As I watched the Michigan vs Ohio State game on Saturday, November 30th, 2013 I was reminded how amazing the sport of college football can be. The regular season is unlike any other as every game matters. In all other sports there is a playoff system in place that makes the regular season less meaningful. In college football, one loss could mean the end of national title hopes. As Ohio State barely got past Michigan, by a single point, I had a feeling it was going to be a day to remember in college football. Little did I know that it would exceed my expectations. The Auburn vs Alabama game was all it was built up to be, and more.
The 2013 Iron Bowl
Heading into the 2013 Iron Bowl most felt as if Auburn would be able to keep it close but Alabama would pull away late. Any time there is a rivalry game the underdog seems to play a whole lot better than at any other time during the season. The same was true for Michigan against Ohio State earlier in the day. Auburn came out playing decent but Alabama was playing tight. As CBS analyst Gary Danielson pointed out, all the pressure was on Alabama to win this game. They needed the win to go to the 2013 SEC Championship game. If they did not make it to the SEC Championship game it is likely they will not play for their third straight BCS National Championship.
The game was in Jordan-Hare Stadium so Auburn had the crowd on their side. This is extremely important in college football. In fact, college football home field advantage is one of the biggest advantages in all of sports. Many prolific college football coaches win over 95% of their games at home. This means the pressure was on Alabama even more. Having to play Auburn in Jordan-Hare is no easy task; especially when an SEC and BCS championship is on the line.
By halftime, it was obvious this was going to be one of those special SEC games. Auburn wasn’t going anywhere as the vice tightened around the neck of Alabama fans. Heading into the 4th quarter Auburn was proving they should be ranked in the top 5. At one point, a plethora of analysts pointed out, on Twitter, there was no way Ohio State would beat either of the teams that were playing in Jordan Hare on Saturday night.
Just when you think college football cannot get any crazier the ending of the 2013 Iron Bowl happened. Alabama had the ball with less than a minute to go but they were out of timeouts. The running back dashed down the sidelines and stepped out as time expired. The refs blew the whistle and regulation was over. As Lee Corso would say, “not so fast my friends.” After looking at the replay there was still one second left on the clock when the Alabama running back’s foot stepped out of bounds. Almost everyone that was watching the game thought Alabama was going to try a Hail Mary pass into the end zone. The field goal would be 57 yards and the Alabama kicking game had been atrocious the entire game.
Nick Saban shocked the world by sending the kicking unit on the field. A 57 yard field for a college kicker would be a minor miracle. As the ball was in the air many were left wondering if it would make it to the back of the end zone. Auburn had strategically placed Chris Davis deep to field the kick in case it did not make it to the field goal crossbar. The kick came up about three yards short and Davis fielded the ball. As he headed to the sidelines it was quite obvious what was about to happen. I think everyone watching the game uttered the words, “oh, my, God” as Davis was sprinting down the sidelines. As soon as he got past the 50 yard line it was obvious what was going to happen.
With just a second left on the clock the Auburn Tigers dashed the three-peat hopes of the Alabama Crimson Tide. Auburn is heading to the SEC championshipgame and it would take a lot of upsets for the Crimson Tide to make it to the BCS National Championship game. Never before in college football history has a game that meant so much ended on a return for a touchdown. The record books will say the return was only 100 yards but in all reality it was about 108 or 109 yards. The entire time Chris Davis was returning the ball there was no time on the clock. All they ha
d to do was push him out of bounds. In my eyes, this is one of the top three endings in all of sports history.
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