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High tide in Alabama
Ray Cave
September 26, 1960
As the season opens, Alabama is bearishly strong and the Big Eight is ready for anyone
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September 26, 1960

High Tide In Alabama

As the season opens, Alabama is bearishly strong and the Big Eight is ready for anyone

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Friday night Bryant took his team to a Birmingham hotel, where he fed the players their fifth steak, 14-ounce choice sirloin, in five days. The same night Butts flew his Georgia boys into town and took them to a movie. They saw Sons and Lovers, but they didn't like it.

They didn't like what they saw on Saturday either at Legion Field. In the first quarter, Bryant's Alabama showed:

1) No passer, but...

2) Its usual crushing defense, which last year gave up only seven touchdowns while earning a 7-1-2 record, and...

3) Most important of all, a running offense.

Using the new wild-card substitution rule (see page 23), Bryant soon had his team battering bigger holes in the Georgia line than Alabama's young backs really needed. In the second quarter they scored three touchdowns, more than they had made in any game last year.

Alabama held that lead almost casually through the second half. Georgia's Tarkenton completed 15 of 31 passes, but they were fruitless. It took a 78-yard punt return by a sophomore, Billy Jackson, on the next-to-last play of the game to set up the lone Georgia touchdown. The final score was 21-6. Bryant was standing on the sidelines about to walk to midfield to shake hands with Butts when Georgia scored. He looked irritated. You aren't supposed to score on a good Bryant team.

For once, Weeping Wally Butts had been correct as a prophet, even though he hadn't meant to be. Alabama had been much too strong for his one-pitcher team. In fact, Alabama's going to be much too strong for almost anyone. And don't let Bear Bryant tell you any differently.

While Alabama terrorized Georgia, Big Eight teams were proving that there has been another shift in football's balance of power and that the conference no longer can be dubbed " Oklahoma and the Seven Dwarfs." With Oklahoma idle, four Big Eight teams took on four from the Southwest Conference and three of them won. Missouri Coach Dan Devine was searching "for that little extra ounce of energy which is the difference between victory and defeat." He found about a pound of it. Missouri won easily, 20-0, over Southern Methodist. Ends Danny La Rose and Conrad Hitchler kept crashing into Arlan Flake, SMU's sophomore quarterback, and messed up pass after pass. On the rare occasions when Flake was given time by his line, he usually overthrew. La Rose was directly responsible for Missouri's final touchdown. He deflected a pass by SMU Halfback Doyce Walker, and Guard Tom Smith intercepted it, running 22 yards for the score. Said Missouri Quarterback Ron Taylor, "Our rush was tremendous. When you knock down as many passes as we did, they can't beat you."

Nebraska came from behind to upset favored (by two touchdowns) Texas 14-13. Senior Pat Fischer, a halfback in 1959 but a quarterback this year, gained revenge for last season's 20-0 loss in which he returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown only to have it erased by a penalty. On Saturday, Fischer scored both Nebraska touchdowns and passed for the two-point bonus that won the game. Texas had a chance to win, but lost when it tried to run the ball over for a two-pointer.

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