The 5 Best “Big Boy” Moments in Bama’s Saban Era
Only 35 days remain until the start of Alabama football, and the whole state of Alabama is exploding with excitement. Sure, circus catches like Devonta Smith’s touchdown against LSU in Death Valley are cool. But, let’s be honest. What is the main attraction of the Crimson Tide?
It’s the big boys on the offensive and defensive line.
I mean - come on. What’s better than a “big boy touchdown.”
Since Nick Saban took over the reins of the Crimson Tide in 2007, Alabama has had its fair share of “big boy” moments on the gridiron.
Here’s a look at the five best moments from the boys on both sides of the line.
5. Brandon Greene’s Overtime Reception vs. LSU (2014 Season) [10:14 mark]
After dropping an early-season loss to Ole Miss in Oxford, Alabama was on a mission to regain its momentum towards a berth in the first College Football Playoff.
A close game against Arkansas, a blowout victory over Texas A&M, and a solid 14-point victory led up to this matchup in Baton Rouge. The season prior, ‘Bama secured a solid victory to the “Bayou Bengals,” and Alabama was looking for a similar result.
A game that was tight throughout became even closer when the clock hit triple zeros and the game went into overtime. Listed at almost three hundred pounds at the time of the game, sophomore tight end Brandon Greene didn’t seem like the first target that quarterback Blake Sims looked for. Still, Sims took a risk and tossed it to the massive six-foot-five Greene for a big 24-yard reception from the big boy. Although it didn’t end in a touchdown, it led to one and was an impressive feat for a tight end that looked more like a lineman.
4. Jonathan Allen’s Pick-6 vs. Ole Miss (2016 Season)
One of the most extraordinary feats during the Saban era was the 2016 Alabama defense and their ability to score. The 2015 squad managed eight defensive touchdowns over the course of the season, but 2016’s team almost doubled that stat with 15 touchdowns.
After mounting a massive game-long comeback in the third game of the year, against Ole Miss, six-foot-three, 291-pound Jonathan Allen made one of the most exhilarating plays of his collegiate career. The senior defensive lineman picked up a Chad Kelly fumble and returned it 75 yards for a score.
3. Da’Ron Payne’s Touchdown Reception vs. Clemson in the CFP Semifinal (2017 Season)
Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide rarely run trick plays, but the Clemson Tigers have been a part of two of the biggest during the 2010s. While the most well-known is the onside kick from the 2016 CFP championship game victory against Clemson, the other also features the ACC South Carolina foe.
During a rematch of the previous year’s national title game, the Crimson Tide met the Tigers in New Orleans for a Sugar Bowl Semifinal.
On 2nd & Goal, only up four points in the third quarter, Saban flexed on Dabo Sweeney and Clemson a little by running a trick play that involved the massive 308-pound defensive lineman Da’Ron Payne. Standing tall at six-foot-two, Payne performed a graceful 1-yard touchdown reception to extend Alabama’s lead to 11 points.
Alabama walked away with a 24-6 victory which led to a date with Georgia in the national championship and an eventual 17th title.
2. Marcell Dareus’s Turnover Touchdown Against Texas in the 2010 BCS National Championship (2009 Season)
The 2009 season is arguably one of Alabama’s greatest years, especially under Saban. Nearly perfect on both offense and defense, the Tide notched a blemish-free record of 13-0 going into the BCS National Championship.
Texas during the ‘00s was one of college football’s best teams. A national title, Vince Young’s Heisman trophy, and countless big plays contributed to the Longhorns returning to national prominence.
Luckily for Alabama fans, Young was not the quarterback. Instead, a dominant Colt McCoy led the Longhorn offense. In the first half, the 319-pound defensive lineman helped knock McCoy out of the game. At the end of the first half, Dareus made another massive play when he picked off Texas backup quarterback Garrett Gilbert and returned the interception 28 yards for a touchdown. He truly lived every lineman’s dream.
Alabama went on to roll to victory and secure their 13th national title, ending a 17-year championship drought.
1. Terrence Cody’s Monstrous Two Field Goal Blocks Against Tennessee (2009 Season)
Did you really think this wouldn’t be No. 1?
Affectionately known as “Rocky Block,” the two-blocked-field-goal game by the massive Terrence Cody will go down in history as one of the best moments in Crimson Tide history.
Cody, weighing in at a whopping 354 pounds at the time of the 2010 NFL Combine, managed to save the day and survive for a victory against one of Alabama’s most bitter rivals. At almost six-foot-four, Cody was perfect to play nose guard on the defensive line.
The first of the two field goal blocks occurred right at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Cody’s effort led to Alabama’s six-point lead being maintained. Later in the game, Tennessee scored a touchdown to bring ‘Bama’s lead to only two points. The Vols recovered their own onside kick, marched down the field and attempted a last-second game-winning field goal.
When all hope was lost for the Alabama faithful, Cody jumped as high as he could and blocked his second field goal of the day. The Crimson Tide was victorious.