Top-10 Plays of the 2016 Season

Cedric Mason - Touchdown Alabama Magazine

All video rights belong to the NCAA and the respective broadcasting networks. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m really missing football…and it’s only May.

Well, what better way to fill that void in your heart than to sit back and watch some highlights of the tremendous 2016 season?

Each play will be ranked from tenth to first. If you feel there is one I should have replaced with another, feel free to chime in with your favorite plays in the comment box.

10. Jalen Hurts 39-yard Touchdown Pass to ArDarius Stewart vs. USC

After an abysmal start to his collegiate-career, Hurts was able to freely roll to his right on third-and-long. After gathering himself, he launched it 39 yards for the first touchdown of his career, and the first touchdown of Alabama’s 2016-17 season.

9. Da’Shawn Hand Strips then Tim Williams Scoops and Scores vs. Arkansas

Tim Williams should have been on this list more, but it’s a top ten list – I don’t have room for each of his nine sacks.

So, I chose his score instead.

Junior Da’Shawn Hand – a former number-one overall recruit – pops the ball loose from quarterback Austin Allen and Tim Williams happens to be in the right place to snatch it and score. This kept the non-offensive streak alive and well.

8. Johnathan Allen 76-yard Pick-Six vs. Ole Miss

What a game that was. Down 24-3 at one point, Jalen Hurts and company were able to lead one of the most improbable comebacks you’ll ever see on the road. With just under six minutes to go in the game, and up 11 points, Johnathan Allen scored one of the most impressive pick-sixes you’ll ever see.

As amazing as the play was, it would have been on a blooper reel instead had he not been able to hold onto the football going into the end zone.

Is it too late to ask the Redskins if we can have him back?

7. Eddie Jackson 80-yard Punt Return Touchdown vs. Tennessee

His punt return score against Ole Miss had the greatest impact, overall, but in this one wins in flashiness.

Not only does he score, he makes three guys miss before even really get going, including making two guys leap-frog over each other. Seriously, right at the ten-second mark of the clip. He cuts left and the guy’s momentum (#12 I believe) causes him to have to leap over his own teammate.

This was a critical score considering how close the game was. Just kidding. 

6. Ryan Anderson Strips (Again) and Da’Ron Payne Scoops for Six

Ryan Anderson has a knack for this. Remember last year when he sealed the win over Tennessee with a strip sack?

This year, he didn’t seal any wins, but he sure helped get them. Down seven points in the third quarter, Anderson whips past the entire offensive-line, chases Chad Kelly down and yanks the ball from his gut, allowing Payne to make a big boy dive on the lose ball for the game-tying touchdown.

Alabama never looked back.

5. Mack Wilson Drives the Mack Truck over the Texas A&M Returner

This is a truly painful-to-watch hit. It reminded most people of Reuben Foster when he was a Special Teams specialist.

Now that Foster will be playing on Sunday’s, Mack’s got a chance to make a huge impact for the Tide’s defense in 2017. He also made a pretty touchdown catch against Kent State (despite being a linebacker).

Oh, and he was the backup punter, too.

Playing well on Special Teams is a great way to garner brownie points from Nick Saban, and Wilson did that all season.

4. Ryan Anderson Strip/Johnathan Allen Return for Touchdown vs. Texas A&M

Johnathan Allen makes this list again for the second time. All that really needs to be said about that.

Ryan Anderson made an incredibly athletic play, reaching in and stripping the ball-carrier mid-spin. I had never heard the crowd get as loud as they were as Allen made his way to the end zone to keep the ‘Non-Offensive Touchdowns’ streak alive.

It also gave the Tide a comfortable two-score lead against the nation’s 6th-ranked team.

3. Jalen Hurts 21-yard Touchdown Run vs. LSU

When Alabama comes to play in Death Valley, it tends to be a nail-biter. This year was no different.

The game was tied 0-0 headed into the 4th-quarter, neither team could do anything positive on offense. Some call it a ‘slug-fest’ some call it ‘boring’, others call it good old-fashioned football.

Regardless of how you label it, Hurts breaking the plane for six points was like putting a Mento in a Pepsi and closing the lid. The pressure kept mounting until somebody had to finally score.

On 3rd-and-long, with the kicking inconsistencies we have experienced over the last few years, I am not sure we win that game if Jalen doesn’t pull this off.

2. Johnathan Allen’s “Superman” Sack vs. Texas A&M

Yep, he’s baaaack. You gotta love this highlight clip – complete with superhero music and slow motion replay.

I attended this game, and the crowd went absolutely bananas. Immediately, people started comparing him to Superman and how it would be a Sportscenter Top-10 play.

I even heard one person say that it was as “graceful as watching a whale jump up and out of the ocean.” Whatever that means.

1. Jalen Hurts’ Go-Ahead Touchdown vs. Clemson in National Championship Game

I know it hurts to watch this game, or even clips from this game. But you can not deny the significance of this play.

Down four, with just two minutes left to play in an all-or-nothing game, Hurts takes off and skates past the entire defense for a score.

Had the defense been able to make a stop at that point, it would have been considered a game-winner. Absolutely clutch play by a true-freshman that had struggled early in the game.



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