In 1981, Alabama cornerback Benny Perrin was living his dream.
“Growing up an Alabama fan and then having a chance to be there at that time, it couldn’t have been much better,” said Perrin, who played on teams that won two national championships and three SEC titles and never lost to rivals Auburn and Tennessee.
One memory stands above all others.
On the electric night of Nov. 28, 1981, as a huge national television audience turned its attention to Birmingham’s Legion Field, Alabama knocked off Auburn, 28-17, to secure Paul “Bear” Bryant’s record-setting 315th career victory.
Perrin was one of the defensive heroes for Alabama, gathering two second-half interceptions as the Crimson Tide thwarted an upset bid by Pat Dye’s Tigers.
With the game tied 14-14 in the third quarter, Auburn quarterback Ken Hobby scrambled and threw deep. Perrin played the ball perfectly, stepping in front of the intended receiver to stop the drive cold.
In the final minute, he sealed the historic victory by intercepting a Joe Sullivan pass near the Alabama goalline and returning it to midfield as ABC’s Keith Jackson once more called his name.
“Just being a part of that game is something I’ll always cherish,” Perrin said. “Coach Bryant was such a larger-than-life figure and so special to all of us. We were all so fired up. There was no way we were going to lose that game.”
HOMETOWN HEROES is a three-part story, updating monthly, about the life and career of former Alabama player Benny Perrin.
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