Alabama Football Sugar Bowl History and seven memorable games

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Alabama Football Memorable Sugar Bowl – Jan. 1, 1979

Almost every Alabama football fan, no matter their age, knows this game as ‘The Goal Line Stand.’ Alabama linebacker, Barry Kraus became a Crimson Tide legend as the primary tackler of Penn State running back, Matt Guman.

The Alabama defense actually had three tacklers on the play. First, it was defensive back Mike Clements grasping Guman’s legs, followed by the shoulder to shoulder, face mask to face mask, solid wall from Krauss, and punctuated from behind as defensive back, Murray Legg helped Krause push Guman back.

It was the most important play in the Tide’s 13-6 victory. It can be argued it was one of the most important plays in Alabama football history. What gets lost in the memories is what happened two plays earlier. On second down, Penn State completed a pass to an open receiver in the flats. Alabama cornerback, Don McNeal was covering another Nittany Lion four yards inside the end zone. McNeal’s quick mind and feet allowed him to stop an almost sure touchdown, taking the receiver down immediately after the catch at the two-yard line.

More on ‘The Goal Line Stand’ here.

Alabama Football Memorable Sugar Bowl – Jan. 1, 1993

Alabama, though ranked No. 2, was given no chance to take down No. 1 ranked, Miami. The Hurricanes were the trash-talking bad boys of college football, with a Heisman-winning QB and a loaded defense. The defending National Champion Canes loudly predicted a blowout.

The game was a blowout – by the Alabama Crimson Tide. Writing about the game for the Memphis Commercial-Appeal, Ron Higgins stated,

"The Hurricanes never knew what hit them."

After the game, Miami quarterback, Gino Torreta said the second half was a “blur.”

The Crimson Tide went into the game as an 8.5-point underdog. In the first half, Alabama ran for 152 yards while the Canes rushed for six. The 13-6 halftime score made the game appear close. In the second half, it was almost all Crimson Tide. Alabama so dominated the line of scrimmage in the game, it needed only 18 passing yards in the 34-13 win,

Alabama Football Memorable Sugar Bowl – Jan. 1, 2018

Alabama, No. 4 in the CFB Playoff rankings throttled No. 1 ranked Clemson, 24-6. The game was more one-sided than the score indicates. Alabama did not score in the game’s fourth quarter, mostly because there was zero chance the Tide needed any more points.

When Alabama made the game, 24-6, there were almost five and half minutes left in the third quarter. Clemson could not run on the Tide and produced only 188 yards of total offense.

The game was important as a Playoff semi-final. It had other importance as well. After the 1993 Sugar Bowl win, Alabama had played in three more Sugar Bowls – all losses in 2009, 2014 and 2015. Ending that Sugar Bowl losing streak was no small deal.

Alabama won a National Championship game in New Orleans in 2012, but the BCS Championship game was not a Sugar Bowl. Michigan and Virginia Tech played in the Sugar Bowl that year.

Some stats in this post were provided by Sports Reference and

Next. Nick Saban and a revamp like 2013. dark

The Crimson Tide’s 17th Sugar Bowl may not become a classic. But, it is important for two reasons. One is a tone-setting win will set the stage for the 2023 season. The other reason is it will be the last college game for some outstanding young men.