By Darrell Puckett
Miracles only happen once in a lifetime, but inside Jordan-Hare the past two games have been nothing short of miraculous. It’s ironic that Auburn was 0-8 in SEC play last season and now sit 7-1 after beating Alabama. The Crimson Tide the past four years have been practically unstoppable and have won three BCS National Championships. The only thing that stood in Bama’s way was Chris Davis and one second.
That one second cost Alabama everything and it happened quicker than anyone anticipated. After Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall completed an impressive 39 yard touchdown pass to Sammie Coates, everyone’s thoughts were towards overtime, but that didn’t happen. The Tide instead decided to kick a 57-yard field goal to defeat Auburn and solidify their championship destiny, but that didn’t work.
Auburn coach, Gus Malzahn, chose to put Chris Davis under the goal post and possibly get a game winning return. Davis waited for freshman Adam Griffith’s kick to sail a few yards short and returned the ball 9 yards deep from Auburn’s end zone. He then cut straight towards the sideline and into Tiger history as fourth- ranked Auburn defeated number one Alabama with one second left. The return was totaled a 109-yard touchdown. Auburn wins the most prolific game in Iron Bowl history 34-28. Alabama in other words actually kicked Auburn an Iron Bowl victory touchdown. Sometimes the truth hurts.
Now let’s move on past this Iron Bowl, if possible. Auburn jumps to number three in the BCS behind Ohio State and Florida State. They will play Missouri next Sat. for the SEC Championship with huge implications attached. Who will win and earn a national title game?
The answer might seem difficult, but here’s a few statistics to help.
Missouri is undefeated this season when James Franklin takes the snaps. Franklin has completed 162 passes out of 242 attempts for 1,952 yards. His outstanding 66.9 completion percentage explains why he has thrown 16 touchdowns with only four interceptions. If Auburn can’t contain Franklin and force mistakes, then Missouri stands a great chance.
Auburn’s key for success will be special teams. I know this sounds ridiculous, but the kicking and return game is easily overlooked in tough match-ups. Don’t forget what Auburn did to Tennessee and Alabama on special teams. The small and simple things that are so fundamental will prove to be factors. Look for both teams to try to spread each other’s defenses out looking for big plays. Whichever team can dominate the line-of-scrimmage and make routine plays will win this game.
Look for both teams to take chances down-field with deep passes off play action. Either way, this game has a lot of hype to live up to and should be an awesome watch. Tune in to CBS on Dec. 7 at 3:00 p.m. for the SEC Championship game.
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