2012: Alabama vs Michigan
2012: No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide 41, No. 8 Michigan Wolverines 14
The Cowboys Classic hosted a Top 10 matchup for the second consecutive season when the second-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide, fresh off of their 2011 national championship season, downed the No. 8 Michigan Wolverines 41-14 before a crowd of 90,413 the largest ever to see a college football game at Cowboys Stadium.
Once again the game set the stage for a big season for the Tide, as Alabama would go on to capture the national title again in 2012 under head coach Nick Saban.
Despite the huge crowd and the season-opening excitement for both fan bases, this game was never really in doubt after the Crimson Tide raced out to a 21-0 first quarter lead over the stunned Wolverines. Alabama stretched that lead to 31-0 before Michigan finally got on the board late in the second quarter.
The game proved to be a breakout one for true freshman TJ Yeldon. The running back became the first Alabama true freshman to rush for 100 yards in his first game as a member of the Crimson Tide. He finished the night with 111 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. He also added a 26 yard reception.
Michigan would not be the lone victim of the Crimson Tide in 2012. In fact, Saban’s squad reeled off nine straight wins to start the season before falling to Texas A&M, a loss that appeared at the time to derail their hopes to repeat as national championships. However, after a wild series of upsets in the final weeks of the regular season, the Tide put together an SEC championship game victory over Georgia and advanced to the BCS championship game where they closed their season just as they began it with a dominant 42-14 victory over Notre Dame.