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Doc Five: Most memorable hits in college football – No. 5, Alabama’s goal line stand

This offseason we will count down various topics from Monday through Friday, bringing you the top five of the important and definitely some not so important issues in college football. It's the Doc Five, every week until we will thankfully have actual games to discuss.

MOST MEMORABLE HITS IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL

NO. 5 - ALABAMA'S GOAL LINE STAND

This could easily be much higher on the list, considering it will be the only tackle on the list that directly affected a national championship.

It's also one of the few hits that has been preserved over decades through a famous painting.

In 1979, Alabama played Penn State in the Sugar Bowl with the national title on the line. The Crimson Tide led 14-7 in the fourth quarter when Penn State moved inside the 5-yard line, and then couldn't get it in the end zone on its first three goal-to-go plays.

Thank goodness for Penn State coach Joe Paterno's old-school hard-nosed mentality, because the Nittany Lions' run up the middle on fourth down provided a classic college football moment.

Penn State ran up the middle on third down, so it seemed like they might do something else on fourth and goal at the 1. Alabama defensive tackle Marty Lyons famously called over to Penn State quarterback Chuck Fusina and told him that the Nittany Lions better throw the ball on fourth down.

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The famous painting, "Goal Line Stand" (NewLifeArt.com)

Penn State gave it to running back Mike Guman up the middle on fourth and goal. He was met in the hole with a crushing hit by linebacker Barry Krauss. Safeties Mike Clements and Murray Legg also were instrumental in stopping Guman cold before he crossed the goal line, but all these years later Krauss is still known for making one of the most famous hits in college football history.

Krauss hit Guman so hard, the rivets in his helmet were loosened, and Krauss laid on the turf for a while because he was temporarily paralyzed. Once Krauss got up and got off the field, Alabama took over on downs, still holding a 14-7 lead that would be the final score. The Crimson Tide was awarded the Associated Press national championship.

A few years ago Krauss recounted the story, which he has probably told hundreds of times, to the SEC's website:

“Everything came together on the play,” Krauss says. “David Hannah, who had his knee drained a couple of days before the game, wasn’t even supposed to be the game. But when Warren Lyles got hurt, Hannah ran out there to replace him and he was instrumental in re-establishing the line of scrimmage at the point of attack by submarining a blocker.

“Before the play, I thought since they’d just run it up the middle on third down, that they might run outside or throw. So I backed up just a bit to give myself more depth. When Fusina handed off to Guman, he saw a hole inside. So did I.”

“When the play started, (defensive back) Mike Clements came from the outside. Rich Wingo (who entered the game earlier in place of injured Rickey Gilliland) took on the lead blocker. My job was to get the jumper and I had the opportunity to square up.

“I hit Guman face-to-face. That’s the way I used to do it. I went down on the turf in pain and I didn’t even realize we stopped them until Marty Lyons reached down, picked me up and said, `Barry, you stopped him, man.’ ”

A photo of the play became an iconic Sports Illustrated cover, and that turned into a famous painting, "Goal Line Stand," by Daniel Moore that can be easily found in Alabama.

Krauss had a long NFL career after becoming a first-round pick, but the tackle at Alabama will always be his most famous moment.

“It took me a couple of decades to understand how that play changed my life, and all of our lives that day,” Krauss told the SEC's website. “In that fourth quarter of the biggest game of our careers, we defined the moment. But we were prepared for the moment."

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