Thanks to Chris Davis, the 2013 Iron Bowl will forever be remembered for the "Kick Six"
Saturday’s Iron Bowl matchup between Alabama and Auburn does not have the implications of previous years. Win or lose, the Crimson Tide are still the SEC Championship Game and still control their own destiny in making this year’s College Football Playoff. That being said, a loss to the Tigers would be black mark on the season.
That’s why this is the South’s biggest rivalry, one that has given us some great moments over the past 125 years, many of which have names. Here are the 10 greatest moments in Iron Bowl history.
10. The First Meeting
Auburn 32, Alabama 22
Feb. 22, 1893 – Birmingham, Ala.
The teams met in Birmingham’s Lakeview Park, with Auburn (then the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama) winning 32-22. Both schools launched football programs in 1892 and Alabama considers this game to be the final one of that season, while Auburn considers it to be the first of the 1893 season.
9. The Rivalry Resumes
Alabama 55, Auburn 0
Dec. 4, 1948 – Birmingham, Ala.
The two schools stopped playing after the 1907 season because they could not agree on officiating crews and per diems for players, but finally agreed to play again some 40 years later. For Auburn, it could not have come at a worse time. The Crimson Tide gave a 1-8-1 Tigers team their biggest beating of the series and one of the greatest rivalries in college football was born.
8. Alabama is Back
Alabama 36, Auburn 0
Nov. 29, 2008 - Tuscaloosa, Ala.
After losing six straight to Auburn, the Crimson Tide capped their undefeated regular season with a waxing of the Tigers. After the game, Alabama head coach Nick Saban ran around the field waving to the fans who were cheering on the program he had turned around in only two seasons.
7. The Big Muddy
Alabama 7, Auburn 3
Dec. 2, 1967 – Birmingham, Ala.
The first night game of the series was played in severe thunderstorms and wind. The weather and Auburn’s defense shut down Alabama and held a 3-0 lead in the fourth quarter. Then with 11 minutes left, Alabama quarterback Ken Stabler faked a pitchout and sprinted 47 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. The Crimson Tide defense then picked off two Auburn passes to seal the win.
6. Alabama Gets to Know Bo
Auburn 23, Alabama 22
Nov. 27, 1982 – Birmingham, Ala.
The Tigers had lost nine straight to the Crimson Tide and trailed 22-17 in the fourth quarter. However, they would not be denied on this day. Auburn drove 66 yards and scored when freshman Bo Jackson, who had 114 yards in the game, jumped over the top of the pile of defenders with 2:26 left in the game. Jackson actually fumbled on the next possession, but a penalty and the Tigers’ defense kept the Tide out of scoring range. Celebrating Auburn fans tore down the goal posts at Legion Field.
5. Van Tiffin Wins With 52-yard Field Goal
Alabama 25, Auburn 23
Nov. 30, 1985 – Birmingham, Ala.
Alabama led 16-10 entering what would be a wild fourth quarter. First, Bo Jackson scored on a one-yard run to put Auburn ahead 17-16 with 7:03 left. Then Alabama running back Gene Jelks scampered 26 yards into the end zone a minute later to put his team up 22-17. The Tigers responded with a time-consuming 70-yard drive punctuated with a Reggie Ware touchdown run with less than a minute left. Auburn failed on the two-point conversion so its lead was 23-22. Crimson Tide quarterback Mike Shula completed three clutch passes and also had a key block on a reverse to bring his team to the Auburn 35-yard line with six seconds left to play. There, walk-on Van Tiffin kicked a 52-yard field goal to cap one of the best games of the series.
4. Punt Bama Punt
Auburn 17, Alabama 16
Dec. 2, 1972 – Birmingham, Ala.
Alabama held Auburn to 80 yards of offense and led 16-3 with 5:30 to go as the Crimson Tide lined up to punt. Greg Gantt took the snap, but Auburn’s Bill Newton blocked his kick and David Langner picked up the ball and ran into the end zone. A few minutes later, Newton and Langner accomplished the same feat to take a 17-16 lead. Langner later sealed the win with an interception and when he got to the sideline, legendary head coach Shug Jordan appeared upset. According to Langner, he said "But coach, I intercepted the pass," and Jordan replied, "Yeah, but our plan was to make them punt." Recordings of the radio broadcast were sold after the game and bought by more than 20,000 Auburn fans.
3. The Camback
Auburn 28, Alabama 27
Nov. 26, 2010 – Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Alabama jumped out to a 24-0 lead over No. 2 Auburn in the second quarter. Lesser teams would have rolled over, but this was the Cam Newton-led Tigers. Auburn’s defense stiffened and Newton threw three touchdowns and ran for another as the Tigers escaped Tuscaloosa with a 28-27 victory. Auburn went on to win the national title, but its most dramatic victory was its comeback over Alabama.
Alabama 28, Auburn 17
Nov. 28, 1981 – Birmingham, Ala.
All eyes were on the state of Alabama as head coach Paul “Bear” Bryant was one win away from breaking Amos Alonzo Stagg’s record of 314 career victories. It looked like he may have to wait another day when Auburn turned two fumbles into 10 points and led 17-14 early in the fourth quarter. The Crimson Tide responded with two touchdowns as Bryant secured his 315th victory.
1. The Kick Six
Auburn 34, Alabama 28
Nov. 30, 2013 – Auburn, Ala.
Two-time defending national champion Alabama was 11-0 and Auburn was 10-1. The winner of the game would go to the SEC Championship Game the next week. The Tigers seemed to match the Crimson Tide score for score and tied the game 28-28 with 32 seconds left. Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon ran out of bounds at the Auburn 38-yard line with one second on the clock and the Crimson Tide lined up for a 57-yard field goal. Punt returner Chris Davis fielded the offline kick nine yards deep in the end zone and blew past Alabama’s stunned and somewhat slow field goal unit as he streaked down the sidelines to the end zone for the most dramatic moment of the series. Today, the “Kick Six” is not only the best play in Iron Bowl history. It may very well be the greatest play in college football history.
— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.
(Top photo courtesy of www.auburntigers.com)