Another great year. Alabama finished the season 12-1, with only a 1-point loss to Florida in the SEC Championship Game marring the season. Some pretty good games in here, too.
This time I am going to put both Coaches’ and AP Poll rankings, in that order (Coaches’/AP). All quotes and information come from http://www.rolltide.com/auto_pdf/p_hotos/s_chools/alab/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/1994-recaps. For authenticity, I am going to leave all spelling and grammar mistakes [there are more in this one] in place. Once again, I am certainly adding some spelling and grammar errors of my own, since I can’t copy and paste.
#9/#11 Alabama vs. Georgia.
The Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs met for the first time since 1991. The meeting between the Bulldogs and the Tide would prove to be the game of the season as the Tide came back late in the fourth quarter to beat Georgia 29-28…
With :57 left to play [in the 1st half] Alabama took the ball on their own 21. Jay Barker threw the ball 64-yards in 6 plays to put Bama on the Georgia 15 and within field goal range. Michael Proctor made an incredible 33-yard field goal which hit the right post before going through the uprights to put the score at Alabama 10, Georgia 21.
The Crimson Tide came out of the locker room ready to play as they put some numbers on the board twice in as many possessions to begin the second half. On their first drive after half-time, Alabama was able to score 6 points on a long pass to Toderick Malone from Jay Barker. Bama went for the 2-point conversion but was unsuccessful and with 13:18 left in the quarter it was Tide 16, Dawgs 21.
Georgia was forced to punt on their next possession which put Alabama on their own 18 to start their second drive of the half. The Georgia defense put up a battle against the Bama offense and Alabama was forced to attempt a field goal. Michael Proctor made a 35-yard attempt to put the Crimson Tide within striking distance of the Bulldogs.
With 4:04 left in the quarter, Eric Zeier went to work. Zeier completed a pass to Marisa Simpson for the touchdown and the SEC yards passing record. At the end of the third quarter Georgia was ahead of Alabama 28-19.
When Alabama got the ball in the fourth quarter, they wasted no time in scoring. In a possession of only :42, Jay Barker threw two passes for 72-yards and a touchdown as Toderick Malone took his second one into the endzone. After Proctor’s PAT Bama was within 3. [Author’s Note: I think this is inaccurate; we were within two at this point.]
The name of the game for the remainder of the fourth quarter was defense. Both Gerogia [I know I said I wouldn’t, but I’m going to SIC this one – check the source, see for yourself] and Alabama had long possessions in which neither team could convert. Then, with 2:10 left to play, Jay Barker scrambled for a first down rush of 13-yards. He then completed a pass to Tony Johnson who rushed for 22-yards and another first down. After a few small carries, Bama found itsself [I’m not making this up here] on the Georgia 13. Michael Proctor was once again called on to put the Tide ahead. With 1:12 left in the game, he hit a 32-yard field goal to put the Tide ahead by one point.
Georgia now got the ball on their own 22 but was unable to convert. Alabama let time expire as the team ran onto the field to celebrate the hardest fought victory of the season.
Even though Eric Zeier became the SEC’s all time career passing leader with his 263-yards, it was the outstanding passing game of Jay Barker which had everyone talking. Barker completed 26 of 34 passes for 396-yards and two touchdowns to lead the Crimson Tide to a win over the Georgia Bulldogs. He was named both ESPN Player of the Game and SEC Player of the Week for his performance.
#6/#10 Alabama at Tennessee.
Much has been written and spoken about the Third Saturday in October, as there are few other rivalries that can match it. After last year’s tie between the two teams, both the Tide and the Volunteers were ready for the contest…
John Becksvoort converted a 26-yard field goal to tie the score [at 3] at the end of the first half…
Marcell West’s first career reception was good for a Bama touchdown after Barker completed a pass from the Tennessee 29 on first and ten. Proctor put the Tide up by seven points with his PAT.
On the next possession, the Volunteers were able to tie the score at 10-10 when Manning drove the ball 55 yards.
Alabama tried to go ahead on a field goal, but Proctor slipped on the 44-yard attempt and the ball fell short. With Manning back in at quarterback [had been sharing snaps with freshman Branndon (sp?) Stewart], Tennessee was able to get within field goal range and for the first time in the game went ahead of the Tide by three [this was in the 4th quarter].
The Alabama offense had its work cut out, starting the next possession on the 20-yard line. Sherman Williams scored his fourth touchdown of the season on a short run from the UT four to give Bama the lead.
The Alabama defense held the Vols for the remainder for the game [as I’ve made clear, this is not my writing] and Alabama walked out of Neyland Stadium with their season record at 7-0.
This win over Tennessee put Alabama ahead in the series, 42-27-8…
Tommy Johnson was involved in some big plays that held Tennessee to only 13 points. Johnson stopped a Tennessee drive with an interception at the Bama 47 and intercepted a Peyton Manning pass in the end zone. He also contributed a touchdown-saving tackle and in that same drive caused a Vol fumble at the UA 2-yard line…
Tommy Johnson played all 69 snaps in the win over Tennessee.
#4/#6 Alabama at #20/#20 Mississippi State.
The Crimson Tide got a shot of reality when, in the fourth quarter, Mississippi State had a 25-15 lead. However, Alabama did what it had been doing all season, and found a way to win. The Tide managed to score twice late in the game to win 29-25 to move to 10-0-0 for the season…
The Crimson Tide didn’t give. With only 7:57 left in the game, Alabama had possession on their own 35. The first play didn’t look promising when Barker was sacked for a loss of seven. Barker then completed three passes for 27 yards to the State 47. Williams then gained two-yards for the first down and Barker completed a pass to Curtis Brown for 42 and the Tide touchdown. Proctor hit the PAT to put Bama within striking distance at 25-22.
The Tide defense went to work and stopped the Bulldogs to give the ball back to Alabama with 3:41 left in the game. With the ball on the UA 34, Barker orchestrated the final drive that moved the ball down the field. On second and ten, Barker threw a pass to Williams who made a beautiful catch for a gain of 28 yards and a first down. The Tide then put its running game into action. Lynch, Riddle and Williams combined for 15-yards on four carries to put Alabama on the State one-yard line. Dennis Riddles’ gain of one for the touchdown was delayed when a flag was thrown on the play. The call was offside Mississippi State and Alabama got the TD. Proctor once again hit the PAT to give Alabama the lead and the win.
#3/#4 Alabama vs. Unranked/#6 Auburn.
The rivalry between Alabama and Auburn is one that doesn’t just take place one Saturday in the fall. This game was for state bragging rights, bragging that takes place the other 364 days of the year. Last year, Auburn earned the right with a victory over the Crimson Tide.
There was a lot riding on this game for both teams. At the end of the game, one team would no longer be undefeated. Auburn had gone two seasons without a loss and only one tie. Alabama was still only one of three 10-0 teams on this season and the Tide was looking to go 11-0…
The score was still Alabama 21, Auburn 0 at the start of the second half. This game marked the first time all season Auburn had been shut out in the first half. The Tigers would manage to score on a 5:44 possess when Patrick Nix, on a quarterback sneak, gave Auburn its first points of the game. Matt Hawkins’ PAT put the score at 21-7, Bama.
Alabama tried to score on third and goal but Barker was intercepted by Brian Robinson in the end zone… Auburn would get the ball on their own 27-yard line. Once again, on a quarterback sneak, Auburn scored to cap a 73-yard drive and put Auburn within a touchdown of Bama [in the 4th Quarter].
The game would end after Auburn missed getting a first down by a measurement of inches. With the 21-14 victory over Auburn, Alabama would go 11-0 on the regular season. When asked about the chances of Alabama winning a national championship, Coach Stallings said, “We just played a nationally ranked team. We played a nationally ranked team last week [Mississippi State]. We’re going to play a nationally ranked team next time we play [Florida]. I would think the schedule is definitely in our favor from here on out. I don’t think there’s any question about that…”
Jay Barker completed eight of 17 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns. Barker is now Alabama’s all-time passing leader for yardage, completions and attempts. He surpasses Scott Hunter for career attempts and completions with his performance against Auburn.
#3/#3 Alabama vs. #6/#6 Florida. SEC Championship Game.
The Southeastern Conference Championship Game would find the Florida Gators and the Alabama Crimson Tide in Atlanta, Georgia. Florida and Alabama had met in all three Championship games. Alabama beat the Gators in the inaugural game and Florida beat the Tide in 1993.
The winner of this game would be spending New Year’s in New Orleans and would take on Florida State in the 1995 Sugar Bowl, but Alabama was also trying to keep its national championship hopes alive. It was a hard fought game on both sides but Florida held off the Tide, 24-23, to earn the trip to Louisiana and the Sugar Bowl…
At the end of the half, Florida led, 17-10.
The third quarter belonged to Alabama and for a moment Bama fans thought they were Sugar Bowl bound. The Tide came out and scored with 7:35 left in the quarter when Proctor kicked a 47-yard field goal to make the score Florida, 17-13. Proctor did it again with 2:14 left in the quarter to put the Tide within one point of the Gators.
The 1992 championship game came to mind when on a UF possession [in the 4th], Cedric Samuel broke up a Danny Wueffel pass. Linebacker Dwayne Rudd intercepted the pass and returned it 23-yards for the touchdown. Alabama went up 23-17 on Proctor’s PAT.
Alabama didn’t have time to rest as Florida came out and was able to score on a short pass from Wuerffel to Chris Doering. Judd Davis made the point-after and Florida went ahead of Alabama by one point.
There was still time for the Tide to score. Bama took possession at the UA 22, but the Gators intercepted on the Alabama 44 to halt the drive and end the Tide threat. Florida took possession with 0:44 left to play and ran out the clock to win its second consecutive [and, I believe, second ever] SEC title, 24-23.
#6/#6 Alabama vs. #11/#13 Ohio State – Citrus Bowl.
The Crimson Tide and Ohio State Buckeyes met for only the third time in the two schools’ storied histories at the 1995 CompUSA Florida Citrus Bowl. Alabama, winner of the previous two encounters with OSU, was making its first appearance in the Citrus Bowl, the school’s 13th different bowl.
A scoreless first quarter was highlighted by a four-legged, unwanted visitor. Alabama took possession following a missed field goal and mounted an impressive drive, but the momentum seemed to escape when a stray dog found his way onto the field and caused a lengthy delay in play. After the curious canine was chased off the field and into a portal, the drive stalled and Michael Proctor’s 49-yard field goal attempt was blocked.
The Crimson Tide started another drive on its 20-yard line with just over four minutes remaining in the first period. The 16-play, 80-yard drive ended early in the second period and was capped off by Tarrant Lynch’s touchdown run from nine yards out.
The lead was short-lived, however, as 13 seconds later, Ohio State tied the game with a 69-yard bomb from Bobby Hoying to Joey Galloway. The Buckeyes then capitalized on a blocked punt deep in Tide territory, and Hoying hooked up with Galloway once again, this time from 11 yards out, to give Ohio State a 14-7 lead.
Alabama responded with an 11-play, 80-yard drive on the very next possession to tie the game. Sherman Williams finished the drive with a seven-yard scamper and both teams went into the locker room deadlocked at 14.
After a scoreless third quarter, Ohio State regained the lead at 17-14 as Josh Jackson connected on a 34-yard field goal with 8:41 to go in the game. Michael Proctor, who had missed a 25-yard field goal to start the fourth quarter, redeemed himself with a 27-yarder that tied the score, 17-17, with 4:29 left to play.
Then, as it had done all season long, Alabama came through with late-game heroics to pull out a win. With less than a minute to play, Jay Barker hit Sherman Williams over the middle, and 50 yards later, the talented tailback had given the Tide a 24-17 win. Alabama finished the season at 12-1-0, and with the victory, the senior class of 1994 (45-4-1) broke the record for most wins in a four-year period. Sherman Williams was given the Charles Y. McClendon Most Valuable Player Award after rushing for 166 yards, catching eight passes for 155 yards and scoring two touchdowns.
[Author’s Notes: Alabama had over 500 yards of offense, Sherman Williams had 359 all-purpose yards, and Jay Barker threw for 317 yards. Alabama lost three fumbles, two unforced, and Ohio State blocked a punt and a field goal. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=TTwdAAAAIBAJ&sjid=KaYEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6244%2C1319102. If you want Tennessee fans to confuse you, google “Eddie George 1995 Citrus Bowl,” or click here: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=eddie+george+1995+citrus+bowl&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=. Pretty sure that Alabama played Ohio State in the 1995 Citrus Bowl, not Tennessee, but that’s an understandable mistake. I’m trying to find Eddie George’s rushing numbers in our game, but can’t seem to find them. I remember that there weren’t many to find.]