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  1. #1
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    Question about 1980 Bama / Miss State game

    I watched an old clip of this storied 6-3 Bulldog victory, but noticed something interesting. Bama fumbles near the 5 yard line en route to an otherwise game-clinching touchdown in the waning seconds of the game. State recovers to seal the win, but the story does not end there. State is penalized for delay of game, and takes a final snap at its 2 yard line to clinch the victory. The Bulldogs, however, fumble that snap with the ball landing near the goal line, but the game is ruled over. The footage follows the celebrating Bulldogs running upfield, but you can still see a cluster of players at the goal line fighting for the ball. I assume that it was ruled that the ball was recovered in the field of play, meaning the game would be over regardless of which team recovered. I guess my question is whether or not there is some lingering controversy about whether Bama recovered the fumble in the Bulldog end zone?

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  3. #2
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    Re: Question about 1980 Bama / Miss State game

    I think cowbells got it but I think the score should have been 6 to 5.

  4. #3

    Re: Question about 1980 Bama / Miss State game

    Quote Originally Posted by utjughead View Post
    I watched an old clip of this storied 6-3 Bulldog victory, but noticed something interesting. Bama fumbles near the 5 yard line en route to an otherwise game-clinching touchdown in the waning seconds of the game. State recovers to seal the win, but the story does not end there. State is penalized for delay of game, and takes a final snap at its 2 yard line to clinch the victory. The Bulldogs, however, fumble that snap with the ball landing near the goal line, but the game is ruled over. The footage follows the celebrating Bulldogs running upfield, but you can still see a cluster of players at the goal line fighting for the ball. I assume that it was ruled that the ball was recovered in the field of play, meaning the game would be over regardless of which team recovered. I guess my question is whether or not there is some lingering controversy about whether Bama recovered the fumble in the Bulldog end zone?
    The real controversy was how we somehow ended up with only one try from the 1 because we let more than 30 seconds run off the stupid clock before we snapped the ball. John Forney went absolutely nuts about that over the air. We just wouldn't snap the stupid ball. And yes State fumbled, a weird ending to one of the weirdest minutes in Alabama football history

  5. #4

    Re: Question about 1980 Bama / Miss State game

    I remember listening to the game on the radio and distinctly remember what you're talking about and had carried the same question around for years. So, one day, at a book signing event for the release of one of his books, I asked John Forney that very question (since he was obviously there). I remember thinking that, finally, I'd get the scoop straight from the horse's mouth. Unfortunately, and sadly, he seemed to hardly recall the play. Therefore, I took it to mean there must not have been too much of a controversy.
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  6. #5
    BamaNation All-SEC Tide Rev's Avatar
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    Re: Question about 1980 Bama / Miss State game

    I was at the ball game and sitting in the end zone where all this happened. It was right in front of me. Here is what I saw on the last snap...Bond fumbled the snap and I saw Curtis McGriff with the ball in his hands in the end zone at the bottom of the pile. But as the video shows, the ref waived it off and the game was over. The refs got out of there in a hurry. Our guys were trying to say we had the ball but nobody was there to listen. The State players ran onto the field celebrating. That was it...one of the most disappointing games I have ever witnessed. Still cannot watch any of the videos of that game.

  7. #6
    BamaNation All-American bamabryan's Avatar
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    Re: Question about 1980 Bama / Miss State game

    I was 14 when this game was played. Very few games were on tv back during this time. I was listening to this game on the radio and wanted to throw up at the end of the game. This is a loss that really stood out to me over the years.

  8. #7
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    Re: Question about 1980 Bama / Miss State game

    Quote Originally Posted by Tide Rev View Post
    I was at the ball game and sitting in the end zone where all this happened. It was right in front of me. Here is what I saw on the last snap...Bond fumbled the snap and I saw Curtis McGriff with the ball in his hands in the end zone at the bottom of the pile. But as the video shows, the ref waived it off and the game was over. The refs got out of there in a hurry. Our guys were trying to say we had the ball but nobody was there to listen. The State players ran onto the field celebrating. That was it...one of the most disappointing games I have ever witnessed. Still cannot watch any of the videos of that game.
    I have seen a video taken in the Jackson, MS stadium of that play where McGriff stands up holding the ball and he is in the end zone which would have been a game winning td for Bama. Problem is, there is no official to be found as they were getting out of dodge with the celebration heading their way from State players. But McGriff did indeed have the ball.
    As for the situation with the ball being snapped (or not being snapped), college football (as were the NFL) had crowd noise rules that were being followed by officials for the visiting team at that time in 1980. On the final Bama drive, Don Jacobs stood up from under center at least a half dozen times asking the referee for noise help. I think the ref actually penalized State 5 yards for delay at one point in the drive that helped us convert a long 4th down. But that is essentially the reason why the ball was not being snapped, as Jacobs kept wanting help from the ref for crows noise and the ref would no longer give it to Jacobs. After Jacobs fumble, I believe Ken Coley started at QB the next week against LSU in Tuscaloosa.

  9. #8
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    Re: Question about 1980 Bama / Miss State game

    Quote Originally Posted by Tide Rev View Post
    I was at the ball game and sitting in the end zone where all this happened. It was right in front of me. Here is what I saw on the last snap...Bond fumbled the snap and I saw Curtis McGriff with the ball in his hands in the end zone at the bottom of the pile. But as the video shows, the ref waived it off and the game was over. The refs got out of there in a hurry. Our guys were trying to say we had the ball but nobody was there to listen. The State players ran onto the field celebrating. That was it...one of the most disappointing games I have ever witnessed. Still cannot watch any of the videos of that game.
    Thank you. I did notice that the refs did not exactly stick around to circle the pile of players, and sort through the mayhem. Too bad that game was played in the era when it was likely not televised, else there may have been multiple camera angles to provide exactly what happened. It would be curious to hear what some of the Bama players on that day have to say about the final play, especially those in the pile at the end.

    It is interesting that many of the highlight shows on that day chose to showcase the play before where Bama fumbled and State recovered, as though that were the final play of the game. I had always thought that was how the game ended, until I watched the footage, which obviously shows the game's actual final play wherein State fumbles the snap.

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