It’s a shame for a writer to say this, but I’m still at a loss for words.
I can’t find any superlatives that adequately describe Auburn’s win over Alabama.
I don’t know if I ever will.
When the game opened with Alabama scoring a TD, I thought it was business as usual. When Auburn went three-and-out, I thought about last year’s game when Auburn had opened up 14-0 lead early. In that game, Auburn stopped Alabama a second time and started with acceptable field position. Then Chris Todd missed two wide open receivers and allowed Alabama to catch its breath.
The same thing essentially happened here. Alabama faced a 4th-and 19 after a sack of McElroy.
And then the most bogus celebration penalty in the history of college football, designed to send Nick Fairley a message. The “message” resulted in another Alabama TD and a 21-0 first quarter score.
From there, I started thinking about another game, the one where Auburn jumped out with four straight scores and then cruised to victory. (The post-game quote from Brody Croyle was that Alabama won the final three quarters, still one of the stupidest post-game comments I’ve eve heard.)
But with Auburn having no first downs and Alabama continuing to drive, I actually had doubts.
It’s the reason I’m still in shock.
Prior to today, Auburn had come back from double digit deficits. Each time, though, they trailed at home. Today, they were down 24-0 in Bryant-Denny stadium to last year’s national champion, a team coached by the one of the best coaches in the game.
And Auburn could have folded. Two Alabama fumbles in the red zone took away probable Alabama scores.
After making it a 24-21 game and getting a crucial stop, Auburn could have lost it when Quindarius Carr fumbled after not calling for the fair catch. They held Alabama to a field goal and kept it down to one score difference. And then Auburn finally took the lead after that.
I was on the proverbial pins-and-needles after that. I kept hoping we’d get another score and get up eight points like we were against South Carolina. I knew we were one busted play from an Alabama FG. And, on the 25th anniversary of what is known as the kick, I didn’t want that.
And as the final whistle sounded, and with it an Auburn victory, I breathed a sigh and realized that the kick may be a good metaphor. For this win was a dagger that stabbed our arch rival.
But converting on 4th and 16 with less than a minute to go is a lot easier than coming back from 24-0.
This was simply the biggest Auburn Iron Bowl victory ever.
-> More important than Punt Bama Punt
-> More important than 1989.
-> More important than the 14-13 upset in 1949 after losing 55-0 the previous season and coming into the game a huge underdog.
Given the 24-0 deficit with what was on the line, no other Iron Bowl victory compares to this one for Auburn.
However, it could all be for naught.
Throughout 2010, Auburn has been good at finishing the game.
Now Auburn needs to finish the season.