Memorable Plays Mark the Alabama/Penn State Series


There have been many memorable moments in the Alabama/Penn State rivalry over the years. There was the 1979 goal line stand made famous in the Sugar Bowl that won Alabama the national championship that no one will ever forget, but the two probably still most talked about plays in this rivalry took place in 1983 and 1989-one resulting in a loss for the Crimson Tide, the other kept an undefeated season going.

If you are an Alabama fan over the age of 35, you all know the name Preston Gothard. Gothard was going to be the hero in the 1983 game after the Tide came back from a 34-7 deficit. As you all may recall, the touchdown pass quarterback Walter Lewis threw to Gothard in the back of the end zone was called no good and Alabama’s comeback that afternoon was over and the Tide lost 34-28; as replays would show over the years that was a terrible call made by the officials.

Gothard said in a recent article that he hopes that it doesn’t come down to that this weekend.

"Let's hope it doesn't come down to that," Gothard said. "I'm going to be there, first trip back. I'll have to leave the stadium if it comes down to the last play."

What some forgot and I didn’t realize, was that Penn State had been called offsides and the Tide had one more shot at the endzone and STILL couldn’t get in, but we will all remember Gothard’s play as the one that should have won Bama the ball game.

Younger Bama fans probably remember the 1989 thriller between the Tide and the Nittany Lions when Tide linebacker Thomas Rayam blocked the go-ahead field goal that more then likely would have won Penn State the game.

Rayam’s block preserved Alabama’s 17-16 victory. I remember listening to that game and hearing the excitement in Jerry Ducan’s voice when he said “He blocked it Eli!”

Rayam said in the same article that he is still reminded to this day by Tide fans about that play.

"Every time I talk about it, I still get chills," Rayam said.

And nobody who watched Alabama football in the late 70s could ever forget the "Goalline Stand" for the national championshio to win the 1979 National Championship.

It was fourth and goal from the one-foot line with a national championship on the line. Penn State chose to power it in, but Alabama would have none of it. Again, Alabama surged backward through the Penn State line, and Guman was hit in the hole by Barry Krauss and Murray Legg, where he was stopped dead in his tracks.

The Alabama defense had held after a thunderous collision just short of the goal line. Krauss, the man who delivered the brunt of the hit, was knocked unconscious and temporarily lost feeling in his extremities, but he would get up and run off the field under his own power.

The play went down as one of the greatest ever in college football history. Bear Bryant walked off the field with his last national championship.

What’s your favorite memory in this series?

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