This day in sports history
BY COLIN “BIG C” MACGUIRE
The Greenville Standard
Today I will discuss the 1972 Alabama SEC Championship Team. This was the second year of the wishbone era.
The 1971 team won The SEC, with an 11-1 record, but lost to Nebraska 38-6 in the Orange Bowl. That game was for the National Championship.
Alabama was ranked seventh entering the first game. They opened the season on Sept. 9 vs Duke at Legion Field and won 35-12.
The next game was on Sept. 23 at Legion Field vs Kentucky, 35-0. The last time both teams played was in 1947. Coach Bryant was the head coach at Kentucky.
On Sept. 30 vs Vanderbilt at Denny, Alabama trailed 7-6 end of the first quarter. The score at half was 34-7. The final was 48-21.
On Oct. 7, The Tide faced Georgia at Georgia winning 25-7. The last time the teams played each other was in 1965.
On Oct. 14, Alabama hosted Florida at Denny. Florida scored first on a 60-yard run by Nat Moore. Then Alabama scored 24 points to win.
On Oct. 21, Alabama played Tennessee at Tennessee. Alabama was #3, Tennessee was #10. It was a knock down drag out war. A Bobby McKinney pick set up a field goal before the half. Alabama 3-0 at the half.
Tennessee scored a touchdown in the third quarter and a field goal in the fourth quarter to lead 10-3. With less than three minutes left in the game, Alabama scored two touchdowns. A three play 48 yard drive resulted in a two yard run by Wilbur Jackson. Alabama kicked the extra point to tie the game.
Tennessee fans booed the move. Alabama kicked deep. Alabama forced a Tennessee fumble which was recovered at the UT 22. On the next play, Terry Davis scored on a 22-yard run for the win.
On Oct. 28, Alabama faced Southern Miss at Legion Field. The score at the half was 7-3 Alabama. They scored three touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters to win 48-11.
On Nov. 4, The Tide hosted Mississippi State at Denny. Alabama won 58-14. The highlight of the game was walk-on Herb Wilmont scoring the last touchdown. He was not on the roster.
On Nov. 11, Alabama played LSU at Legion Field. It was on National TV. Both teams were undefeated. It was 7-7 at halftime. Terry Davis was on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Alabama won 35-21. Alabama secured a share of the SEC.
On Nov. 18, Virginia Tech came to Denny and it was Homecoming. Bruce Arians was the backup quarterback behind Don Strock. Arians is the head coach of The Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Alabama won 52-13.
On Dec. 2, Alabama faced Auburn at Legion Field. It was like what Franklin D. Roosevelt said about Pearl Harbor, “A day that will live in infamy.” Alabama was #2 and Auburn was #9.
Going into the fourth quarter, The Tide led 16-0. Auburn kicked a 42-yard field goal to make the score 16-3. Auburn blocked two back to back punts and scored touchdowns to pull big upset. Alabama held Auburn to 80 total yards, 50 rushing on 46 carries and 30 yards passing. Hopes of a National Championship vanished.
Alabama played Texas in the Cotton Bowl and lost 17-13. Coach Bryant said Alabama lost this game (Cotton Bowl) in Birmingham.
It was a very good team that finished on a downer.