One hundred and nine yards. 109 yards! I couldn’t believe it. I jumped out of my seat in the Auburn Arena as I watched the greatest play in college football history unfold. Just like that, it was all over. We were stunned. No overtime, no penalties, and no time left on the clock. Auburn had won the Iron Bowl.
You see, Auburn fans have had to listen to Alabama fans incessantly run their mouths about how great their team was since last year. They predicted that their Defense would shut our team down, and claimed that we only got this far on luck.
It was a foregone conclusion to them and quite a few others that the Crimson Tide was going to run right through God’s beloved Auburn Tigers on their way to another consecutive National Championship. I listened to their trash talk all week and even through the first half of the game.
Then something happened. The Tigers started coming back. The premature celebrations of Alabama fans all around me grew quieter and quieter as their celebration turned to unease, then worry, then terror at the thought of actually losing.
The game clock ran out in a tie – we thought we were going to play the first ever Iron Bowl Halftime, but Nick Saban successfully got one second put back on the clock and ‘Bama fans went wild. This would be their last cheer of the day. Oh what a difference a second makes.
Call it Schadenfreude if you want, but I couldn’t get enough of the look on their faces. The moment my alma mater’s football team was going to the SEC Championship was magical, and its exactly what we deserved.
When we hosted Georgia 3 weeks ago, we played a good game and caught the mother of all lucky breaks at the end – no doubt about it.
Last week, though – we earned the victory over Alabama. We earned it when we capitalized on their mistakes. We earned it when we blocked their kicks. We earned it when we rushed nearly 300 yards against a Defense that only allowed 5 touchdowns in the entire season before we played them.
And when we saw an opportunity, however unlikely, smart play calling by Gus Malzahn placed a receiver in the back of the end zone just in case the kick came up short. We all know what happened next.
With the way our Defense made ‘Bama shoot blanks this game, it’s not hard to imagine us winning anyway had we gone to overtime. Now that it’s settled, a re-match is highly unlikely.
We are finally getting the respect we deserve this season, and it’s about time. We have had the best turnaround in SEC history – better even than Mizzou, thank you very much.
This is exactly why Gus Malzahn is a finalist for Coach of the year, and out of all of the finalists he is the only one who has turned a team around in his first year as head coach. It is unprecedented, and he deserves the award more than anyone else. This is Auburn’s year.
Not only are we happily on the Gus bus, but our quarterback is pretty darn effective, too. Nick Marshall rushed for more yards this season than Johnny Football of Texas A&M. Why aren’t people talking about that more?
I know I’m biased, but I’m not ashamed. I believe in Auburn and love it, and I love Auburn athletics, too. A lot of our alumni and fans feel the same way: We’re so crazy about Auburn, some of us bury our dead (seriously) in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
I’m so proud of our team and can’t wait to cheer in Atlanta when we play for the SEC Championship tomorrow. This is going to be a good game. War Eagle!
Here’s to hoping Mizzou fans don’t poison trees.