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On this day is sports history


The Greenville Standard


This Saturday, September 16, Alabama will play Colorado State at 6 p.m. at Bryant-Denny Stadium. This will be the second meeting in this series.

In 2013 Alabama beat Colorado State 31-6. Jim McElwaine, former Alabama Offensive Coordinator from 2008-11 was the Rams Head Coach. Mike Bobo, former Georgia Offensive Coordinator, is the Head Coach now.

Today, going back to September 16, 1978, Alabama was ranked # 1 and traveled to Columbia, Missouri to face the #11 ranked Tigers. The week before Missouri upset defending National Champion Notre Dame 3-0. It was another highly ranked team beaten by Missouri.

The Tigers were nicknamed “The Giant Killers during the 1970’s. This was the third time both were meeting on the playing field. Missouri led the series, 2-0. The 1968 Gator Bowl was beat down 35-10. Alabama yielded over 400 yards rushing.

In 1975, The Giant Killer upset #2 Alabama 20-7 at Legion Field on national television.  The 1978 Alabama-Missouri was broadcasted on The Missouri TV network. WBRC-TV in Birmingham was able to broadcast it. I did not make the trip. I called up my parents they came up to Tuscaloosa to watch the game.

We watched it in the TV room at Bryant Hall. There were several people watching the game. Alabama started off like gangbusters. The first three possessions the Tide scored. It was 17-0. Missouri did not quit.

Missouri passed downfield to score making the score 17-7. On Missouri’s next possession they scored in one play. The quarterback scored on a 69 yard run and they converted the extra point kick. The momentum was shifting their way.

Jeff Rutledge threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown. The kick was good. All of a sudden a 17-0 lead vanished. The halftime score was 20-17.

Coach Bryant peeled the paint off the walls from what I heard. The talk helped. Alabama forced Missouri to punt. E J Junior broke thru the line to block the punt.

Rickey Gilliland picked up the punt and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown. Momentum shifted back to Alabama. The Tide added two more touchdowns to win 38-20. Rickey Gidlliland was named SEC Defensive Player of the week.

Next week I will discuss September 23, 1978 # 1 Alabama vs # 7 Southern.

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