Cary Clark's Greatest Games: 1993 Sugar Bowl
Cary L. Clark
Miami was, to say the least, heavily favored to beat Alabama for the 1992 national title at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. That didn’t happen. Far from it. Gene Stallings’ third Crimson Tide team totally dismantled the hapless Hurricanes 34-13 while intercepting Heisman Trophy winner Gino Torretta three times.
There were many heroes that night for Alabama. Senior George Teague was certainly one. The Montgomery native had a pick-six to ice the game in the second half, and no one will ever forget Teague chasing down the supposedly speedier Lamar Thomas.
“The whole second half is a blur,” Torretta said.
Said Tide safety Sam Shade, ” I think we confused [Torretta] a lot. There were times he thought we were in man defense and we were really in zone.
“I don’t think they expected us to use seven defensive backs, but they didn’t have a very good running game and we were able to do that.”
Alabama was quietly confident heading into the game but cornerback Antonio Langham said, “I was shocked. I expected [the game] to be a whole lot tougher, but we rattled them before they could think clearly.”
Count Stallings as one not surprised by the outcome. He knew his team was locked in.
“We had guys coming in two and three hours before curfew,” Stallings noted. “Our team was ready when we got to New Orleans. I just had to make sure we didn’t play the game earlier in the week.
“I didn’t even have to give a pep talk.”
Derrick Lassic led a strong Crimson Tide ground game with 135 of his team’s 267 yards on the ground. He scored twice. Freshman Michael Proctor made field goals from 19 and 23 yards, the first of which was set up by sophomore David Palmer’s electric 38-yard punt return to the Miami 24.
Miami only ran for 48 yards.
And Torretta was, to say the least, flustered.
“I looked across the line at him and I saw fear,” said Alabama defensive end John Copeland.
That, and an exceptional defensive game plan, was all the 1992 Crimson Tide needed to claim the program’s 12th national title.