–7   76,824
*Non-conference game. daggerHomecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll.

1979[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 1970 game recaps
  2. ^ All-time records
  3. ^ Dunnavant, Keith. Coach: The Life and Times of Paul "Bear" Bryant. 2005, St. Martin's Press, ISBN 0-312-34876-2, p. 255
  4. ^ Dunnavant, p.257
  5. ^ Dunnavant, p. 270-273
  6. ^ Dunnavant, p. 274
  7. ^ 1971 game recaps
  8. ^ "Tide Engulfs Vols." Palm Beach Post. 1971 Oct 17.
  9. ^ a b 1972 game recaps
  10. ^ a b Rappaport, Ken, and Barry Wilner. Football Feuds: The Great College Football Rivalries. 2007, The Lyons Press, ISBN 978-1-59921-014-8, p. 82
  11. ^ "Iron Bowl turns mortals into heroes", ESPN.com
  12. ^ 1973 game recaps
  13. ^ 1973 Sugar Bowl
  14. ^ a b c Greatest Bowl Games
  15. ^ UPI story
  16. ^ Florida State year-by-year
  17. ^ 1974 game recaps
  18. ^ Orange Bowl's most memorable games
  19. ^ 1975 game recaps
  20. ^ 1976 game recaps
  21. ^ "Alabama's O'Rear Keys Victory Over Tennessee." Palm Beach Post. 1976 Oct 17.
  22. ^ 1977 game recaps
  23. ^ Alabama Official Athletic Site. Football - Archives - 1977 season - Recaps.
  24. ^ 1978 game recaps
  25. ^ Penn State Daily Collegian, 3 January 1979
  26. ^ "Sugar Bowl Memories", Tuscaloosa News

External links[edit]