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Bama Ain’t Beat Ville in 41 Years, PAAWWWLL!

A Brief History of Alabama-Louisville.

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Have you ever seen a double rainbow? How about Samuel Jackson with a full head of hair? Or maybe five leaf clover? As rare as these things may be, they occur more often than Alabama and Louisville squaring off on the gridiron. The Crimson Tide hold a slim 2 to 1 margin in the win column over the Cardinals.

Bear Bryant

October 23, 1976

Alabama 24 Louisville 3

Tuscaloosa, AL - From 1971 to 1980, Bear Bryant won at least 10 games in every season except one. This was that season. Despite this “dip” to 9-3, the Crimson Tide had no trouble with the Cardinals in this Homecoming game. Bama’s Tony Nathan and Johnny Davis led a brigade of 12 Tide ball carriers who made 64 rushes for 328 yards and three scores. ‘Ville had 175 yards of total offense and completed only 5 of 18 pass attempts.

houndstooth hat

October 22, 1977

Alabama 55 Louisville 6

Tuscaloosa, AL - The Cardinals returned to T-town a year later. This time, Tide won handily scoring two touchdowns in each quarter. Ozzie Newsome caught three Jeff Rutledge passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns. Nathan had a first half 71-yard scoring gallop and sat out most of the rest of the game. The defense caused Louisville to fumble seven times and recovered four of the miscues.

Side note: On Sept 17, 1977, Alabama lost by a touchdown at Nebraska and Notre Dame lost to Ole Miss by 6. Both Bama and the Irish finished 11-1, including the Tide’s 34–13 demolition of OM. Nebraska finished the season in the Top 10 at 9-3, while the Rebs ended up at 5-6. Despite this, Notre Dame was named #1 at the end of the season for beating former #1 Texas 38-10 in the Cotton Bowl. Alabama dumped #9 Ohio State 35-6 in the Sugar. > Football Study Hall has some thoughts on that.

January 1, 1991 - Fiesta Bowl

Louisville 34 Alabama 7

Tempe, AZ - Two Bear Bryant protégés squared off in a rebuilding year for the Tide. Gene Stallings was in his first season at the Capstone after taking over for @fan favorite@ Bill Curry. It was a rough year (7-5) but at least they beat Tennessee, LSU, and Auburn. The Cards finished 10–1–1 under head coach Howard Schnellenberger in his sixth season at upstart Louisville.

The Cardinals, as they had done to foes all season, shocked the Tide with their speed and unconventional play-calling, jumping out to a big lead early in the game. The first score came on a 70-yard touchdown pass from Browning Nagle. Future NFL All-Pro Ray Buchanan recovered of a blocked punt in the end zone for a touchdown to close out the first quarter with a 25-0 lead. Alabama’s lone score came on a pick-six by Charles Gardner in the second quarter. The Tide offense managed only 10 first downs and was outgained 571 yards to 189.

Side Note: Both these teams lost to Southern Miss in 1990. You may have heard of the Golden Eagles’ quarterback that year: Brett Favre.