ALABAMA FOOTBALL: Crimson Tide Bowl Highlights Alabama has played in more bowls (55) and has more bowl wins (30) than any other Football Bowl Subdivision team in NCAA history. Here are some highlights of the Tide's illustrious bowl history.
ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE BOWL HIGHLIGHTS
Alabama made its bowl debut on Jan. 1, 1926 with a 20-19 come-from-behind win over Washington. The Crimson Tide erased a 12-0 halftime deficit with a 20-point third quarter to earn its first bowl win. Pooley Hubert scored the first touchdown in UA bowl history with a 1-yard run in the third quarter. Johnny Mack Brown, who later became the “Singing Cowboy” had two touchdown receptions (59 yards and 27 yards) in the win.
The Tide captured back-to-back national championships with Rose Bowl wins in 1926 and 1927. In fact, the Tide’s first five bowl appearances came at the Rose Bowl. Alabama went 3-1-1 in those games with wins over Washington (1926), Washington State (1931) and Stanford (1935).
Alabama set the NCAA bowl record for fewest first downs (1) in its 29-21 win over Texas A&M in the 1942 Cotton Bowl. The record has since been tied by Arkansas (1) against LSU (scoreless tie) in the 1947 Cotton Bowl.
Alabama set the NCAA record with no passing first downs in that Cotton Bowl win over Texas A&M. The record has since been tied by Navy (1964 Cotton), Florida (1966 Sugar) and Southern Cal (1998 Sun).
Hugh Morrow had a 75-yard interception return in Alabama’s 29-26 loss to Duke in the 1945 Sugar Bowl.
Bama’s Harry Gilmer rushed for 113 yards in the 1946 Rose Bowl win over Southern California. The 113 rushing yards ranks 15th on the NCAA’s all-time bowl list for a quarterbacks rushing stats. Gilmer had eight straight pass completions, the ninth-highest total in NCAA bowl history.
Alabama’s Bobby Luna tied the NCAA bowl record with nine extra point attempts (made seven) in the Crimson Tide’s 61-6 win over Syracuse in the 1953 Orange Bowl.
The Crimson Tide’s 55-point win is the largest margin of victory in NCAA bowl history. Alabama’s 61 points are the second most in bowl history after Nebraska posted a 66-17 win over Northwestern in the 2000 Alamo Bowl.
All-American and future All-Pro Lee Roy Jordan set the all-time bowl record with 31 tackles in the Crimson Tide’s 17-0 win over Oklahoma in the 1963 Orange Bowl. President John F. Kennedy attended the game in Miami.
Alabama’s Tim Davis drilled four field goals on a snow-covered Tulane Stadium as Alabama beat Ole Miss 12-7 in the Jan. 1, 1964 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. Davis connected on 4-of-5 field goals in the win. The four made field goals are tied for the sixth most in NCAA bowl history, while the five attempts equal the fourth-most in history.
Colorado (24) and Alabama (12) combined for an NCAA bowl record 36 rushing first downs in the 1969 Liberty Bowl in Memphis.
UA quarterback Richard Todd had an excellent game against Penn State in the Dec. 31, 1975 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. Todd completed 10-of-12 passes (.833) in the Crimson Tide’s 13-6 win over the Nittany Lions. Todd’s .833 completion percentage is the fifth-highest in NCAA bowl history.
The 1975 Sugar Bowl was the first one contested inside the newly constructed Louisiana Superdome. It was also the first Sugar Bowl game played as part of the new contract that sent the SEC Champion to New Orleans each year. Long-time Sugar Bowl guru Aruns Callerey, a close, personal friend, of UA head coach Paul Bryant, orchestrated that deal.
Alabama won back-to-back national championships (1978-79) with a pair of Sugar Bowl wins over Penn State (14-7) and Arkansas (24-9). The Tide's win over Penn State on Jan. 1, 1979 included the famous goal-line stand, perhaps the most memorable play in Tide football lore.
Major Ogilvie became the first player in NCAA history to score a touchdown in four straight New Year's Day games, with touchdowns against Ohio State (1978 Sugar), Penn State (1979 Sugar), Arkansas (1980 Sugar) and Baylor (Cotton, 1981).
Alabama defeated Illinois 21-15 in Coach Paul Byrant’s final game as head coach of the Crimson Tide on Dec. 29, 1982 at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis. On that frigid night, senior Jeremiah Castille recorded an Alabama and Liberty Bowl record three interceptions en route to game MVP honors. The three “picks” tie for the third-most in bowl history.
Alabama tailback Sherman Williams holds the NCAA bowl record with 359 all-purpose yards in the Crimson Tide’s 24-17 win over Ohio State in the Jan. 2, 1995 Florida Citrus Bowl. Williams accounted for 166 rushing yards, 155 receiving yards and 38 kickoff return yards in the win. Williams scored the winning TD with less than one-minute to play when he hauled in a 50-yard pass from Jay Barker to beat the Buckeyes.
In Gene Stallings final game as head coach, Alabama defeated Michigan 17-14 on Jan. 1, 1997 at the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla. The win over Michigan marks the last time the Crimson Tide has won a New Year’s Day bowl game.
In the win, Crimson Tide linebacker Dwayne Rudd set an Alabama record with an 88-yard interception return of a Brian Griese pass to give the Crimson Tide the lead in the fourth quarter. Rudd was named the game’s most outstanding player.
Alabama cornerback Anthony Madison set a UA bowl record with three PBUs in the 2004 loss to Minnesota in the Music City Bowl. The three PBUs rank seventh all-time in NCAA bowl lore.
Jamie Christensen’s 45-yard field as time expired lifted the Crimson Tide to a 13-10 win over Texas Tech in the 2005 AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic. Christensen’s game-winning kick was his third of the season, setting a UA single-season record. The game-winning field goal was also a first for the Tide in a post-season bowl game.
Senior quarterback Brodie Croyle and sophomore wide receiver Keith Brown teamed up on a 76-yard TD pass in the first quarter to give the Tide a 7-0 lead over the Red Raiders.
Alabama freshman punt returner Javier Arenas set an Alabama and Independence Bowl record with an 86-yard punt return against Oklahoma State in the 2006 Independence Bowl. Arenas’ t punt return pulled the Tide to within 31-24 in the fourth quarter.
The Crimson Tide the game on its next possession. Following an OSU fumble on the ensuing kickoff, left tackle Andre Smith scored the tying touchdown with a 2-yard run (lateral from Wilson) in the fourth quarter. Smith’s 2-yard run made the score 31-31 with 8:41 left in the game.