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Countdown to kickoff: 29 years ago, the ‘Canes were stripped of a repeat

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Gene Stallings restored Alabama to glory and George Teague became an icon.

University of Alabama vs University of Miami, 1993 USF&G Financial Services Sugar Bowl Set Number: X43797

For Alabama football fans of a certain age, present company included, the 1992 team that capped its season by embarrassing the brash but powerful Miami Hurricanes, who were coming off a split national title and led by Heisman quarterback Gino Torretta, will never be surpassed as a favorite in Tide history.

You undoubtedly know the story. The Tide rode an elite defense and running game, with a just-efficient-enough passing game from QB Jay Barker, to a hard fought SEC title. Meanwhile the Hurricanes blew through most of their schedule with explosive plays in the passing game. The college football landscape was certainly different then as the Tide came into the game with zero top ten victories, while the ‘Canes sported two in Florida State and Penn State. Miami was favored and supremely confident.

“It’s just a ‘Cane thing,” said wide receiver Lamar Thomas, as if that one line offered all the insight that was needed. “Those boys from Alabama should just come in and be quiet and try to play football. They shouldn’t come out and try to keep up with the way we talk.”

…”Just tell those boys to show up on Friday night,” said [linebacker Micheal] Barrow. “That’s when we’ll teach them how to do the walk.”

Those comments barely scratch the surface of the trash talk coming from Dennis Erickson’s crew that week.

Fortunately for the Tide, defensive coordinator “Brother Bill” Oliver had his finest hour. Boasting a veteran squad that allowed a mere 9.2 points per game, Oliver used stunts with first round DL tandem John Copeland and Eric Curry, expertly disguising schemes and coverages that baited Torretta into a nightmare evening. The most memorable play didn’t technically count due to an offside penalty, but we will never forget it.

Teague also had a pick six that night.

When all was said and done, Torretta was held to 45% completions with three interceptions, Tide RB Derrick Lassic ran for 135 yards and two touchdowns, and the Tide rolled 34-13. Even with all of the success of the Saban era, ask any Alabama fan who was alive at the time and they will likely cite this team and this game near the top of their favorites list.

Enjoy the full game highlights below.

We are now 29 days from kickoff.

Roll Tide.