The expectations for the Alabama Crimson Tide headed into the 1992 season were high. With a favorable schedule, some anticipated the Tide, under then-head coach Gene Stallings could vie for its first national championship in the post-Paul "Bear" Bryant era.
The Stallings-coached team was perhaps the last of its type — an SEC team heralded for defense and a ball-control-minded offense, which was a contrast to the Tide's eventual 1993 Sugar Bowl opponent, the University of Miami Hurricanes.
Alabama started the season ranked ninth in the country according to the Associated Press college football poll. However, one sportswriter, Corky Simpson of the Tucson (Ariz.) Citizen stuck with the Tide wire-to-wire, giving Alabama his first-place vote the entire season.
It obviously paid off for Simpson, with the Crimson Tide running the table on a defense with the nation's lowest points allowed per game total. Along the way were dominating wins, including a 17-0 win against in-state rival Auburn in Pat Dye's last game as head coach of the Tigers.
The two close calls came near the end of the season, a 30-21 win against the Mississippi State Bulldogs in Starkville and a 28-21 against a Steve Spurrier-coached Florida Gators team in the first-ever SEC Championship Game.
The University of Miami Hurricanes were an eight-point favorite against Alabama, riding a 29-game winning streak heading into the match-up.
Just as it had throughout the 1992 season, the Crimson Tide defense held the Hurricanes to 13 points. Miami quarterback Gino Torretta threw three interceptions.
Alabama piled up the yards on the ground, rushing for 267 yards.
That day, the most memorable play on the field occurred when Miami wide receiver Lamar Thomas caught a deep pass from Torretta with nothing between Thomas and the endzone. However, Tide safety George Teague caught up to Thomas and stripped the ball from him. It was called back for a Tide offsides penalty but prevented a touchdown and put the momentum of the game in Alabama's favor.
Alabama prevailed 34–13 and finished the season with a 13-0. The Tide claimed the 12th national championship in the program's history.
Recently, Stallings appeared on the 1819 News podcast to remember his time as the Alabama coach and discuss how things had changed since he left the Alabama program in 1996.
Jeff Poor is the executive editor of 1819 News and host of "The Jeff Poor Show," heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile's FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.
Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.