COUNTDOWN TO SHOWDOWN
In the 25 days leading up to college football's championship game between No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Alabama at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, the Chattanooga Times Free Press is counting down the traditions and memorable moments involving the Irish and the Crimson Tide. Today is No. 16.
Paul "Bear" Bryant never coached Alabama to a victory over Notre Dame, but his successor did.
On Oct. 4, 1986, Ray Perkins guided the Crimson Tide to a 28-10 whipping of the Fighting Irish, who were in their first season under Lou Holtz. A Legion Field crowd anticipating a first Tide triumph in the series was delighted in the first quarter when Greg Richardson returned a punt 66 yards for a touchdown and linebacker Cornelius Bennett had a jarring sack of Steve Beuerlein.
"He knocked me woozy," Beuerlein said. "I have never been hit like that before, and hopefully I'll never be hit like that again. I can't remember when a defensive player did the things that Bennett did to our offense."
Alabama's defense, which was in its second season under coordinator Joe Kines, forced three interceptions and two fumbles. Both fumbles led to touchdowns.
When asked if Notre Dame's mystique was any motivation, Kines said, "Once you kick that thing off, mystique, unless he's the starting left tackle, hasn't got anything to do with it."
Tide receiver Al Bell had five receptions for 99 yards, including a 52-yard score from Mike Shula.
"The past had nothing to do with this," Perkins said. "That's one of those things the press builds up."
Richardson after the game referred to the Irish as "sort of slow-like."
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...