Oct. 17, 2008
JACKSON, Miss. – Top-ranked Alabama ran past Mississippi 59-35 in a Sept. 20, 1980 shootout on a hot and humid Saturday afternoon at Mississippi Memorial Stadium in Jackson.
The Crimson Tide piled up 458 rushing yards, including 100-yard games by halfbacks Linnie Patrick and Billy Jackson. Patrick ran nine times for 111 yards and one touchdown, while Jackson added 108 yards and one score on 10 rushing attempts. In all, 12 different Alabama backs carried the ball in the win over Mississippi. Alabama scored on nine of its 16 possessions, with five of the scoring drives needing five plays or fewer.
The Rebels did most its damage through the air as quarterback John Fourcade and tailback Buford McGee combined for 336 passing yards. Fourcade completed 21 of 43 passes for 296 with four touchdowns and three interceptions. McGee completed a 40-yard halfback pass in the loss.
The teams combined for 1,024 yards of offense in the game. The Tide ran 62 plays for 524 yards, while the Rebels ran 90 snaps for 500 yards. It was the most productive Alabama-Mississippi game since the Scott Hunter-Archie Manning shootout at Legion Field in 1969. Manning and Hunter threw for more than 700 combined yards and the two offenses rolled up nearly 1,100 yards of offense that night at Legion Field.
The 1980 Alabama-Mississippi game also remains as the highest scoring game in series lore.
Despite the chunks of yards by the Rebels, the Tide defense made key some plays. Defensive back Jeremiah Castille led the Tide with 13 tackles, one TFL and one interception. Defensive end Thomas Boyd was also all over the field as evidenced by his 12 tackles, one TFL and two pass break-ups. UA also forced four turnovers in the win.
Alabama scored on three of its first four possessions to take a commanding 21-0 lead in the first quarter. After an exchange of punts, UA drove 80 yards in four plays on it second possession to take a 7-0 lead. Major Ogilvie capped the drive with a 36-yard run and Peter Kim’s extra point gave the Tide a 7-0 lead with 8:55 left in the opening quarter.
On the next play from scrimmage, Castille intercepted a pass at the Rebels 34-yard line. On the Tide’s next snap, Don Jacobs fired a 34-yard TD pass to Bart Krout and Kim’s extra point pushed the Tide in front 14-0 with 8:38 left in the first quarter.
Following a three-and-out by the UA defense and a short punt, Alabama was in business at the Rebels 42-yard line on its next possession. Despite a 5-yard penalty, Alabama needed only three plays to cover the 42 yards, capped by Joe Jones 28-yard run. Kim’s extra point gave Alabama a 21-0 lead with 5:34 left in the quarter.
Alabama missed a 45-yard field goal attempt in the waning seconds of the first quarter and that seemed to spark the Rebels offense. UM then marched 72 yards in eight plays on its next possession, capped by a 26-yard touchdown pass from Fourcade to Breck Taylor, to put the Rebels on the board. Todd Gatlin’s extra point made 21-7 with 13:15 left in the first half. Tyler led all receivers with six catches for 135 yards and one TD in the loss to the Tide.
The shootout was on.
The Crimson Tide answered with a 7-play, 81-yard drive to take a 28-7 lead with 10:27 left in the quarter. Patrick capped the drive with a 24-yard touchdown run and Kim’s extra point gave the Tide a three-touchdown lead again.
But, the Rebels came right back with an 8-play, 75-yard drive to cut the deficit to 28-14. Fourcade hooked up with splint end Ken Toler for a 36-yard scoring strike as the Rebels cut the lead in half with 7:22 left in the half. The teams traded punts on the next two possessions and the Tide took its two touchdown lead into the dressing room.
Alabama had outrushed Mississippi, 247-41, in the first half and four the six touchdowns by the two teams came on play of 26 yards or longer.
The Rebels took the second half kickoff and managed only a 7-yard return to the UM 7-yard line. Ricky Tucker picked off a Fourcade pass at the UM 41-yard line on the first play of the half and gave the Tide excellent field position with a 35-yard return to the Rebels 6-yard line. Jackson scored on the very next play and Kim’s extra point made it 35-14 with just 19 seconds ticked off the third quarter clock.
Following another Ole Miss punt and 34-yard return by Ogilvie, the Tide had first-and-10 at the Rebels 34 yard line, but after one first down had to settle for Kim’s 33-yard field and a 38-14 lead with 10:40 left in the third quarter.
After another Alabama missed field goal attempt, Ole Miss used a 9-play, 57-yard drive to trim the deficit to 38-21 with 3:22 left in the quarter. Fourcade capped the drive with a 4-yard TD pass to Toler, who finished the game with four catches for 65 yards and a game-high two touchdowns.
Again the Tide answered and scored in six plays to push the lead to 45-21 at the end of the third quarter. Joe Carter’s 4-yard TD run capped a 6-play, 70-yard drive for Alabama.
Ole Miss came back with a touchdown of its own as McGee capped a 9-play, 80-yard march with a 1-yard plunge. The extra point pulled the Rebels to within 45-28, but the defense had no answer for the Tide’s high-powered running game.
After a 43-yard kickoff return by Darryl White, Alabama took over at its own 49-yard line and scored in seven plays. Ogilvie capped the drive with a 2-yard run and the Tide led 52-28 with 9:58 left in the game.
Ole Miss scored in the final two minutes when Fourcade fired a 12-yard pass to Chester Thornton with 2:03 left in the game and Alabama scored on the game’s final play as Walter Lewis scampered 22 yards to make the final 59-35, putting an end to the high-scoring affair.