Alabama Football: 30 Greatest Games in Crimson Tide History

Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports /
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Alabama Football
Quarterback Archie Manning #8 of the New Orleans Saints (Photo by James Flores/Getty Images) /

Alabama Football Greatest Game

October 4, 1969 – Legion Field vs. Ole Miss

Often described as the first college football, prime-time game (not accurately) it was the first such broadcast that was highly promoted. ABC Sports could not have picked a more exciting show.

After disappointing 1967 and 1968 seasons, the Crimson Tide was nothing like Paul Bryant’s staunch defenses of the early 1960s. For five seasons, 1960-1964, Alabama football defenses gave up a total of 234 points. The Tide’s 1961 defense gave up only 25 points. In 1968, the Crimson Tide allowed opponents 139 points, including a shocking 35 points in a Gator Bowl loss to Missouri.

In 1969 an even more porous defense yielded a staggering 268 points. But not all hope had faded leading up to the October, Saturday night in Birmingham’s Legion Field. The Crimson Tide was still a ranked team (No. 15) after two, impressive early wins.

In 1969, Bryant had decided to open up the offense, led by the drop-back passing of Scott Hunter. Hunter had a big arm and went on to a solid Crimson Tide career. Against Ole Miss, he was out-classed by sophomore, Archie Manning. In fairness to Hunter, Archie out-classed all of college football on that night.

Archie threw five touchdown passes and passed and ran for over 500 yards. The Rebels finished with 609 offensive yards. Scott Hunter passed for 300 yards, including the game-winner, a 14-yarder to George Ranager.

Meeting at midfield after the game, Bryant and Ole Miss coach, Johnny Vaught agreed it was the ugliest game either had ever seen.