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Nick Marshall’s deflected touchdown pass to Ricardo Louis to beat Georgia stood as perhaps the best play in Auburn history. One of the biggest plays in SEC lore.
When fans tell the story of the 2013 Auburn season, Marshall to Louis (via the hands of a Georgia player) will be No. 2.
Chris Davis set off mayhem at Jordan-Hare Stadium by returning Alabama’s failed last-second 57-yard field goal attempt from the back of Auburn end zone to Alabama’s end zone for a 34-28 win to topple the No. 1 Crimson Tide.
Auburn clinches a spot in the SEC Championship Game, but that’s secondary. Auburn has clinched a spot among one of the most miraculous teams in college football history.
Between Marshall’s miracle pass to beat Georgia and Davis’ runback to beat Alabama, Auburn has produced the equivalent of Doug Flutie’s Hail Mary and the Bluegrass Miracle in a span of three weeks.
The win may cost Alabama a bid at a third consecutive national championship while giving Auburn an outside shot at claiming its own bid to extend the SEC title streak to eight.
But all of that is conjecture at this point. Auburn’s 2013 season place as the most charmed years in college football history isn’t in doubt.
Three Things We Learned From Auburn 34, Alabama 28
Auburn will make a compelling case for the BCS Championship Game. Ohio State and Florida State remain undefeated, but look for the conversation to begin about Auburn leap-frogging one of them in the event of an SEC championship (Auburn AD Jay Jacobs is already lobbying). Precedent says that talk is hokum. No one-loss team has ever jumped an undefeated major conference team for a title spot in BCS history. Then again, two teams from the same conference facing each other in a rematch for the title would have been ludicrious before 2011. Auburn has the lone loss of the three teams (35-21 at LSU). But Auburn also entered the week with the toughest schedule of any of those three teams. The Tigers began the week with the 38th-ranked schedule and a 4-1 record against the top 30, according to the Sagarin ratings. Ohio State’s schedule was ranked 67th; Florida State’s was ranked 76th. The rankings following Auburn's win over No. 1 Alabama combined with Florida State's and Ohio State's best wins (Wisconsin and Clemson) slipping in stature will be worth watching. But Auburn still trailed the top three in the BCS by nearly a tenth of a point, a significant amount with two weeks left in the season.
Auburn Florida State Ohio State Wins over teams with winning records Alabama, Arkansas State, Georgia, Ole Miss, Texas A&M Boston College, Clemson, Maryland, Miami Buffalo, Iowa, Michigan, Penn State, San Diego State, Wisconsin Wins over current BCS top 25 Alabama, Texas A&M Clemson Wisconsin Final game Missouri Duke Michigan State
Alabama, for the first time in a long time, was mistake-prone. From beginning to end, special teams were an issue for the Crimson Tide, down to the game-winning runback. Alabama punter Cody Mandell dropped a punt in the first quarter, and Cade Foster stutter-stepped on his first of three missed field goals. Nick Saban’s lack of confidence in special teams spilled into the fourth quarter when he elected to run his offense on fourth-and-1 from the Auburn 13 (T.J. Yeldon was stuffed for no gain). Alabama forced a three and out and got the ball at the Auburn 27 but again came up short when Foster’s field goal was blocked. On the final play of the game, rather than taking a for overtime, Alabama sent out a freshman kicker with one career kick for a 57-yard attempt.
Auburn is a miracle team. Auburn isn’t in the SEC Championship Game simply because it’s lucky. The Tigers are a definite top five or better team, but they’ve had their good fortune beyond the miracle plays to beat Georgia and Alabama. Auburn has taken advantage of just about every play on the razor’s edge in the final month of the season. Against Alabama, Nick Marshall completed his final touchdown pass just a toe short of the line of scrimmage. Marshall ran to his left on an option play, switched the football from one hand to another and was just short of the line when he found Sammy Coates open for the game-tying 39-yard touchdown. And on the final drive, officials put one second back on the clock when T.J. Yeldon ran out of bounds. Of course, Auburn fans would be cursing officials if Adam Griffith converts the 57-yard field goal, but the endgame was Davis’ miracle touchdown.
Sometimes, a top-five matchup doesn’t live up to the hype. But in Auburn-Alabama’s case on Saturday, the Iron Bowl lived up to its top-five billing, with the Tigers stunning the Crimson Tide on a last-second missed field goal return for a touchdown.
After Alabama was awarded one second on the clock on review, Adam Griffith attempted a 56-yard field goal (his first of the night). However, Griffith’s kick was off line, which allowed Auburn’s Chris Davis to catch the attempt and return 109 yards for the game-winning touchdown.
The field goal return for a touchdown sends Auburn to the SEC Championship and ends – at least for now – Alabama’s national title hopes.
Is this play one of the best in college football history? Considering everything that was on the line and in a huge rivalry, it certainly ranks among the top plays in recent memory:
Ohio State still has a chance for a spot in the national championship game, even if Michigan did everything it could (in regulation) to end those hopes.
A game that began with a bit of nastiness — a fracas early in the second quarter that resulted in three ejections and two obscene gestures for the Ann Arbor crowd — ended in fireworks.
After battling back from a 14-point deficit to start the fourth quarter, Michigan elected to go for a two-point conversion after the final touchdown. Rather than playing for overtime, Michigan rode the momentum of a back-and-forth game with its rival to go for the win.
The result was an Ohio State interception to keep the Buckeyes unbeaten and in championship game contention. The 42-41 Ohio State win was the second one-point win in the history of the rivalry and the first since Michigan won 17-16 in 1926. The rivalry has ended in a tie four times.
With Florida State throttling Florida 37-7 in Gainesville, Ohio State likely remains a spot behind the Seminoles in the BCS standings. All eyes in Columbus, though, will remain on Alabama and Auburn today before the Buckeyes prepare for Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game.
Three Things We Learned From Ohio State 42, Michigan 41
Ohio State’s backfield is something special. This isn’t a new revelation, but it took nearly the entire season for a high-profile performance like this out of Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde as a tandem. Blame the Big Ten schedule. Blame the early season injury (Miller) and suspension (Hyde). The duo gashed Michigan’s defense up the middle all day with Hyde rushing for 226 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries and Miller rushing for 153 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries. Michigan kept coming back against the Ohio State defense, but anytime the Buckeyes needed to move the ball, Hyde and Miller delivered. After a slow start, Miller still finished 6 of 15 passing for 133 yards with two touchdowns and interceptions. Given the way the Heisman race has self-destructed in recent weeks, one has to wonder how Miller or Hyde would have fared if both played all season. The duo that averaged 379 rushing yards and 8.8 yards per carry will face a Michigan State defense that’s allowed 100 rushing yards in a game only two times this season.
Ohio State’s defense came up when it mattered ... and that’s about it. When the Buckeyes make a case for the BCS Championship Game, they won’t point to Saturday’s defense. Ohio State entered the game ranked fourth in a lackluster Big Ten in total defense before allowing 603 yards to Michigan. Devin Gardner and his supporting cast have shown this potential, but what makes for exciting rivalry week football didn’t make for a resounding statement for the Buckeyes. Ohio State opened a 35-21 lead entering the fourth quarter before three Michigan scoring drives in the fourth quarter set up the potential go-ahead two-point attempt. Stops where hard to find as Ohio State allowed Michigan to score on touchdown drives of 99, 83 and 84 yards.
Michigan finally took some chances ... and failed. The Wolverines have not been the most risky team in the Big Ten this season, but that changed against Ohio State. The most prominent example was the decision to go for a two-point conversion to take a lead in the final 32 seconds rather than going for a game-tying extra point. Brady Hoke and Al Borges called for a pass play to Devin Gardner’s right with three receivers stacked in the formation. Top receivers Devin Funchess and Jeremy Gallon were covered when Gardner went for Drew Dileo. The window was tight, and freshman Tyvis Powell jumped in front of Dileo for the interception. Earlier in the game, Hoke also elected to go with his offense on a fourth-and-2 from the Ohio State 14. The conversion failed, and Ohio State scored on the ensuing drive. Michigan is only two weeks removed from kicking two sub-30-yard field goals in regulation against Northwestern, so it will be interesting to see what happens next time Hoke is in risky or conservative play call situation.
Michigan-Ohio State is one of college football’s top rivalries, so it’s no surprise there were a few scuffles between the two teams on Saturday.
However, things got a little ugly in the first half, as punches were thrown in a confrontation between the Wolverines and Buckeyes on Saturday.
Three players – Ohio State’s Dontre Wilson and Marcus Hall, along with Michigan’s Royce Jenkins-Stone – were ejected, with Hall saluting the crowd with a double bird as he left the field.
Below is a video of the fight, followed by Hall’s salute to the Big House:
Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin was expected to be in high demand this offseason, as the Alabama native was mentioned for potential openings at USC or in the NFL.
But Sumlin’s name can be eliminated for any job openings, as the school announced a new six-year contract on Saturday for the second-year coach.
In two years in College Station, Sumlin has guided the Aggies to a 19-5 record, with a Cotton Bowl victory last season.
Sumlin may lose quarterback Johnny Manziel to the NFL this offseason, but Texas A&M has recruited well and played a handful of freshmen on both sides of the ball in 2013.
Athletic director Eric Hyman released this statement to announce Sumlin’s new contract:
“Coach Sumlin has demonstrated why he is considered among the nation’s elite football coaches. His coaching and recruiting abilities are only secondary to his integrity, class and passion for his student-athletes and this University,” Hyman said. “Texas A&M is making a sincere commitment to Kevin. We are fortunate that he is committed to remain an Aggie for a long time to come, and we are excited about what the future has in store.”
Nebraska coach Bo Pelini is squarely on the hot seat after Saturday’s loss to Iowa. But Pelini’s job doesn’t appear to be in any danger, as athletic director Shawn Eichorst offered his support for the embattled coach on Saturday.
Eichorst has been silent this year in regards to Pelini’s job status. But his statement on Saturday should put to rest Pelini’s job status – at least until the bowl game is over.
Below is Eichorst's statement that was released on Saturday morning:
“My approach has always been to not comment publicly about our coaches until their full seasons are complete, as I strongly believe it is unfair and counter to best practices. However, given the volume of unfounded speculation and conjecture about our head football coach, I want to reaffirm what I have said many times since I have arrived at the University of Nebraska — that I positively respect, appreciate and support our football student-athletes, coaches and staff, as we do everyone in the Husker family. We very much look forward to our upcoming bowl game and Coach Pelini continuing to lead our program in the future.”
LSU was a huge favorite for Saturday’s game against Arkansas, but the Tigers needed a late fourth-quarter score to beat the Razorbacks.
Trailing 27-21 late in the fourth quarter, receiver Jarvis Landry caught a 32-yard pass from quarterback Zach Mettenberger, which set up a 37-yard field goal by kicker Colby Delahoussaye.
Landry’s 32-yard catch was crucial to getting the field goal, but the junior’s ridiculous grab might be one of the best of the year:
Catching up on the news from around the nation....
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College Football's Must-Read Stories Around the Web for Wednesday, November 27th
It seems every coach celebrates a win by dancing in the locker room these days. Lost Lettermen ranked the best dancing moves from head coaches.
Voting is open to honor the best college player in South Carolina this year. And 13 players have also been announced as finalists for the South Carolina Football Hall of Fame.
Washington State athletic director Bill Moos hasn't forgotten about the nasty e-mails he received.
Duke athletic director Kevin White is pushing for the ACC to have its own television channel by 2016.
Iowa and Iowa State have announced an extension to their annual rivalry.
LSU could be losing another group of underclassmen to the NFL Draft this offseason.
The staff at Nunes Magician previews Syracuse's game against Boston College. Can the Orange stop Andre Williams?
A good wrapup of California coach Sonny Dykes' postseason press conference.
Running back David Fluellen's career at Toledo is likely finished due to a leg injury.
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray suffered a torn ACL against Kentucky, but the senior tried to play through the injury.
Big changes appear to be coming for Florida's coaching staff this offseason.
Oklahoma running back Damien Williams has been dismissed from the team.
Notre Dame offensive lineman Nick Martin will miss the rest of the season due to a knee injury.
Bad news for SMU's bowl hopes: Quarterback Garrett Gilbert is out against Houston due to a knee injury.
UCLA offensive lineman Simon Goines is out for the rest of the season due to a leg injury.
Rivalry week and Thanksgiving is upon us with a huge Iron Bowl matchup. Is Alabama unstoppable or does Auburn have a shot in its big moment? It's strength vs. strength, so anything is possible, says our hosts.
The Heisman race is as cloud as it's been all season. The clear leader on the field has major off-the-field issues, so our hosts look at the merits of Andre Williams vs. Ka'Deem Carey, Jordan Lynch vs. Derek Carr and if Tajh Boyd should re-enter the field.
Florida State is clearly ahead of Ohio State in the BCS, but should Ohio State's schedule get a second look? We're divided.
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The Egg Bowl rivalry between Mississippi State and Ole Miss is usually one of the highlights of SEC play during the last week of regular season action.
The Bulldogs need a win to keep their bowl hopes alive, and Dan Mullen’s team will be wearing a shiny new (and very gold) helmet for their Thursday night rivalry matchup:
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