Auburn stuns Alabama on last second field goal return
AUBURN—Alabama’s Southeastern Conference and national championship hopes were crushed by an attempted field goal return in the waning seconds of the Iron Bowl.
Auburn cornerback Chris Davis caught Adam Griffith’s field goal attempt at the goal line and returned it 100 yards for the game-winning touchdown.
“That’s the first time I’ve ever lost a game that way, the first time I’ve ever seen a game lost that way,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said.
The No. 4 Tigers (11-1, 7-1 SEC) upset the top-ranked Crimson Tide (11-1, 7-1) in Jordan-Hare Stadium Saturday night 34-28.
Senior quarterback AJ McCarron watched the Tigers’ game-winning play unfold from the sideline in disbelief like everyone else watching the rivalry game.
“It’s one of those crazy plays,” McCarron said. “It’s almost like a video game. That’s something you do on Madden or NCAA. It’s just a wild play.”
McCarron completed 17-of-29 of his passes for 277 yards and three touchdowns, with his last touchdown toss going to wide receiver Amari Cooper on a 99-yard bomb, which was the longest scoring play in school history.
But it wasn’t enough to secure the victory for the Crimson Tide.
“We’ve got to give Auburn’s players a lot of credit. They’ve had a good season, and they played a great game,” Saban said. “They made plays when they needed to make them today, and that’s probably the difference in the game.”
A mixture of Cade Foster and Adam Griffith’s combined four missed field goals and Auburn’s offense ultimately doomed Alabama’s chances of advancing to Atlanta for the SEC Championship game in a week.
The Tigers amassed 296 rushing yards, more than any team Alabama this season. Running back Tre Mason carried the ball 29 times for 164 yards and one touchdown.
But Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall punished the Crimson Tide with two touchdown passes in the second half.
“You’ve got to have tremendous discipline to play against this offense,” Saban said.
Cooper led all receivers with six catches, 178 yards and one touchdown, while T.J. Yeldon piled on 26 carries for 141 yards and a touchdown in the second quarter that put Alabama in the lead 21-7.
C.J. Mosley led Alabama with 14 tackles, and he – like his teammates – was in shock when the game ended.
“I just can’t believe it happened,” Mosley said. “Nobody ever expected that. We gave it all we got, and we tried to go for the field goal.”
Auburn now has an outside shot at playing in the BCS title game, while Alabama must now regroup and prepare for its bowl game that will be announced at a later date.
“We got a lot of time off. We’ve got a lot of great seniors,” McCarron said. “We’ll be ready to play. We’re a hungry team. It doesn’t matter. One loss. The sun comes up tomorrow.”