Inside Alabama and Southern Miss’s surprisingly rich history

Alabama is one of the most storied programs in college football, and few teams have more history with the Crimson Tide than the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Alabama has played Southern Miss 43 times dating back to 1947. Only eight teams have suited up against the Crimson Tide more; seven of them have been in the SEC with Alabama since 1933, and the other, Georgia Tech, was in the SEC for 31 seasons.

The Crimson Tide has played more games against Southern Miss than it has against six current conference foes Florida, Kentucky, Arkansas, South Carolina, Texas A&M and Missouri. 

Alabama leads the all-time series 36-5-2 on the field, with one vacated win and one forfeited win. Check out some of the highlights of the lengthy history between the Crimson Tide and Golden Eagles:

Nov. 13, 1982

Alabama loses a football game in Tuscaloosa for the first time in 19 years, breaking a 57-game winning streak. The 38-29 loss to Southern Miss was also the last game Paul “Bear” Bryant coached at Bryant-Denny Stadium and the third-to-last of his career. It was the Golden Eagles’ first win over Alabama in 28 years and ended a 13-game unbeaten streak by Alabama (11 wins, two ties).

Nov. 18, 1989

A certain USM quarterback, called “rocket arm junior Brett Favre” in football team archives, is held to 18-of-41 passing for 300 yards, one touchdown and one interception. With the win, Alabama improved to 10-0 for the first time since its national championship season in 1979. It would lose to Auburn the following week in the first Iron Bowl held in Auburn and lost the Sugar Bowl to eventual national champion Miami. The win over the Golden Eagles was Bill Curry’s last as Alabama’s head coach.

Sept. 8, 1990

The Gene Stallings era begins with a 27-24 loss to Southern Miss at Legion Field in Birmingham, despite Alabama out-gaining the Golden Eagles 442 to 195. Less than two months after a near-fatal car accident led to 30 inches of Favre’s small intestine being removed, he led USM to a comeback win over Alabama. The Crimson Tide started the season 0-3 for the first time since 1956.

Sept. 16, 2000

Having begun the season ranked No. 3, Alabama drops outside the top 25 after a 21-0 loss to Southern Miss. The loss, Alabama’s last loss at Legion Field, snapped a streak of eight straight wins over the Golden Eagles, who would be ranked as high as No. 13 later in the season. The Crimson Tide has scored in 252 of 253 games since, with the only exception being a 9-0 loss in the Iron Bowl two months later. Its eventual 3-8 record was its worst in more than 40 years.

Sept. 10, 2005

Junior wide receiver Tyrone Prothro makes one of the most memorable catches in Alabama history, reaching over a Southern Miss defender and pinning the ball to the defender’s back as he crosses into the end zone. Alabama won the game 30-21 and began the season 9-0. Prothro suffered a career-ending leg injury three weeks later in a win over Florida.

Courtesy of UA Athletics / Jeff Hanson