Archives for the month of: October, 2012

As the calendar closes in on Halloween and the final month of the season in November, the SEC’s named rivalries began to kickoff. The Third Saturday in October, The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry and The Iron Bowl are all part of SEC lore. For these rivalries, we’ll take a look back at the games five, 10, 20 and 30 years ago.

Today — the third Saturday in October — marks the annual Alabama-Tennessee battle. Since the 1992 divisional split, this rivalry has only been played on the actual third Saturday in October six times.

2007: Alabama 41, #20 Tennessee 17 (Tuscaloosa)

In Nick Saban’s first game against Tennessee as Alabama’s head coach, he opened with a recovered onside kick that led to 3-0 lead for the Crimson Tide. They wouldn’t look back and never trailed #20 Tennessee, eventually hammering the Vols in the 2nd half for a 41-17 win. In Philip Fulmer’s final season at Tennessee in 2008, a number of Vols fans sold their home tickets to Tide fans signifying their displeasure with the Vols’ direction. Tennessee hasn’t beaten Saban and Alabama since.

2007 Statistics:

Leading Passer (yards) — Ala. QB John Parker Wilson (32/46 for 363 yds., 3 TDs, 0 INTs)

Leading Rusher — Ala. RB Terry Grant (26 carries for 104 yds., 1 TD)

Leading Receiver — Ala. WR D.J. Hall (13 catches for 185 yds., 2 TDs)

 

2002: #19 Alabama 34, #16 Tennessee 14 (Knoxville)

The 2002 version of the Alabama Crimson Tide lost only two games, and on its way to double-digit victories, it snapped Tennessee’s seven-game winning streak in the rivalry. The 1995-2001 stretch is the Volunteers longest streak in the series. Alabama holds an 11-game mark and is currently on a five-game streak.

The series’ famous “Victory Cigars” were surely lit up in Tuscaloosa after this one.

The video is blurry, but Ron Franklin is on the call (Courtesy of RedElephantStampede). He was SEC Saturday Night, and you wish he still was.

 

 

Alabama QB Jay Barker escapes the Tennessee rush.

1992: #4 Alabama 17, #13 Tennessee 10 (Knoxville)

Alabama would go on to win the 1992 National Championship after defeating Tennessee 17-10. The Tide jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the 2nd quarter, but gave the Vols an opportunity to tie the game in the 4th quarter with a fumble at the Tennessee 48-yard-line with 1:30 left. However, Tennessee QB Heath Shuler threw an interception to end the threat.

 

1982: Tennessee 35, #2 Alabama 28 (Knoxville)

Like the 2002 version of this rivalry, the 1982 game ended a team’s longest streak. Alabama had won 11 straight against the Vols, but Tennessee knocked them off to start a four-game streak of its own from 1982-1985. Vols WR and world-class sprinter Willie Gault, who would later star for the Chicago Bears, struck early in this one.

Long-time Tennessee radio voice John Ward on call (Courtesy of YankeeFanInTenn):

 

Two weeks ago head coach Steve Spurrier and South Carolina rang up their third consecutive win over Georgia for the first time in their history. Today, they attempt the same feat against Florida. Next week, it’s Tennessee that will try to avoid a third consecutive loss to the Gamecocks. And Clemson is already there, dropping games in 2009, 2010 and 2011 to South Carolina.

The ol’ ball coach has turned things around on each of South Carolina’s rivals, especially since players like former WR Alshon Jeffrey, current RB Marcus Lattimore and DE Jadeveon Clowney have decided to stay home and play for the Gamecocks.

Lattimore had 212 yards rushing and three touchdowns as a freshman in 2010 against Florida in Gainesville as South Carolina clinched its first SEC East title, defeating the Gators 36-14. A Gatorade shower followed for Spurrier and he was carried off the field that he coined as “The Swamp” as Florida’s head coach on his players’ shoulders.

There goes Marcus. (Courtesy: Mike Ehrmann, Getty Images)

Florida senior safety Josh Evans was quoted this week as saying, “That’s a feeling you’ll never forget. It’s definitely revenge, man.”

Today’s game marks the first time in 33 meetings that both teams are in the top 10, a similar storyline to the South Carolina-Georgia game two weeks ago.

A Gamecock win today would be South Carolina’s biggest road win in its history. In 1981, they beat #3 North Carolina and the dominant Lawrence Taylor in Chapel Hill 31-13. If they beat #2 Florida today, it will be another “first” or “best” for the Gamecocks.

They’re getting used to that in Columbia.

LSU and Texas A&M will meet for the 51st time Saturday. LSU has met only Tulane and Rice more than A&M, a series that LSU leads 27-20-3. The Tigers were victorious in their latest meeting, the 2011 Cotton Bowl, 41-24. However, the Aggies have won the past five regular season games versus LSU, a stretch from 1991-1995. A&M also holds a 7-1-1 record against the Tigers in College Station, site of Saturday’s game.

A series that began in 1899 has had many starts and stops over the past century as LSU and A&M have been members of the same conference — the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA) in the early 1900s along with many current SEC members — and played several out-of-conference games against each other during the 20th century.

1995: Freshman LSU RB Kevin Faulk, who still holds many LSU records, is swarmed by the A&M defense at Kyle Field. The Aggies won 33-17.

Texas has denied to establish A&M as a permanent out-of-conference foe after the Aggies left the Big XII. Who better than LSU to fill the void vacated by the Longhorns? A&M has played LSU more than any other out-of-conference opponent in its history.

 

The only question is, why isn’t it later in the SEC schedule?

For more coverage of the renewed LSU-A&M rivalry, click here and here.

The last time Mississippi State defeated Tennessee, the year was 1994 and a freshman quarterback named Peyton Manning took over starting duties after Tennessee quarterbacks Todd Helton (of Colorado Rockies fame) and Jerry Colquitt were hurt. Mississippi State beat the freshman quarterback that day on a 4th down touchdown, but Manning never looked back.

State’s game winning drive:

 

I like Les. I really do. And of course, sometimes you can win and still be a dummy. — Steve Spurrier

He’s one of those guys you enjoy seeing at the SEC meetings. — Les Miles

Enjoy more here: Steve Spurrier, Les Miles will be part of the show

Characters.

The Tide and Tigers met in the 1968 Gator Bowl.

Here’s a surprising stat. Missouri actually leads the all-time series with Alabama 2-1 — one of the few programs in America to do so. Dan Devine’s Tigers were victorious in the 1968 Gator Bowl 35-10 over Bear Bryant’s Tide and Missouri won the second meeting in 1975 in Alabama 20-7. The Tide returned the favor in 1978, winning in Missouri 38-20.

Alabama is a three touchdown favorite to even the series tomorrow afternoon in what should be termed the Don James Bowl as both Nick Saban and Gary Pinkel are former James players and assistants at Kent State. Could someone sneak a Golden Flashes trophy down to Columbia?

South Carolina’s George Rogers captured the 1980 Heisman Trophy.

The Georgia-South Carolina football series was moved back to October this year for the first time since South Carolina joined the SEC in 1992 to accommodate newcomers Missouri and Texas A&M. Typically, the two programs squared off in early September as conference foes or in late September before the Gamecocks’ entry into the conference.

The game hasn’t been played this late in the season since 1980 when it was played on Nov. 1, and featured Georgia RB Herschel Walker and South Carolina RB George Rogers, the 1980 Heisman Trophy winner. The 1980 game also held the distinction of the highest combined rankings between the two programs as Georgia was #4 and South Carolina #14.

Georgia’s Herschel Walker posted 219 yards against South Carolina in 1980.

This year’s game takes that mantle as the Bulldogs come in at #5 and the Gamecocks #6.

Who will emerge as the series’ Mr. October tomorrow night?