By Barry Allen
UA Media Relations
All are phrases that have been used to describe what Scott Hunter and Archie Manning did in Birmingham on Oct. 4, 1969.
The two quarterbacks from the University of Alabama and University of Mississippi combined for more than 700 passing yards in a run-the-ball first era of college football treating a jam-packed Legion Field crowd and prime-time national television audience to a college football classic that is still being talked about nearly 40 years later.
Hunter completed 22 of 29 passes for 300 yards and one touchdown as the Crimson Tide outdueled the Rebels 33-32 in one of the SEC’s greatest games. Hunter also ran nine times for three yards and added a 1-yard run that gave Alabama a 27-26 lead with 7:43 left in the game.
Hunter’s Ole Miss counterpart, Manning, tore up the SEC and Rebels record books by completing 33 of 52 passes for 436 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception. He ran 15 times for 103 yards and three rushing touchdowns, including a 1-yard run with 7:13 left in the game that gave Ole Miss a 32-27 lead. Manning finished with an Ole Miss and SEC record 539 yards of total offense and four touchdowns in the loss.
“I’m as proud of our team as if they had won 40-0,” Alabama head coach Paul Bryant said following the game. “Both teams kept coming back and there were a lot of good plays and certainly we had a lot of good plays on offense, but we also had several good plays on defense.
“I think (assistant coaches) Jimmy Sharpe, Jack Rutledge, John Crow, Steve Sloan and Tommy Tolleson did a terrific job with the
|Hunter scores on a 1-yard sneak to give |
Alabama a 27-26 lead in the fourth quarter.
offensive game plan. The defensive plan was fine too, they were just too good for it.”
Hunter and Manning combined to complete 55 passes for 736 yards and two touchdowns. The duo combined for 842 yards of total offense and six scores in the three-hour game.
Manning set SEC records for pass attempts, completions, yards, total offense. Ole Miss set nine school records, while Alabama added three single-game marks.
“After the game was over I was looking for Archie,” Hunter said. “I was looking for Archie and I found him. And he had tears in his eyes. I didn’t even know what to say. I reached out, shook his hand, and he looked me in the eye and I looked him in the eye. We didn’t have to say a thing to each other. We just knew what we’d had ... together ... that night.”
Ole Miss junior split end Floyd Franks set UM records with 13 completions for 191 yards in the loss. Vernon Studdard added four catches for 122 yards, while Riley Myers had four catches for 24 yards and one touchdown.
David Bailey caught nine passes for 115 yards to lead UA’s receivers. George Ranager, a native of Meridian, Miss., added three catches for 68 yards, including the game-winning touchdown with 3:42 left in the game.
The Crimson Tide took a 14-7 lead into the dressing room at halftime. Alabama scored first as sophomore running back Johnny Musso capped a 15-play, 76-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run with 8:19 left in the first quarter. Following Musso’s run, Ole Miss marched 79 yards in 10 plays and tied the game on Manning’s 2-yard run with 4:05 left in the opening quarter. Alabama took the lead before halftime when Bubba Sawyer capped a seven-play, 96-yard drive with a 17-yard run to stake the Tide to a 14-7 lead. Ranager’s 67-yard run to the Ole Miss 18-yard line set up the score.
Any thoughts of a low-scoring, defensive struggle were out the window quickly in the third quarter. Alabama and Ole Miss scored at will in the final 30 minutes as the two teams combined for 44 points in a last-man-with-the ball wins type of game.
Luckily for Alabama, the Crimson Tide got the last laugh.
Ole Miss quickly tied the game in the third quarter, scoring on its opening possession. The Rebels scoring drive covered 65 yards in 11 plays as Manning fired an 11-yard pass to Franks to tie the game at 14-14 with 11:34 left in the third quarter. Manning completed all eight passes on the drive and he was just warming up.
After an exchange of punts, Alabama regained the lead on Musso’s second touchdown of the night. The 1-yard run capped a six-play, 63-yard drive and out the Tide in front 21-14 with 6:43 left in the quarter.
Later in the third quarter, following an Ole Miss turnover and Alabama punt, the Rebels took over their own 20-yard line and jetted 80 yards in four plays for the score. Manning hit tight end Jim Poole with a 46-yard completion to the UA 29-yard line on second down. Two plays later, Manning scrambled 17 yards for the score. Perry King’s extra point sailed wide left as the Tide held a 21-20 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Ole Miss took its first lead on the first possession of the final stanza. The Rebels moved 86 yards in eight plays for the go-ahead touchdown. Manning capped the drive with a 2-yard pass to wing back Riley Myers. Manning’s two-point pass attempt fell incomplete leaving the Rebels with a 26-21 lead.
Alabama came right back with a score of its own, moving 67 yard and 10 plays. Sawyer’s leaping catch and 31-yard completion to the Ole Miss 43-yard line was the key play in the drive. Hunter capped the drive with a 1-yard dive to give Alabama a 27-26 lead. Hunter’s two-point pass attempt was intercepted.
The Rebels scored in three plays to take a 32-27 lead with 7:15 left in the game. Manning hit Vernon Studdard on a 42-yard completion to the Alabama 22-yard line on the first play from scrimmage. Manning then ran for 21 yards to the UA one-yard line and capped the drive with 1-yard run on the next play. Manning’s two-point pass again fell incomplete, leaving Ole Miss with a 32-27 lead.
The Crimson Tide offense answered once again as Hunter directed an 11-play, 80-yard game-winning drive to give Alabama a 33-32 lead with 3:42 left in the game. Hunter went 8-for-8 on the game-winning drive for 74 yards, including the game-winning 17-yard pass to Meridian, Miss., native George Ranager.
Alabama’s defense held Ole Miss on the next possession on downs. The Crimson Tide’s next possession ended with a 42-yard punt by Frank Mann that was downed at the Ole Miss 5-yard line by Ranager.
With less than two minutes to play, Ole Miss needed 95 yards for the win. The Crimson Tide defense forced two incomplete passes before Manning’s pass lost two yards on third down. On fourth down from the Ole Miss three, Manning completed a 15-yard pass to Myers and two plays later Ole Miss benefited from a 15-yard personal foul penalty before Manning completed a 7-yard pass to Franks the UA 42 before the clock put an end to one of the most spectacular games in Alabama football history.
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UA 7, UM 0 (8:19) ?? Johnny Musso 1-yard run (Mike Dean kick) (15 plays, 76 yards, 6:41 elapsed)
UA 7, UM 7 (4:05) ?? Archie Manning 2-yard run (Perry King kick) (10 plays, 74 yards, 4:07 elapsed)
UA 14, UM 7 (4:21) ?? Bubba Sawyer 17-yard run (Dean kick) (7 plays, 96 yards, 2:22 elapsed)
UM 14, UA 14 (11:34) ?? Floyd Franks 11-yard pass from Manning (King kick) (11 plays, 65 yards, 4:26 elapsed)
UA 21, UM 20 (6:34) ?? Musso 1-yard run (Dean kick) (6 plays, 63 yards, 2:25 elapsed)
UA 21, UM 20 (2:30) ?? Manning 17-yard run (kick failed) (4 plays, 80 yards, 1:42 elapsed)
UM 26, Alabama 21 (12:02) ?? Riley Myers 2-yard pass from Manning (pass failed) (8 plays, 86 yards, 3:58 elapsed)
UA 27, UM 26 (7:43) -- Scott Hunter 1-yard run (pass failed) (10 plays, 67 yards, 4:11 elapsed)
UM 32, UA 27 (7:15) ?? Manning 1-yard run (pass failed) (3 plays, 64 yards, 0:28 elapsed)
UA 33, UM 32 (3:42) ?? George Ranager 14-yard pass from Hunter (pass failed) (11 plays, 80 yards, 3:33 elapsed)