COUNTDOWN TO SHOWDOWN
In the 25 days leading up to college football's championship game between No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Alabama at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, the Chattanooga Times Free Press is counting down the traditions and memorable moments involving the Irish and the Crimson Tide. Today is No. 11.
Alabama won college football national championships in 1978 and '79, and the Crimson Tide spent seven weeks of the '80 season ranked No. 1.
A stunning 6-3 loss to Mississippi State in Jackson on the first Saturday of November left Bear Bryant's Tide down but not out, but their flickering hopes were snuffed two weeks later with a 7-0 loss to Notre Dame at Legion Field. It was Alabama's fourth loss to Notre Dame in eight seasons, and it would be Bryant's final crack at the Irish.
The game wound up hinging on three turnovers in the second quarter.
Alabama quarterback Don Jacobs fumbled an exchange with fullback Billy Jackson at the Tide 12-yard line, but Notre Dame quarterback Blair Kiel stepped away from center too quickly after the Irish had driven to the 1. Jacobs was involved with another fumble two plays later at the 3-yard line, and the Irish took a 7-0 lead two snaps after that when tailback Phil Carter scored from 2 yards out.
The Crimson Tide were held to 246 yards, but the Irish managed just 192. Irish linebacker Bob Crable was the star of the game, making 11 tackles and stopping Linnie Patrick on a fourth-and-1 from the Notre Dame 37 in the fourth quarter.
"I went out there and wasted my afternoon," Bryant said.
Notre Dame accepted a Sugar Bowl invitation to play Georgia, while Alabama received a Cotton Bowl spot against Baylor.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...