Thursday, November 13, 2008

Memories of 1980 Mississippi State loss still hurt

TUSCALOOSA — The memories are not pleasant for former Alabama quarterback Don Jacobs. When Jacobs, the football coach at Elkmont High, talks with his Alabama teammates about their years playing together, the 1980 game against Mississippi State never comes up.
“We talk about the good times,” Jacobs said. “We don’t talk about the bad times.”
On Nov. 1 of that year, the then-No. 1 Tide came to Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson, Miss., undefeated and riding a 28-game winning streak. It eyed its third consecutive national championship and an 8-0 record. But the Bulldogs stuffed the Tide, allowing 180 total yards in a 6-3 win.
“It was as tough a loss as any I had ever been around,” Jacobs said. “We had won a bunch of games, we had not gone through a loss and having to feel those emotions.”
Before this year, that day was the most recent time Alabama was ranked No. 1 in the regular season.
If Alabama wins this year’s game, it will not bring any kind of retribution or closure for members of the 1980 team. That loss has its own place in their personal histories.
“It’s a new day. You are talking about different coaches, players, offenses and defenses,” former Tide running back Major Ogilvie said. “That game is what it is. Going back 28 years, that’s a long time, and a lot has changed since then.”
If there is one constant between the two games, it’s the fact that Mississippi State coach Sylvester Croom will be a part of each one as a coach. In 1980, he was Alabama’s inside linebackers coach.
“It was disappointing to lose that game because I think that was definitely a national championship-caliber team,” Croom said. “Mississippi State ended that.”
• DAVIS NO LONGER IGNORED: Right tackle Drew Davis is kind of the forgotten man on Alabama’s offensive line. He did not start before this season, and most of his playing time before 2007 came in mop-up duty.
But last Saturday Davis was a key contributor in preventing LSU from sacking quarterback John Parker Wilson. The coaching staff named Davis one of the offensive players of the week for his play.
“I've always been confident. Coming through the spring, I just felt comfortable,” Davis said. “I think we've stepped up. I think we've continuously gotten better, and I think we'll continue to get better.”
• GRANT WILL GET TOUCHES: With running back Roy Upchurch still nursing a neck injury, Tide coach Nick Saban reiterated that running back Terry Grant could see more action Saturday against the Bulldogs.
Last year, Grant led the Tide with 891 yards rushing, but has seen himself fall behind Glen Coffee, Mark Ingram and Upchurch at running back.
“You have to be ready to take advantage of the opportunity when you get it,” Saban said. “He has worked hard and done a good job the last few weeks, and will probably have a good chance to have an opportunity some in this game.”
• CODY CANNONBALLS HURT: Imagine how much this would hurt: 6-foot-5, 365-pound nose tackle Terrence Cody diving on a pile of players. Of course, it would hurt the most if you are at the bottom of the pile.
“He loves to play football, he loves to hit, he loves to fly around. As big as he is, he runs to the ball, dives on piles and everything,” defensive end Brandon Deaderick said. “He dove on me once or twice last week.”
— Josh Cooper

1 comment:

Pierce said...

It is an odd thing that people still suffer from that lost, I was like 4 years old, and my father still remember that day as if it were yesterday.

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