You Better Pass

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fc0f3706eb986a079a02a195f59c94c8.image.550x415.jpg

You Better Pass

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The 1979 National Champions, the Alabama Crimson Tide

The 1979 Sugar Bowl featured Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant and his #2 Alabama Crimson Tide (10-1) versus Coach Joe Paterno and his #1 Penn State Nittany Lions (11-0). The game was played on January 1, 1979 in the Louisiana Superdome, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Into the fourth quarter, the Crimson Tide had narrowly edged the Nittany Lions and their #1 ranked defense - the score was 14-7, but after a late offensive, Penn State was threatening on the goal line.

It was third and goal, with not much time left, where Penn State ran the ball up field with Suhey, who would later be named a member of Pennsylvania's All Century Football Team. Suhey dove for the touchdown, but was intercepted mid-air by Alabama defensive tackle Curtis McGriff and middle linebacker Rich Wingo. After the play, Penn State's All-American and Maxwell Award winning quarterback, Chuck Fusina, asked Alabama linebacker Marty Lyons how far the ball was from the goal line. Marty's response, "About a foot. You better pass."

It was fourth and goal, with less than a foot the decider of the National Championship. Despite Lyon's advice, Penn State chose to force the ball on the ground - but Alabama stopped the play cold. The Crimson Tide, spearheaded by Barry Krauss and Murray Legg, plowed Penn State backward and took possession of the ball.

The victory gave Alabama it's tenth National Championship, and Bear Bryant his fifth.