Is the Bama magic finally back?

From Hunter Ford:


From Wickpedia: Mojo is a term commonly encountered in the African-American folk belief called hoodoo. A mojo is a type of magic charm, often of red flannel cloth and tied with a drawstring, containing botanical, zoological, and/or mineral curios, petition papers, and the like. It is typically worn under clothing.

Bill Curry actually benefited from some Bama Mojo. Anybody remember that Kentucky game up at Lexington? Nobody my age (37) could ever forget the “Desperation Block.” Curry never lost to Joe Pa or to Tennessee. But, Pat Dye and Auburn had a curse on him. Curry never beat them at Georgia Tech either.

When Gene Stallings took over the Tide in 1990 he promptly lost three close games to Southern Miss, Georgia and Florida to start his Alabama career 0-3. I remember when the Tide turned for Stallings and the Bama Mojo began working for him. It was the game at Knoxville against Tennessee. Tied up at six all, Tennessee lined up for the winning kick. Alabama blocked it and Phillip Doyle booted one for Alabama in a 9-6 win that was HUGE.

We beat Auburn to end the regular season. Although we blew the Fiesta Bowl against Louisville, the Mojo from the end of the season carried us to 11-1 and 13-0 seasons the next two years, and a 12-1 season in 1994. Man those were some great years of Alabama football! Could we be on the verge of that again?

Mike Shula only had Bama Mojo as player…never could get it on as a coach. Too bad, cause I’ll never forget ole’ Mikey as a left handed QB marching us down field against Georgia and Auburn in ’85. Or the nice wins against Ohio State and Notre Dame in ’86.

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Is the Bama magic finally back?

By Hunter Ford

Saturday night in Bryant-Denny stadium, as I sat watching Alabama build a 31-10 lead on a solid Arkansas team, a fan behind me turned to a friend and said “the planets are aligned…it’s a perfect day.”

Not only was Alabama performing well, but Auburn had lost to Mississippi State, Tennessee had been throttled by Florida and Notre Dame dropped to 0-3 after a loss to a previously winless Michigan team that lost its home opener to Appalachian State.

With the Tide leading by three scores halfway into the third quarter what could go wrong?

For starters, Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson, who had thrown two glorious touchdown passes earlier in the game, would start tossing the ball into the stands, into the ground and anywhere other than close to a receiver.

Wilson would also leave a snap from center on the turf as a gift to the Razorbacks.

In between all that, Arkansas running back Darren McFadden would carve up the Alabama defense like a glazed ham.

Arkansas held a 38-31 lead with time wasting away. It was déjà vu all over again. Alabama’s $32 million coach Nick Saban was being punked by Arkansas’ Houston Nutt just like the inept Mike Shula had been.

Alabama has built big leads in games against Arkansas over the past few seasons, only to see them evaporate in the final period. Then the Tide would blow the game in overtime.

With Alabama facing fourth and five inside Arkansas territory with less than five minutes to play Saban decides to send kicker Leigh Tiffin in to try a field goal. Any eight-year-old would tell you this was a poor decision. My eight-year-old son did. “Umm, Dad…why are they kicking it? Field goals are only three points.” My son’s math was solid. Alabama still would have to stop Arkansas and score a touchdown to win the game, assuming Tiffin makes the kick.

If Tiffin were in a 70’s rock band it would be “Dr. Hook.” The poor guy manages to miss at least one easy field goal attempt each game. He missed a game winning field goal in last season’s Arkansas game, and botched an extra point in overtime that gave the Hogs the victory.

But Saturday night Tiffin knocked the ball through from 42 yards out to keep Alabama in the game 38-34.

Alabama stopped Arkansas (with McFadden nursing an injury on the bench) and got the ball back with a little over two minutes to play. Suddenly Saban started looking smarter than a third grader again.

With some precision passing from Wilson and some help from Arkansas penalties, Alabama found itself in the red zone with a chance to win the game. When Wilson lofted a pass into the corner of the north end zone, and Tide receiver Matt Cadell heroically cradled into his chest, Bryant-Denny erupted like Mount Vesuvius. The horrible nightmares of blown opportunities in the past few seasons were buried in the ashes. For the first time in seven years, Alabama had come from behind in the fourth quarter to win a game.

That old feeling was back. The feeling that, no matter how improbable it may seem, no matter what the odds are, that Alabama can will itself to victory, somehow.

Here are some amazing Alabama victories of the past:

In 1961 Alabama trailed Georgia Tech in Atlanta for most of the game. Richard O’Dell, a Tide player who had never kicked a field goal in a college game, booted one that gave Alabama a 16-15 victory at the final gun.

In 1966 Tennessee missed a point blank goal and Alabama won 11-10 on the way to an 11-0 season.

In 1985 Alabama was leading Georgia in Athens until the Bulldogs blocked a punt late in the game to take the lead. Alabama’s Mike Shula lead a last minute drive, passing to Al Bell for the winning touchdown in a 20-16 win.

In 1989 Alabama used a “desperation block” to swat away a game winning 19-yard field goal as time expired against Penn State in Beaver Stadium.

There are many other examples. Alabama used to pull rabbits out of its hat on a yearly basis to win ballgames.

Is the old-time magic really back? It sure felt like it Saturday night.