Throwback Thursday: Bear Bryant Got Shutout During First Game Against Georgia

J. Bank

Paul W. "Bear" Bryant returned to Alabama in 1958 when "Mama called," and one of the key matchups that first season was the homecoming game against Georgia. 

The Crimson Tide was off a 2-2-1 start, coming off a 9-7 victory over Mississippi State. 

Georgia at Alabama, game program cover, Nov. 1, 1958
Image courtesy of Jimmy Bank

Georgia had no trouble moving the ball at then-Denny Stadium, tallying 291 total yards, but Alabama stopped five scoring threats in the second half to pull out a 12-0 shutout.

"When the chips were down, Alabama played its best," Georgia coach Wally Butts said.

Bryant used the quick-kick both to slow Georgia and as a weapon. 

One led to Alabama's first touchdown, after Gary O'Steen quick-kicked 58 yards to the Georgia 13. When the defense held and forced a punt, O'Steen returned it 14 yards to the Bulldogs' 37-yard-line. 

Duff Morrison ran for 14 yards, Bobby Jackson threw to John Paul Poole for nine more, and O'Steen ran in the score. 

One of four interceptions by the Alabama defense set up the other touchdown. In the closing minutes, Norbie Ronsonet made the pick, and returned it 38 yards to the Georgia 16. 

This time O'Steen ran for three, Jackson 12 and then scored on a goal-line plunge.  

Fullback Theron Sapp was credited with 84 rushing for Georgia, which went on to finish the season 4-6. With quarterback Fran Tarkenton on the roster, an improved Bulldogs team went 10-1 and captured the SEC title a year later. 

Alabama finished the 1958 season with a 5-4-1 record. Jackson lead the team in rushing with 472 yards, passing with 408, and scoring with 44 points. 

O'Steen was second in rushing with 284 yards.  

Bryant went on to win six national titles with the Crimson Tide. 

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Comments (1)
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Tyler  Martin
Tyler Martin


Only scoring 44 points in 10 games.. wow, times sure have changed