BY: Jeff Schneberk
It was neck-and-neck for most of the game so it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that the game was won by six points. It’s just the way it all went down that should still have some fans out in Tuscaloosa, and probably all over Alabama for that matter, reeling over what happened.
Chris Davis returned a missed field-goal attempt more than 100 yards for a touchdown on the final play to lift No. 4 Auburn to a 34-28 victory over No. 1 Alabama on Saturday, upending the two-time defending national champions’ BCS hopes and preserving the Tigers’ own.
“We’re a team of destiny,” Davis said. “We won’t take no for an answer.”
He delivered a play that deserves its own nickname. Say the Happiest Return? Or the saddest, depending on which side of the Iron Bowl you sit. Think of some of the most memorable plays in college football history — maybe Stanford-Cal, “The Band is on the Field” or Hail Flutie. This one by Auburn now has a place on that list.
FAT GUYS lol
“I knew when I caught the ball I would have room to run,” Davis said. “I knew they would have big guys on the field to protect on the field goal. When I looked back, I said, ‘I can’t believe this.’ ”
One of the announcers of the game suggested that Davis was going to have it easy because the Alabama special teams unit that was on the field at the moment did not include any player who had any chance of catching Davis.
“There’s not athletes on the field, it’s all fat guys.”
Auburn lead 7-0 early, but ‘Bama came back and stormed out front, 21-14 by the halftime. The Tigers tied it at 21-21 heading into the fourth quarter where the Tigers outscored the Crimson Tide 13-7.
Saban’s decision to attempt a 57-yard field goal instead of throwing a Hail Mary with one second left will be second-guessed in Tuscaloosa for the rest of the century.
Saban slammed his headset in disgust after Davis sprinted down the sideline, as if he knew his hubris did in the Crimson Tide. The kick marked first meaningful collegiate attempt for Griffith, a redshirt freshman known for long-distance kicks. It only happened because a review ruled that ‘Bama tailback T.J. Yeldon stepped out of bounds with one second left in the fourth quarter.
“First time I ever lost a game that way,” Saban uttered in a monotone after the game. “First time I have ever seen a game lost that way.”
While Saban’s late-game decision backfired, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn made an adjustment for the ages. Initially, he sent safety Ryan Smith back to the goal line in case the Tide’s field goal try fell short.
“I was on the edge,” Davis said, “the scoop and score guy.”
We can thank the Auburn Tigers for making the BCS scenarios a little more messed following a crazy ending at Auburn Hills on Saturday night when Chad Davis ran the ball over 100 yards for the game-winning TD with one second left on the clock to give Auburn a 34-28 win over the visiting Alabama Crimson Tide, handing them their first loss of the year.
While Saban’s late-game decision backfired, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn made an adjustment for the ages. Initially, he sent safety Ryan Smith back to the goal line in case the Tide’s field goal try fell short. “I was on the edge,” Davis said, “the scoop and score guy.”
However, after Malzahn called timeout, he put Davis back on the cusp of the goal line instead. “I can’t explain it, to be honest,” Davis said, noting that Smith seethed at the switch. “I thank coach and them for the opportunity to return that missed field goal.”
Auburn not only ended Alabama’s run for three consecutive championships, but it may have also cannibalized the SEC’s chance to capture an eighth straight national title. If the conference’s streak ends on that play, at least its run of dominance burnt out instead of fading away.
THE WHOLE BCS SHAKEUP
Florida State and Ohio State are now the undefeated BCS favorites, as a debate will be unleashed this week whether a one-loss SEC champ should play for the national title over an unbeaten Buckeyes team. When Michigan lost to Ohio State after a failed two-point conversion attempt, Slive tossed his coffee cup in the trash. “No hypotheticals,” Slive texted after the game when asked about the SEC streak in jeopardy.
Shortly after Florida defeated Arkansas 38-28 in the 2006 SEC championship game in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome, then-Gators coach Urban Meyer immediately started lobbying for his team to play for a BCS national title.
The Gators were No. 4 in the BCS standings at the time, behind No. 1 Ohio State, No. 2 USC and No. 3 Michigan. After the Trojans were upset 13-9 by unranked UCLA, Meyer believed the Gators were the most deserving one-loss team at getting a chance to play the undefeated Buckeyes.
“There are a lot of people making a lot of decisions out there, but this is a big one,” Meyer said at the time. “We’re going to tell a group of young men, who just went 12-1 in a most difficult schedule against six ranked opponents, that they don’t have a chance to play for a national championship? I’m going to need help with that one.”
BCS Standings updated
1) Florida State 12-0
2) Ohio State 12-0
3) Auburn 11-1
4) Alabama 11-1
5) Missouri 11-1
6) Oklahoma State 10-1
7) Stanford 10-2
With the Tide losing and Ohio State and Florida State both winning on Saturday, it completely blows wide open the possibilities for the BCS National Championship game in early January. It also likely eliminates the possibility of an all-SEC BCS game, which is good.