Homecoming games full of classicsBy Tony Tsoukalas | 10/14/2010 11:28pm
Homecoming tradition at the Capstone has been an important part of the fall football schedule since the 1920s. The first Alabama Homecoming was held on Nov. 11, 1920, two years after World War I ended. In that initial Homecoming battle, the Crimson Tide defeated the LSU Tigers 21-0 at an 11 a.m. game on a Thursday. A week before the Homecoming game, the Tide had just finished celebrating its first ever victory against the Vanderbilt Commodors. After the game ended, the school hosted a Homecoming dance.
A lot has changed since the University celebrated its first Homecoming; however, the tradition of Homecoming has stayed the same for the Tide. Homecoming has produced many memorable moments for the Tide, from near heartbreaks to Heisman-winning performances.
Oct. 17, 2009
Perhaps no Homecoming game has been more memorable for the Crimson Tide as the 2009 match up against the South Carolina Gamecocks. The game looked as though it would not pose a problem for the No. 2 Crimson Tide. Safety Mark Barron intercepted South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia on the first play of the game; however, the rest of the game was not that easy for the Tide.
The Alabama offense hit a lull, and quarterback Greg McElroy was having one of the least productive games of his Alabama career. The Tide, up 13-6 late in the fourth, called on running back Mark Ingram to put away the Gamecocks.
Ingram delivered with a season-defining performance, as the sophomore running back took the ball directly from the wildcat formation for five straight plays and then scored a touchdown on a 4-yard toss play to seal the victory for the Tide. Ingram accounted for all 68 yards on the drive en route to a 246-yard rushing game, the third-best total in school history.
Oct. 6, 2007
During Saban’s first year coaching the Tide, the University of Houston Cougars came to came to Tuscaloosa for Homecoming. Alabama, (4-2) was expected to roll over the Cougars (2-3), and after the first quarter, it looked like the Tide would do just that.
The Tide started the second quarter up 23-0 after then-Tide quarterback John Parker Wilson accounted for three touchdowns. The Tide went into the half leading 23-7 and ended the third quarter up 30-10; however, after that things took a turn for the worst.
Two fourth quarter touchdowns by Houston quarterback Case Keenum brought the Cougars back to within one score. Down 30-24 with 2:56 left in the game, Keenum scrambled away from pressure and heaved a pass toward the end zone. Alabama cornerback Simeon Castille saved the game when he intercepted the pass that would have led to a demoralizing loss for the Tide if it had been completed.
The win would go on to be an important one as the Tide finished the regular season 6-6, just good enough to be deemed bowl eligible.
November 1, 1997
Not all Homecoming memories are sweet for the Crimson Tide. In 1997, the Tide (4-3) headed into a Homecoming game against Louisiana Tech. Alabama, favored in the game, lost to the Bulldogs 26-20.
The loss sent the Tide into a tailspin, as Alabama would go on to lose the remainder of its games and finish the season with a 4-7 record.