Reviewing the Gridiron Matchups Between Ohio State and Alabama

By Chris Lauderback on June 20, 2020 at 2:05 pm
Ezekiel Elliott Dashes 85 Yards Through the Heart of the South

College football blue bloods Ohio State and Alabama announced a home-and-home series earlier this week, set to take place in 2027 and 2028. 

The first clash will occur in Columbus and the Buckeyes will return the favor with a trip to Tuscaloosa the following season. 

The agreement creates an avenue for the two programs to meet in each team's home stadium, a first in the brief history among two of college football's upper crust. 

Ohio State and Alabama have met just four times with the Buckeyes on the wrong end in three. Of course, the lone win was one of Ohio State's most important of all-time as the Buckeyes beat the Crimson Tide in the 2015 Sugar Bowl on the way to the national title. 

Here's a summary of the series-to-date. 

1978 Sugar Bowl: Alabama 35, Ohio State 6

Both teams entered the 1978 Sugar Bowl, wrapping up the 1977 season, as conference champs. Ohio State tied for the Big Ten crown with a 9-2 mark while Alabama won the SEC outright with a 10-1 record.

Bear Bryant's squad entered the game as a slight favorite over Woody Hayes and company but the game was anything but close. 

The Crimson Tide methodically ran over the Buckeyes, chewing up 280 rushing yards with touchdown drives of 10 plays for 76 yards, 11 plays for 76 yards, 13 plays for 67 yards and 14 plays for 84 yards. 

Meanwhile, Ohio State's offense managed one touchdown as quarterback Rod Gerald completed 7-of-17 passes with three interceptions. 

1986 Kickoff Classic: Alabama 16, Ohio State 10

Ohio State took on Alabama for the second time in school history during the 1986 Kickoff Classic in Giants Stadium. 

The Buckeyes entered the season opener with a No. 9 ranking while the Crimson Tide ranked No. 4. The game certainly looked like a season opener with the teams combining for seven turnovers. 

Earle Bruce's squad led 10-6 entering the fourth quarter but collapsed late, allowing the Tide to score the game's final 10 points. 

The Buckeyes had a chance to win it on the final possession but Jim Karsatos failed on two attempts to connect with Cris Carter just before time expired. 

Ohio State outgained Alabama 309-295 and Chris Spielman tallied 16 tackles in a disappointing loss. 

After a loss the following week at No. 17 Washington, the Buckeyes won nine straight before falling 26-24 to Michigan in Ohio Stadium and defeating Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl to finish 10-3. 

1995 Florida Citrus Bowl: Alabama 24, Ohio State 17

Ohio State entered the 1995 Citrus Bowl after beating Michigan 22-6 in Columbus to finish the regular season with a 9-3 mark. Alabama won their first 11 games under Gene Stallings but a one-point loss to Florida in the SEC title game forced the Crimson Tide to Orlando. 

Ohio State's Joey Galloway and Alabama's Sherman Williams dominated the action.

Galloway caught eight passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns including a 69-yarder while Williams absolutely shredded the Buckeyes with 166 yards rushing and another 155 receiving, including a game-winning 50-yard catch and run with under 50 seconds left in regulation. 

The back-breaking play gave the Crimson Tide a 24-17 edge, it's first since leading 7-0 early in the second quarter. 

Alabama racked up 521 yards of total offense compared to 276 for Ohio State, including just 103 in the second half as Bobby Hoying was sacked five times. 

2015 Sugar Bowl (CFP Semifinal): Ohio State 42, Alabama 35

No pain, no gain, right? You suffered through those first three games to get to this one. 

No need for a bunch of words here. You're very much aware of how Alabama jumped out to 21-6 lead midway through the second quarter even though it felt like Ohio State was dominating the action. 

Then Ezekiel Elliott scored to cap a long scoring drive to make it 21-13 and just minutes later, Michael Thomas made a circus catch of a Evan Spencer toss to make it 21-20 just before halftime. 

Having regained momentum, Ohio State scored early in the third quarter and gained all the breathing room it needed as Zeke took a handoff with 3:36 left in regulation and raced 85 Yards Through the Heart of the South

A 42-20 beating of Oregon later and the Buckeyes were national champs. 

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