The Worst: Alabama vs. Clemson Games


When it comes to Alabama vs. Clemson, we’ve been spoiled. The last two games featuring these two teams have been epic. It was a treat to watch them play in the last two national championship games. When they face off in the Sugar Bowl Monday night, it will be just as much a treat.

In fact, I’d go as far to say that this game will likely be as good as the previous two. It’s a new, fantastic rivalry that college football needs.

Of course, the rivalry wasn’t always this great. In fact, some of the games they’ve played weren’t very good. In fact, of the 16 previous meetings, nine of them resulted in shutouts. Eight of the first nine meetings resulted in shutouts.

Granted, all of those meetings happened before 1950. However, the lone none shutout game was a 74-7 victory (I’ll have more on that later).

For this edition of the Worst, I opted to go with this specific game, as “inspired” by College Football Reference. (Note: THANK YOU)

So before you can get excited for part three of Alabama/Clemson, we need to bring you back down to earth.

5. Clemson’s last win (before the national title last season)- 1905

With Clemson’s victory over Alabama in last season’s title game, it ended a skid against the Tide that lasted…well a long time.

In late October 1905, Clemson got that win 25-0 (or 26-0 depending on your source). Either way, Clemson got the impressive win. Their offense was reportedly solid.

For Alabama, that was their second straight loss. The previous week, the Tide lost to Georgia Tech. Alabama finished that season 6-4.  Clemson, meanwhile, was 3-2-1.

4. Tide rush for nearly 300 yards in win over Clemson- 1934

It was all the Tide all the time. They rushed for 284 yards in a 40-0 victory. Clemson had just 50 in the game.

If you want to know how dominant it was, consider this: Alabama had 23 first downs in the game. Clemson recorded just four.

Don Hutson, who went on to have a successful career for the Green Bay Packers and make the Pro Football Hall of Fame, caught six passes in that game for 83 yards with two touchdowns.

The Tide dominated teams all season long. They finished the season 11-0, claiming a share of the national title. Clemson would secure shutouts in its remaining games to finish the season 5-4.

3. Stabler’s three touchdowns shut down Clemson- 1966

The October 1966 clash featured an undefeated defending national champion Alabama squad taking on a Clemson team that was…well…1-1.

In reality, it was all about Alabama’s star quarterback Kenny Stabler. In the game, Stabler ruled with three touchdowns, two passing and one rushing. He went 7-for-8 in passing, the incompletion just missing on a pass down the field to Ray Perkins. He had 93 yards passing and 39 rushing.

It was more than enough for Alabama to get the 26-0 victory, their second shutout of the season. It wouldn’t be the last time this team had a shutout win. The Tide had four straight shutouts, starting with the LSU game on November 5th and continuing through the Iron Bowl.

In the Sugar Bowl, Alabama finally gave up some points.

Clemson, meanwhile, lost a couple weeks later at USC. However, they’d roll through and win the ACC title outright.

Bryant, tongue in cheek perhaps, said after the game that he was thinking about canceling the game next season. They’d play each other three straight more times and then wouldn’t face off until 1975.

2. Alabama’s 56-0 victory is last shutout in the series- 1975

For this game, Bear and his Tide brought in an offense they hadn’t used in a couple of years: the Wishbone. And it certainly paid off for them

Considering they lost a couple weeks earlier against Missouri, Alabama came out and just punished Clemson, picking up nearly 500 yards of total offense.

Of those, 437 came on the ground thanks to the wishbone. Johnny Davis had 98 yards and one touchdown, while Calvin Culliver had 72 yards and one touchdown, and Willie Shelby had 65 yards and two touchdowns against Clemson.

It was such a tough game for Clemson that freshman quarterback Steve Fuller fractured his ankle.

Alabama won out for the remainder of the season, going 11-1, winning the Sugar Bowl and finishing third in both the AP and Coaches polls.

1. Alabama scores 70 on Clemson- 1931 

The fact is, this game is No. 1 because the winning team scored 74 points. I realize this isn’t a shutout, but that shouldn’t lessen the fact that Alabama scored SEVENTY-FOUR POINTS in this game.

Alabama had a lead after one quarter, although it was close, 13-7. However, the Tide scored 20 points in the second quarter to make it 33-7.

It didn’t get better from there. They scored 20 again in the third quarter and 21 more in the fourth. Eleven touchdowns total for Alabama.

Clemson’s defense stopped the Tide once in the first quarter. Once Alabama went on its scoring run, it didn’t end until Clemson stopped them in the fourth quarter.

It’s worth pointing out that while this game made the front page of the Tuscaloosa News, it wasn’t the top headline. Nope, that honor went to Tulane, who knocked off Georgia.

One other note about the game. At halftime, they paid tribute to Notre Dame Head Coach Knute Rockne, who died in a plane crash that March.