Alabama won the first three in the series before Ohio State turned the Tide
A brief look at the previous meetings between Ohio State and Alabama, who play Monday in the College Football Playoff championship game:
1978 Sugar Bowl
Date: Jan. 2, 1978
Site: New Orleans
Score: No. 3 Alabama 35, No. 9 Ohio State 6
Star: Crimson Tide quarterback Jeff Rutledge was named game MVP after completing 8 of 11 passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns.
The skinny: The first matchup between the two storied programs was a lopsided affair notable only for being the first and only meeting between legendary coaches Paul “Bear” Bryant of Alabama and Woody Hayes of Ohio State. The game itself was a mauling: Alabama led 13-0 at halftime, prompting Hayes to punch a goalpost on his way to the locker room. The win propelled the Tide to No. 2 in the final polls, but they were leapfrogged by No. 5 Notre Dame for the national title.
He said it: “They beat us with a team that had half the talent we had. Our team had about a quarter of the coaching their team got.” — Hayes
1986 Kickoff Classic
Date: Aug. 27, 1986
Site: East Rutherford, N.J.
Score: No. 5 Alabama 16, No. 9 Ohio State 10
Star: 'Bama kicker Van Tiffin kicked three field goals, including a 28-yarder with 1:02 remaining to account for the final margin.
The skinny: The 1986 opener in the Meadowlands was a sloppy mess, the teams combining for seven turnovers and OSU’s Pat O’Morrow missing two field-goal attempts. Alabama scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, then survived a bizarre finish in which Ohio State twice ran untimed plays because of pass interference on Tide linebacker Derrick Thomas. Jim Karsatos’ last-gasp attempt to Cris Carter from the Alabama 18 fell incomplete to end the game.
He said it: “I told our players it wasn’t pretty. But who said it had to be pretty?” — Alabama coach Ray Perkins
1995 Citrus Bowl
Date: Jan. 2, 1995
Site: Orlando, Fla.
Score: No. 6 Alabama 24, No. 13 Ohio State 17
Star: Crimson Tide running back Sherman Williams rushed for 166 yards, caught eight passes for 155 yards and scored two touchdowns.
The skinny: Coach John Cooper’s Buckeyes were largely outplayed, yet they led Alabama 17-14 with five minutes remaining thanks to two Joey Galloway touchdown catches and a defense that came up with three fumble recoveries, a blocked punt and a blocked field-goal try. The Tide got a tying field goal, then broke OSU’s heart when Williams accepted Jay Barker’s short pass over the middle and jetted his way for the go-ahead, 50-yard touchdown with 42 seconds remaining. SEC speed, they called it.
He said it: “That’s what happens. One guy makes a play, and one guy doesn’t make a play. Obviously you don’t expect a 4-yard pass to score but …” — Alabama coach Gene Stallings, on the winning TD
2015 Sugar Bowl
Date: Jan. 1, 2015
Site: New Orleans
Score: No. 4 Ohio State 42, No. 1 Alabama 35