Oklahoma first No. 1 to play in Tuscaloosa other than Alabama
By By Tony Krausz/assistant sports editor
September 7, 2003
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. Oklahoma's visit to Bryant-Denny Stadium marked the first time a top-ranked team other than Alabama played in Tuscaloosa.
The Tide entered the night game sporting a 3-3 mark against top-ranked teams prior to meeting the Sooners.
Alabama last played the No. 1 team in the nation in the Jan. 1, 1993, Sugar Bowl. The Tide routed the then top-ranked Miami Hurricanes 34-13 for the program's 12th national title.
Another rough start
Alabama didn't have its first play from scrimmage called back like it did against South Florida, but the offense sputtered again in the beginning of Saturday's game.
Tide quarterback Brodie Croyle had his first pass intercepted by Oklahoma's Antonio Perkins. The pick gave the Sooners the ball on the Tide's 33 and set up a field goal giving Oklahoma 3-0 lead three minutes into the game.
Alabama didn't gain its first yard on offense against South Florida last week until 3:33 remained in the first quarter at Legion Field.
Return to the South
Oklahoma's visit to Alabama marked the first time the Big XII powerhouse played a Southeastern Conference school in a long time.
The Sooners' last meeting with an SEC program was against Kentucky on Sept. 18, 1982. Oklahoma won its meeting with Wildcats 29-8.
The Sooners' last meeting with the Tide was a 37-27 win last year in Norman, Okla. The two programs had met two times previously to the first regular season contest between the teams last season.
The Tide won the first meeting 17-0 in the 1963 Orange Bowl and the two teams played to a 24-24 tie in the 1970 Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl.
Saturday's ESPN telecast of Alabama's game against Oklahoma was the second of three straight appearances the Tide has on the cable station at the start of the season.
Alabama's season opening win against South Florida in Birmingham, Ala., was aired on ESPN last week. The Tide will also appear on ESPN against Kentucky next week in the team's SEC opener at home.
Saturday night's loss to Oklahoma marked Alabama's 19th game under the lights at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The loss was only the program's third at night when playing at home. The Tide had a 16-2 record in the previous 18 night games at home.
Alabama will stay under the lights in its next two games. The Tide will take on Kentucky at 6:47 p.m. Saturday and its game against Northern Illinois on Sept. 20 is scheduled for a 6 p.m. start.