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Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Weinreb: The Goal-Line Stand

By Edward Aschoff

Alabama's 14-7 win against Penn State in the 1979 Sugar Bowl didn't come without quite the fight down in New Orleans.

After going 10-1 during the regular season, the No. 2-ranked Crimson Tide took on No. 1 Penn State down on Bourbon Street. Everything came down to what is still considered one of the the most historic plays in Alabama football history, when the Tide defense stopped Penn State on a goal-line stand on fourth down to secure the win over the Nittany Lions.

Grantland's Michael Weinreb takes an in-depth look at piece about the colossal stand -- and game -- that led to a split national championship:
Everything I know about college football I view through the prism of the 1979 Sugar Bowl. It is not my earliest memory, but it might as well be: In the pale yellow American Broadcasting Corporation graphics, in the fine-spun play-by-play of Keith Jackson, in the august pro-Dixie color analysis of longtime Arkansas coach Frank Broyles, in the stark clash of the two most elegant uniforms in college football with the lime sheen of the AstroTurf, in Bear Bryant's bold sartorial choices, in the futuristic electronic time clock of the Superdome … hell, I guess the 1979 Sugar Bowl is my own little hyperconcussive madeleine. It triggers memories of childhood anticipation and of childhood disappointment, of every fear and obstacle and potential triumph that lay ahead; even now, when I go back to the video, the whole thing just feels so incomprehensibly huge to me, so loaded with involuntary memory -- not to mention the dread of knowing how the whole thing ends -- that I have trouble watching more than a few minutes at a time before I find myself shutting it off.