Alabama Football: 30 Greatest Games in Crimson Tide History

Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
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Kenyan Drake #17 (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Alabama Football Greatest Game

January 11, 2016 – CFBP National Championship (Glendale, AZ) vs. Clemson

In September of 2015, Alabama Football fans were a bit discouraged. The Alabama Crimson Tide was not supposed to lose to Ole Miss. Now it had, in back-to-back seasons, with the 2015 loss in Bryant-Denny.

While Crimson Tide fans tried to sort through their disappointment and confusion, the rest of college football was crowing about the end of the Tide Dynasty. Those loud and frequent claims began at the end of the 2013 season with closing losses to Auburn and Oklahoma. The first Ole Miss upset of the Tide reinforced the statements about the Tide’s demise.

Alabama Football battled back; won the SEC Championship and regained a No. 1 ranking for the first College Football Playoff. In the semi-final against Ohio State, the Tide defense was ineffective in slowing unheralded quarterback, Cardale Jones. Worse, the Tide was nearly powerless in trying to stop running back Ezekiel Elliott who rushed for over 200 yards.

After easily beating Oregon, Ohio State was presented as the new owner of college football’s latest dynasty. The second Ole Miss loss in 2015 was described as the final nail in the ‘Tide Dynasty is Dead’ coffin.

Nick Saban and his team ignored the nonsense and went back to work. Nine straight Tide wins put it back in the SEC Championship. The win over Florida was enough to secure the No. 2 seed in the Playoff. In the semi-final, the Tide blew away an overmatched Michigan State, with Nick Saban trying to hold down the score.

In the other semi-final, Clemson beat Oklahoma by 20 points. There was no doubt the two best teams would play for the National Championship.

On offense, the Crimson Tide had three stars standout. Jake Coker passed for 335 yards. O.J. Howard caught passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns. Derrick Henry rushed for 158 yards. While the Crimson Tide was producing all that offense, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson was dishing out more. The Tigers would gain over 550 yards on the Tide defense, with Watson accounting for 478 of those yards.

By the second half, it became clear, that barring turnovers, the team with the most possessions would win. So Nick Saban stole a possession from Clemson. Following a game-tying field goal by the Tide, Saban called for the onsides kick his team was prepared to use against Clemson. Game tape had shown the Tide staff the Tigers left themselves vulnerable by leaving an open-space gap in their kick-return formation. There was plenty of confidence Adam Griffith could lob-kick the ball into the open space. The only reservation came from Marlon Humphrey failing to consistently catch the kick during practices.

The kick was perfect. So was the catch. To Crimson Tide fans, so was the immediate smirk on Nick Saban’s face. After the onside recovery, it took the Tide offense only two plays to go up by a touchdown.

In the game’s last nine-plus minutes, every possession resulted in points scored. Watson would lead three Clemson scoring drives; a field goal and two touchdowns. The Crimson Tide’s two possessions produced touchdowns.

Had Saban not stolen a Clemson possession, Watson would have likely led the Tigers to a Championship win.

Final Score – Alabama Crimson Tide 45 – Clemson 40