Quote of the Day: “We got em beat. We finally got the bastards beat.” Travellinbaen, to Greekson, and the World at large, at the MSU-Alabama game in Starkville in 1992
Alabama went undefeated during the 1992 football season and won the National Championship. They came closest to losing in Starkville that November. I won’t swear to the game details because only the moment where it became apparent we were going to beat them was permanantly burned into my memory with a crimson branding iron. State fell behind about 18-0 at the half and I had already reverted to the usual routine of cursing my fate to be a Bulldog fan. I was also incredulous at the State crowd. All through halftime, the fans stayed in their seats, ignoring the bands and cheering. The collective decision had somehow been made that in the Sherill era things would be different and this team was good enough to come back and win. So the crowd cheered, exhorting our Bullies in the locker room and taunting the invincible Tide. We’d beaten them only once since 1957. Once in my lifetime. Once among generations of students that passed through Starkville for 4-6 years at a time over 4 decades. What a bunch of idiots.
But when the game resumed, the Bulldogs answered the demands of the cowbell clanging assemblage. They roared back and took the lead. A trainer for that Alabama team would later confide to me that the 42,000 bell ringing Dog fans created the loudest stadium environment he experienced all year, including Neyland Stadium and the Superdome. Past midway of the 4th quarter, Alabama took the ball across midfield. Then, on first down and second Jay Barker was sacked. It was third down and hopeless. The crowd was going berzerk. I stepped down off my seat and dragged my old roommate Greekson down with me so he could hear. He looked at me like I was crazy for taking a break and looking away from the field. Both my left and right forearms were cramping from the overexertion of ringing a cowbell for two straight hours. My ears were ringing. I’ll never forget the moment. Scott field was alive; a scene of delirious pandemonium. “Greekson”, I said, “look around. Listen. It’s f*&’n beautiful ain’t it? We’ve got to savor this moment so we’ll remember it the rest of our lives. We got ’em beat. We finally got the bastards beat.” A few heartbeats later, I added the two words without which this brief conversation would lack context. “Ohhhhhhhhh, SHIT.”
I still have nightmares about the play that happened in those heartbeats. Barker dropped back and once again his offensive line gave way like a Gautier girl at her first Pascagoula party. Barker ran for his life and fired the ball deep downfield just as he was hit. The Alabama tailback had run a wheel route and was well covered. The ball was long, but the tailback dove and stretched and somehow cradled the pass along the far sideline. The ball was placed inches past the first down marker.
State still had the lead and the momentum. The crowd still roared. But the moment was past. There was no doubting what was to come. The Tide scored, then scored again after State’s desperation attempt to answer and once again, we Dogs tasted bitter defeat.
Oh, how I loathe them.