In what will go down as one of the greatest plays in college football history and the upset of the 2013 season, the Auburn Tigers stunned the Alabama Crimson Tide at the Iron Bowl, with a 109-yard return off a missed 57-yard field goal at Jordan Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama.
Immediately after the game, fans, sportswriters and sporting news sites took to Twitter to unleash an continual stream of comments on a play that will be repeated endlessly on television and the internet for the remainder of the season. SB Nation described the social media onslaught as an “internet implosion”, ESPN’s SportsCenter tweeted “one of the wildest finishes you’ll ever see” and Sports Nation proclaimed “everyone is still probably on the field”. And @_Happy_Gilmore, posted one of the funniest images of Twitter thus far, photoshopping Pittsburg Steeler Coach Mike Tomlin along the sideline, as if to prevent the touchdown.
The touchdown by Auburn senior cornerback Chris Davis capped an improbable victory for the fourth ranked Tigers against the top ranked team in the country. In the waning seconds of the game, the Crimson Tide’s quarterback A.J. McCarron found running back T.J. Yeldon in the open before making it to the sidelines with what officials initially ruled no time left on the game clock. But upon further review, the officials put one second back on the clock, giving “Bama one last chance to win the game with the ill-fated 57-yard field goal attempt.
While the courageous attempt was slightly wide right, Auburn’s Davis snagged the football deep in the end zone, went to his left, shook off a tackle at about the 25-yard line, eluded a couple of other ‘Bama players near midfield, then blazed the sidelines into open territory with no defender within 20 yards. Shortly after the play was ruled good by game officials, thousands of Auburn fans streamed out onto the field to create a sea of blue and red, while Coach Nick Saban, his staff and Alabama players, still shell shocked, gradually left the field, still quite not understanding what just happened on the field.
Auburn outscored Alabama 20-3 in the final two quarters, after trailing by what many fans thought was an insurmountable lead of 28-7 at the half. While both starting quarterbacks had outstanding games, it was top ranked Alabama’s special teams that cost them the victory, with starting kicker Cade Foster missing all three of his field goal attempts before being benched and allowing sophomore backup to attempt just his third field goal all season.
The colossal upset likely eliminates Coach Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide from seeking a third consecutive BCS National Championship. Second ranked Florida State trounced cross-state rival Florida 37-7 and third ranked Ohio State survived Michigan’s two point conversion attempt to win 42-41, possibly setting up the two teams to be selected to the 2014 BCS Championship on January 6 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
With the victory, Auburn wins the SEC West Division and will meet either Missouri or South Carolina at the SEC Championship next weekend in Atlanta. In the meantime, the fans may have left the field, but they’re certain to be partying well into the night at Auburn University.