Ranking the Top 5 Defensive Plays of the Saban Era [Audio]
There have been a lot of great moments during the Saban era and Travis Reier, host of Southern Fried Sports, decide to tackle some of them during his show.
First up is the defense, which has been the foundation for the Crimson Tide's incredible run over the past decade. As the senior writer and analyst for BamaOnline, Reier has seen his share of Alabama football while covering the beat and he has ranked his top five defensive plays.
#5: Alabama vs LSU 2008: Rashad Johnson's Interception
We all know about Saban's prior success at LSU, but the former Tigers coach has only lost to his old program twice since his first season in 2007. Those memorable games even included the 2011 national title against the Tigers.
Saban's first victory over LSU, a 27-21 overtime finish, was thanks to the contribution from Reier's 5th ranked defensive play of the Saban Era.
The situation: LSU and Alabama were tied at 21 heading into overtime. LSU started with the ball but faced third and six. While trying to go for it all, Jarrett Lee made a crucial error throwing into double coverage and Rashad Johnson capitalized by intercepting the pass. John Parker Wilson would later walk it in after hitting Julio Jones on a back-shoulder throw.
#4: Alabama vs. Texas 2010: Marcell Dareus's Pick 6
The 2009 season is arguably one of Saban's best all-time. Not only did it produce Alabama's first Heisman trophy winner in Mark Ingram, but also brought the first national championship since 1992 back to Tuscaloosa after a win over Texas in the Rose Bowl. That victory capped off Saban's only undefeated season.
The situation: Alabama leading 17-6, Texas driving down the field with 15 seconds left in the first half. Backup quarterback Garrett Gilbert attempted a shovel pass which was read perfectly by Marcell Dareus. Dareus not only ended the Longhorn's drive, but silenced their momentum after taking it back for a touchdown. The Tide would take a 24-6 lead into the half and never look back.
#3: Alabama vs. Texas 2010: Eryk Anders's Sack
The Situation: Texas, though seemingly defeated after trailing 24-6 at half, gave Alabama a run for it's money, scoring 15 unanswered point to cut the Tide's lead to 24-21 in the 4th quarter. Needing a defensive stop, linebacker Eryk Anders sacked and forced a Gilbert fumble, which was recovered by Courtney Upshaw on the Longhorn's five yard line. That would essentially put the game away and give the Tide its 13th national championship.
#2: Alabama vs. Georgia 2012: C.J. Mosley's Persistent Pressure
The situation: Alabama, the eventual national champions after defeating Notre Dame 42-14, faced a much tougher Georgia squad in the SEC championship. Alabama led Georgia 32-28 but the Bulldogs were threatening. They clawed their way into the red zone and had first and goal with no timeouts and 15 seconds left in the game. The ball was in quarterback Aaron Murray's hand with the ability to spike or go for the win. Thanks to a blitzing C.J. Mosley, the ball was tipped and caught by Georgia receiver Chris Conley in-bounds as time expired.
#1: Alabama vs. Georgia 2018: Raekwon Davis's Interception
The situation: Georgia led Alabama in the College Football Playoff Championship Game, 20-7, with 6:30 left in the third quarter. Georgia was on the Tide's side of the 50, threatening to score at least another field goal. All of the momentum seemed to be in Georgia's favor when quarterback Jake Fromm's hand hit Da'Shawn Hand. The result was a 20-yard interception of the "tipped" ball by Raekwon Davis and a turning point that led to Bama's overtime comeback win to claim their latest national title.
You can listen to "The Guru" Travis Reier discuss why he ranked each play in video below. As always tune in to Southern Fried Sports weekdays from 12-2 p.m.