Flashback Friday: The first SEC Championship Game

The SEC was front and center this week with their media days circus. What better way to cap off the week than to look back at a game that changed college football, the inaugural SEC Championship Game.

The year was 1992 and believe or not, the game was not held at the Georgia Dome. The Dome would go on to be the host from 1994 up until the current day but the first two games were held in Birmingham at Legion Field.

The Alabama Crimson Tide came into this game undefeated, ranked second and held an 11-0 record. Gene Stallings was in his third year as coach and Jay Barker was under center. The Tide came into this game on a 21 game win streak and this would be their fourth game at Legion Field this season.

The Florida Gators came into the game at 8-3 having lost their second and third games of the season (at Tennessee and at Mississippi State) and having just dropped a big game to rival Florida State by 21 points. Despite a 6-2 conference record, the Gators won the tie-breaker over Georgia because of their 26-24 head-to-head victory on Halloween to earn the spot opposite of the Tide in the big game.

Vegas installed the Tide as a ten point favorite.

Florida jumped out on top early in the first quarter on an Errict Rhett touchdown run but the rest of the half belonged to Derrick Lassic and Jay Barker as the Tide took a 14-7 lead into half-time after a Lassic TD run and a Barker TD pass.

Alabama drew first blood in the second half as Derrick Lassic ran for his second TD of the game and gave Bama a 21-7 lead as hope faded for the visiting Gators.

Steve Spurrier rallied his troops as Shane Matthews hit Willie Jackson for a touchdown and then Errict Rhett ran for his second TD of the game to tie up the score.

What happened next was the thing that legends are made of…..

Antonio Langham jumped a Shane Matthews pass and took it to the house for the go-ahead and eventual game winning score. The “SEC Storied” documentary series based one of their episodes on the play and dubbed it “The Play That Changed College Football”.

This was the era before the SEC was the dominate conference in college football but this game put conference championship games on the map. With the help of this victory the Crimson Tide went on to play #1 Miami in the Sugar Bowl and came away victors and National Champions and created a new tradition in college football.

About Kevin Causey

Dry humorist, craft beer enthusiast, occasionally unbiased SEC fan, UGA alumni, contributor for The Comeback.