Friday, September 20, 2019

Bama welcomes an old friend to Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday

Once upon a time in the 1980's and 1990's, Alabama played three teams with the word 'Miss' in their name. Games against Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Saturday's opponent Southern Miss were as customary as the Third Saturday in October and the Iron Bowl.

In fact, Alabama has played Southern Miss more than some Southeastern Conference foes, such as Arkansas and Florida who didn't join the conference until the 1992 season.

Alabama has dominated the series with 34 wins, 6 losses and 2 ties.

Some of the Southern Miss games were memorable and not always for the right reasons. Here are some of those memories.

1953 & 1954. Alabama was in one of its "wilderness wanderings" and a very athletic Golden Eagles team put together two straight wins, beating the Tide 25-19 in '53 and 7-2 in '54. That caused Alabama to take some time off and the series didn't resume until Coach Paul Bryant started it back in 1966.

1982. Coach Bryant was in the twilight of his legendary career at the Capstone and Southern Miss had tied Bama the previous season. The 1982 game featured Senior Golden Eagles QB Reggie Collier. The powerful, mobile signal caller led his team to a 38-29 win that wasn't as close as the score indicated. More importantly, the loss snapped Bama's 57-game winning streak at Bryant-Denny Stadium, then the longest in the country.

1990. This was Gene Stallings first year as head coach. Alabama was ranked 13th preseason and welcomed an unranked Southern Miss squad led by some unknown QB named Brett Favre. Bama's star RB Siran Stacy tore up a knee in the game, costing him the rest of the season. Favre tore up a thin, tired Tide defense in a comeback win and spoiled our season opener, 27-24. Coach Stallings later said, "You can call it a miracle or a legend or whatever you want to. I just know that on that day, Brett Favre was larger than life."

1992. Wary from the 1990 shocker, Alabama played it safe for all 60 minutes of a game played in tropical heat and humidity. It was brutal, y'all. Miserable. Suffocating. Africa Hot. The Tide won 17-10 in the closest game of the 1992 Championship season.

2000. Eight years later, Bama had been ranked 3rd preseason but had also blown its opener against UCLA. Southern Miss pitched a shutout, embarrassing the Tide 21-0 in Mike Dubose's final, dreadful season as Head Coach. It was the only time the Goldies have held Alabama scoreless.

2005: The Catch. The last time these two programs met on the field is best known for what is arguably the most amazing play in modern college football history. Whether you saw this live or have seen the replay 587,991 times... it's still awesome.

Alabama is expected to have only a little trouble extending its series lead against USM Saturday. Read the preview and prediction by Tidefans' Jess Nicholas here. It's unlikely that a Nick Saban Bama squad takes the opponent lightly, but the game could be interesting if the pass-happy visitors pick on Patrick Surtain and the right side of the defense like South Carolina did last week.



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