Take a pilgrimage to 2007 and also the day Louisiana-Monroe toppled among college football\"s biggest programs, providing Nick Saban every the firepower he essential to turn roughly the Crimson Tide.
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The victory method so much to Larry Shappley, ULM’s beginning right tackle in 2007, that he desire ULM and Alabama weren’t play again this week.
“To me personally, i wish they never would have actually played them again due to the fact that that game had such a special an interpretation to me and also my teammates,” Shappley said. “I wish ULM the ideal of luck and also hope lock beat lock again. For us, you can’t take the day away from us no matter what. However if they shed that game, you sort of lose some that the mystique of what happened. I wouldn’t desire it to it is in an asterisk that we came back the following time and we couldn’t beat them.”
Saban’s 9/11 and Pearl harbor moment
In reality, Alabama to be an average team in 2007 as it battled through self-control problems and also an NCAA textbook investigation. The Crimson Tide began 6-2 and ended the continual season with 4 consecutive losses, consisting of a defeat one week previously to lowly Mississippi State. Still, this to be a talented sufficient team the Alabama took eventual national champion LSU under to the cable in a 41-34 loss simply two weeks before the ULM game.
ULM gotten in Tuscaloosa on Nov. 17, 2007, v a 4-6 record. The Warhawks were among only two teams to lose to phibìc Texas the season, and ULM had previously shed by 23 points come Clemson and 40 points come Texas A&M.
But 2007 to be the year that the upset. Michigan opened with a home loss come Appalachian State -- a video game ULM coach Charlie Weatherbie referenced to his team prior to the Alabama game. USC, a 40.5-point favorite, saw its 35-game house winning streak snap by Stanford. LSU defied key Championship series odds by win the nationwide title v two losses.
So the highest-paid coach in FBS football (Saban in ~ $4 million) shedding to the lowest-paid one (Weatherbie in ~ $130,000) together ULM gained paid $1 million felt about right in 2007. The loss was so embarrassing because that Saban the a pair days later on he invoked two of America’s greatest tragedies.
“Changes in background usually occur after some kind of catastrophic event,” Saban said. “It might be 9/11, which sort of readjusted the spirit of America loved one to a catastrophic event. Pearl Harbor gained us all set for civilization War II, or whatever, and that was a catastrophic event. And also I don’t think everyone in this room would have bet the we can lose back-to-back gamings to Mississippi State or ULM, no disrespect come either among those teams.”
Needless come say, Saban was vilified around the country. “What historic tirade will he reference once Alabama loses a 6th straight game to Auburn? The Holocaust?” Birmingham News columnist Kevin Scarbinsky wrote.
Alabama tried to spin Saban’s remarks. Saban spokesman Jeff Purinton claimed at the time Saban did not correlate shedding a football video game with tragedy, but rather, the article was “true spirit and unity become noticeable in the most challenging times.”
A previous Alabama coach told author Monte Burke the Saban was calculated in his 9/11 and also Pearl harbor remarks and also prepared to take it the abuse. “He had to allow the fan base understand that those losses were unacceptable,” the cotton coach stated in Burke’s recent publication “Saban: The make of a Coach.”
Said Weatherbie: “I simply kind of laughed as soon as (Saban) said something about it. When the management made that come earlier and rescind it, it kind of made feeling to me. There really wasn’t any kind of lives lost like in those events. That may have actually been like a death in a family members to shed a game, yet I watch at shedding a video game like the all the time, no issue who girlfriend play against.”
Memories of that game remain vivid because that the former ULM players and also coaches.
Shappley, the ideal tackle, remembers ULM’s game plan versus Saban’s defense to be to run movement on every play. “Saban to be such a defensive guru and also the coaches had a emotion the motion would screw up few of their alignments,” Shappley said. “If you clock film, every single play there was movement involved. When we started driving the ball, those linebackers began yelling at every other and also cussing each other. It was yes, really cool.”
Weatherbie remembers leaving the field tied in ~ halftime and also the Alabama students were cheering because that ULM. “As us were comes in, lock saying, ‘You can do it, we recognize you can beat them,’” that said, laughing. “That kind of surprised me. I don’t understand if they were trying to perform it as a psyche type of deal.”
Secka, the standout cornerback, remembers emotion thrilled to watch suspended Alabama wide receiver D.J. Hall get in the video game in the second half. Alabama had announced a suspension because that Hall before the game. Secka said ULM players to be under the impression from your coaches the Hall wouldn’t play every game. But with the score tied, Hall gotten in the game to start the third quarter.
“When we came out after ~ halftime and he actually had his helmet on and also he’s ~ above the sideline revving increase the crowd, our entirety team was like, ‘They’re worried or they wouldn’t have put the in,’” Secka said. “It was kind of a rise for us due to the fact that we knew at that minute we had actually them ~ above the ropes.”
Marty Humphrey remembers his go-ahead, 11-yard touchdown record in the 3rd quarter for the game’s final points. It turned out to be the only touchdown score in four years by Humphrey, a previous walk-on wide receiver that earned a scholarship in ~ ULM.
“They brought the house and lit up our quarterback, and also they had man-to-man coverage for this reason it to be a little underneath, 2- or 3-yard route for me on third and long,” Humphrey said. “Our wide receiver coach go a an excellent job preaching to store running after ~ the catch. Immediately, for part reason, I simply slammed top top the brakes, and the defender flew by. The ar was just large open. Ns remember thinking, ‘Oh, there’s no one there.’”
The visiting locker room was right below the Alabama college student section. Shappley remembers obtaining cussed the end by students ~ the 34-point ns in 2006. This time, “some that the fans were clapping for us after us won,” Shappley said. “I’ll offer them credit: They’re certainly some of the classiest fans. I remember screaming and also hollering so much that i was hyperventilating and I couldn’t capture my breath.”
What started as the loudest suffer for many ULM football player -- Secka initially had actually to run approximately teammates’ confront to speak to defensive plays because it was so loud -- turn eerily quiet at the end.
“To have the entirety crowd totally silent and you just have actually our little bitty section making noise, it was insane,” Secka said. “Basically, nobody went to college on Monday. The only reason friend went to class was to gain a standing ovation and also then friend left. Ns wish everybody could experience what we felt.”
‘It gives you to trust in life’
A main or therefore after the upset, number of ULM attack linemen were eating at a restaurant in Monroe once an Alabama fan approached them. He to be upset about the billboard that commemorated the success over Alabama.
“He lectured us that be affected by each other Bryant stated a lengthy time earlier you win prefer you’ve to be there before, and also he assumed (the billboard) was sort of short class,” Shappley recalled. “I said, ‘Sir, with all respect, I totally understand what you saying due to the fact that that was constantly ingrained in me in high school. But you know what? at ULM, us haven’t had this. It’s apples and oranges.’”
Life moves on. Since the loss come ULM, Alabama has won 19 straight games over non-BCS/Power five opponents, winning by an typical of 36 points. Saban has actually publicly propelled for Power five teams to just play each various other for strength-of-schedule purposes for the college Football Playoff. Prior to these games versus lower-profile teams, Saban regularly has a calculation rant to the media for this reason his players don’t overlook an underdog.
For ULM, there have been an ext upsets because Alabama. The Warhawks beat No. 10 Arkansas in 2012 in tiny Rock, Ark., in a challenge that was counted as a home video game for ULM to boost its attendance mean and help meet NCAA demands for FBS status.
Weatherbie, who as soon as coached at Utah State and also Navy, to be fired through ULM in 2009. Now the director of coaches because that the Fellowship that Christian Athletes in central Florida, Weatherbie claimed he seldom thinks that the Alabama victory unless he’s introduced as that coach who won the game throughout his speak engagements.
“Of course it was a large win, but we’ve had actually some pretty an excellent wins in mine career,” Weatherbie said.
None to be bigger 보다 Alabama come so many ex-ULM players. Several of them have talked about returning to Tuscaloosa to clock this week’s game and they’d love to see an upset again, as unlikely as that seems.
Back as soon as ULM was known as Northeastern Louisiana University, the football team winner the division I-AA national championship in 1987. The players, led by ex-NFL quarterback Stan Humphries, are regularly recognized in Monroe because that a title that marks ULM’s biggest sports moment.
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“It was sort of neat to get to recognize a many those old guys and I deserve to kind of re-superstructure something favor that,” Shappley said. “To me, that Alabama video game was like winning a nationwide championship. We’ll always have the day.”
Impressively, ULM bounced ago the following week come beat Louisiana-Lafayette in a rivalry game and also become bowl-eligible because that the an initial time. Running back Calvin Dawson, who ran for 91 yards ~ above 33 carries against Alabama, remembers the celebration in Tuscaloosa together if ULM winner the at sight Bowl.
“It make an impression on mine life and also career come beat a team choose that,” Dawson said. “It offers you to trust in life. It’s among those things you look earlier and go, ‘Wow, ns really go that. It really wasn’t a dream.’ It records me gasping because that air sometimes, it to be so amazing.”