We are getting there y'all...we...are...getting...there. Just a few more weeks. In the meantime, I've compiled my 10 favorite Alabama plays that happened during the time I've been able to remember and enjoy football. Even though the famous goal line stand against Penn State happened in my lifetime, I was only 2 years old, so it didn't make the list because I don't remember it happening. There are tons of other plays I could've easily included, but these are ones that have stuck out over the years, combined with a few new ones that I feel are special enough to make this list. I've included video whenever possible. In chronological order:
11/30/85: Van Tiffin: "The Kick": Six seconds remain on the clock with perennial foe Auburn leading 23-22. Tiffin kicks a 52-yard field goal that probably would've been good from 60+ giving Alabama a 25-23 victory as time expired.
10/04/86: Cornelius Bennett: "The Sack": One of the most brutal hits I've ever seen. Bennett came exploding into the backfield unblocked and just drilled Notre Dame QB Steve Buerlein, who still gets teased about that to this day as an announcer. At one point, both of Bennett's feet and both of Buerlein's feeet are off of the ground. Incredibly, the officials ruled Buerlein down and Notre Dame maintained possession of the ball despite it clearly being a fumble. One of many great plays that day that led the Tide to a 28-10 victory over the Irish.
10/28/89: Thomas Rayam: Field goal block against Penn State: The massive 6'7", 286-pound Rayam blocked an 18-yard Penn State field goal with 8 seconds remaining to give Alabama a 17-16 win over Penn State at Happy Valley.
10/20/90: Philip Doyle: "The Kick II": In a game no one gave Alabama a prayer of winning, coach Gene Stallings devised a masterful plan to contain Tennessee's potent offense. Tied 6-6 Tennessee was set to go ahead but had a field goal blocked and the deflection landed the ball on Tennessee's 37 yard line. That set up Alabama's winning 47 yard field goal with 4 seconds left on the clock to win 9-6.
01/01/93: George Teague: "The Strip": 1992 National Championship game against Miami. Miami lets a deep pass loose and it's caught for what looks like a sure touchdown. Not only does George Teague catch up with Lamar Thomas, he strips the ball away from him in full stride and returns it for a 5-10 yard gain (it turned out to be a "non-play" though since there was a flag on the play.) It sent TV announcer Keith Jackson into hysterics. The finest individual defensive play I've ever seen.
10/02/99: Shaun Alexander: Overtime TD: In a game where Florida was a 17 point favorite, Alabama fought the Gators tooth and nail all day long in The Swamp. The game went into overtime at 33-33. Florida scored on their first possession but missed the PAT. Alexander busts out a beautiful 25-yard run on Alabama's first overtime play. Brilliant blocking and great reads from Alexander. Alabama misses their PAT on the first try but a Florida player was offside and that gave Alabama another attempt at converting the PAT, which they did. Alabama wins 40-39.
12/04/99: Freddie Millons: Touchdown run as QB: Receiver Freddie Millons was a double threat at QB on what turned out to be a great 1999 team despite an early season loss to Louisiana Tech. In the SEC Championship, Millons lines up at QB and "scrambles" his way to a 77-yard touchdown run. He was running like a gazelle. Alabama thrashed Florida 34-7 in that game.
09/10/05: Tyrone Prothro: "The Catch" against Southern Miss: While it wasn't a game winning play, it is certainly the most impressive catch I've ever seen and it did swing the momentum in the game. Prothro caught a deep bomb pass from Croyle towards the end of the first half. Southern Miss was giving Alabama all they had, but when Prothro caught the pass behind the back of the defensive back he was tangled up with by pinning it against the defender's helmet, the crowd went berserk and Alabama went on to victory.
10/22/05: Roman Harper: "The Hit": In a defensive grudge match, Alabama was tied with hated rival Tennessee 3-3 with only five minutes left in the game. Tennessee was about to score the go ahead touchdown when Roman Harper sacrificed his body and slammed into the ball carrier, Tennessee fullback Corey Anderson. The hit was so hard that Anderson lost control of the ball and fumbled it out of the back of the endzone resulting in a touchback. Alabama drove far enough to get into FG range and won an old-fashioned slugfest 6-3. There was no way we were going to let Foreign Minister Jack Straw go back to England and say he saw Alabama lose to the vermin. No way.
12/28/06: Andre Smith Touchdown: Alabama was trailing Oklahoma State in the Independence Bowl and a pass play (though it technically goes down as a run in the history books) to left tackle Andre Smith was called. The officials threw a flag but eventually waved it off realizing that Smith was behind the line of scrimmage when he caught it and therefore did not have to declare as a receiver. We might have lost the game, but it was nice to see us play with some imagination. I love the bumbling call by the announcer as the play unfolds.