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The Alabama/Washington football series: A Closer Look (via Crimson Magazine)

09 Dec 2016 Stan J. Griffin

By Stan J. Griffin: December 9, 2016

When Nick Saban's No. 1 and 13-0 University of Alabama football team squares off in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta against Chris Petersen's No. 4 and 12-1 University of Washington squad as part of the College Football Playoff semifinals on Dec. 31, it will mark a rare meeting of the two respective programs.
Although the Crimson Tide and Huskies boast two of the most tradition-rich programs in the history of major college football, Alabama and Washington have actually only clashed on the football field four times.
And bowl matchups were responsible for two of those meetings, with the last battle between the two teams occurring in the 1986 Sun Bowl.
The No. 13 Crimson Tide won that matchup against the No. 12 Huskies, and have won all four meetings between the programs.

The following is a closer look at all four contests between Alabama and Washington:

Jan. 1, 1926: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif., Alabama 20, Washington 19:
Often referred to as the "game that changed the south," but it was also the game in which the Crimson Tide collected the first of the program's 16 national championships. Former Birmingham News columnist Clyde Bolton also termed the 12th Rose Bowl game the "most important game in Southern football history."
Wallace Wade's Alabama team entered the game heavy underdogs to the mighty Huskies although it was undefeated itself.

Washington was favored by two-touchdowns, the same spread of this season's Tide-Huskie Peach Bowl contest, only with the Crimson Tide being favored this time.
Early on the Huskies lived up to that overwhelming favorite status, as Washington blanked the Crimson Tide 12-0 heading into the intermission of the game.


Behind the play of Tide legends Pooley Hubbert and Johnny Mack Brown, however, Alabama rallied, scoring three touchdowns in the third quarter and ultimately holding on for the win that basically put Southern football on the map and made the point in strong terms that teams from that geographic area could compete with programs on a national gridiron landscape.
Basically it shattered the myth regarding Western football supremacy.
Brown, who caught touchdown passes of 59 and 30 yards in the game, was named the Most Valuable Player of the contest, and the victory wrapped up a perfect 10-season for the Crimson Tide.

Oct. 11, 1975, Tuscaloosa, AL.,  Alabama 52, Washington 0:
A Crimson Tide team that went 11-1 under the legendary Paul W. "Bear" Bryant and won the SEC title had no trouble with Washington in Bryant-Denny Stadium as it crushed the Huskies with an offensive and defensive assault.
The host Alabama team scored 24 points in the first quarter, and by halftime had a commanding 38-0 advantage.
Alabama tallied two more touchdowns in the third period and coasted from there.
The Tide rolled up nearly 500 yards of offense, including 404 on the ground,  while limiting the visiting Huskies to 227 and no points.
Alabama racked up 25 first downs to just 10 for a Washington team quarterbacked in part by former college and professional great Warren Moon. 
Scoring plays in the game for the Crimson Tide included an 84-yard punt return for a score by Willie Shelby, TD runs of 31 and 51 yards by Johnny Davis and a 28-yard scoring pass from Robert Fraley to the legendary Ozzie Newsome.
Davis was the main star of the game as he rushed 13 times for a game-high 155 yards and three TDs.

Oct. 7, 1978, Seattle, Wa., Alabama 20, Washington 17:
A Crimson Tide team coached by Bryant that went 11-1 and captured both the SEC championship and national title had one of its closest battles of the season as it survived a tight contest against the Huskies.
Alabama entered the game ranked No. 8 after having lost to Southern Cal earlier in the season.
Bryant's team, playing one of the nation's toughest schedules that season, a slate which included games against Nebraska, Southern Cal and Missouri, trailed 7-0 after the first quarter of this affair and 10-7 at the half.
The Tide, however, scored a touchdown in the third to take the 13-10 lead, and although both teams were able to find the end zone during the final 15 minutes, Alabama was able to survive the epic road clash.
The Huskies outgained Alabama yardage-wise 326-320, but Alabama tallied 285 yards on the ground, and its running game proved to be a very effective weapon in the second half.
The Tide scored its first TD of the game on a 13-yard carry by Major Ogilvie, and Alabama gained more points in the third quarter via a 1-yard run by Tony Nathan.
Alabama scored its final points in the fourth quarter on a 36-yard scoring pass from Jeff Rutledge to Rick Neal.
Ogilvie rushed for 98 yards on just eight carries in the Tide win, while Billy Jackson and Nathan added 57 and 47 yards on the ground respectively.

Dec. 25, 1986, Sun Bowl, Alabama 28, Washington 6:
In this Christmas Day showdown in El Paso Texas, a Crimson Tide team headed toward a 10-3 record and coached by Ray Perkins gained a big postseason win over Don James' Huskies.
It would also prove to be the final game as Alabama coach for Perkins, who soon afterward resigned after a four-year stint in Tuscaloosa to take the coaching job of the National Football League's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Tide entered the contest ranked No. 12 in the nation while James' squad was No. 11.
Neither team was able to scratch for points in the first 15 minutes of the contest, but the Tide finally broke the scoreless duel in explosive fashion in the second period as legendary Tide tailback Bobby Humphrey dashed 64 yards for a touchdown to put the Crimson Tide up 7-0.
Washington, though, was able to trim the Tide's lead to a precarious 7-6 on a pair of field goals by Jeff Jeager, and this was the score at halftime.
Perkins' Tide squad, however, broke the game open in the second half of play.
Early in the third quarter, UA quarterback Mike Shula, who would become the Crimson Tide's head coach in 2003, hit Greg Richardson on a 32-yard scoring aerial to extend Alabama's advantage to 14-6.
A couple of drives later, Shula delivered an 18-yard scoring strike to Humphrey to swell the lead to 21-6.
Humphrey later added a final three-yard touchdown run as part of a big game in which he totaled 202 all-purpose yards before a Sun Bowl crowd of 48,722.
Humphrey had 158 yards rushing on 29 carries, which was his fifth-straight 100-yard effort that season.
While the Tide's talented running back certainly had a huge effort, the Most Valuable Player award for the contest actually went to UA linebacker Cornelius Bennett, another Alabama legend, as he tallied 11 tackles and a sack.
Shula passed for 188 yards and a pair of scores.

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