Top 5 Moments in Iron Bowl History: Auburn
It’s Iron Bowl week in the Yellow Hammer state! No matter how the season has gone for each team, the Iron Bowl is still a huge deal and something both Auburn and Alabama want to be able to hang their hat on all offseason. With this week being the 87th Iron Bowl, let’s take a look at the top 5 moments in the legendary game for each team. Up first, Auburn:
#5: Punt Bama Punt:
Bear Bryant’s Crimson Tide came into the 1972 Iron Bowl at an undefeated 10-0 and 14 point favorites against Shug Jordan’s 8-1 Auburn Tigers. Alabama led the game 16-0 with ten minutes left when Auburn kicked a field goal to make it 16-3.
In a result that seems completely unbelievable now, Alabama had a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown on the following possession to make it 16-10, and then the exact same thing happened again just a few minutes later to give Auburn the lead.
On both blocks, Bill Newton blocked it and David Langner returned it for the score. When Alabama was going for a game winning score in the game’s final minutes, Langner made a game-sealing interception, and Jordan was famously quoted as saying, “Yeah, but our plan was to make them punt.”
#4: First at Jordan-Hare:
There have been better games than the 1989 Iron Bowl, but certainly none at the time that meant more to Auburn than this one. The fact that the game was played for so many years at a “neutral” site in Birmingam was ridiculous to begin with. Finally, Auburn got to play the most iconic game in the state at their home stadium.
Entering the matchup, undefeated Alabama was ranked second in the country, while Auburn had two losses. Head coach Pat Dye and the Tigers held a 17 point lead in the fourth quarter and would hold on for a 30-20 win, earning them a 3-way split of the SEC title. The fact that the Iron Bowl was finally played at Auburn meant just as much to the Tigers as the fact that they won the game.
#3: The Camback:
Obviously the Kick-6 immediately comes to mind, but this might be Alabama’s most brutal loss in Iron Bowl history. The defending national champion Crimson Tide led 24-0 in the second quarter at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Now, the #2 ranked and undefeated Tigers were the better team going into this one against the 11th ranked Crimson Tide, but it in the first half, it looked like it was going to be an Alabama beatdown. Cam Newton had other ideas.
Newton totaled 4 touchdowns the rest of the game (3 passing, 1 rushing) and the Tigers defense tightened up for an unbelievable 28-27 victory to preserve Auburn’s perfect season. They would go on to destroy South Carolina in the SEC Championship and triumph over Oregon to win their first national championship since 1957.
#2: Bo Goes Over the Top:
The 1982 Iron Bowl is incredibly memorable for a few reasons. For starters, it marked Auburn ending the longest winning streak in the rivalry that remains to this day of nine in a row for the Crimson Tide. It was also the final Iron Bowl Bear Bryant ever coached in. He retired after the season and passed away exactly 60 days after this game.
Trailing 22-17 late in the fourth quarter, Auburn drove the field and freshman Bo Jackson jumped over the top of the pile on the goal line in one of the most iconic plays in the game’s history to give the Tigers a 23-22 lead with just over 2 minutes left in the game. Auburn held on and Tiger fans would go on to storm the field and tear down the goal posts at Legion Field.
#1: Kick Six:
Was there really any doubt here? As much as it pains me to say it, the Kick Six is not only the most iconic moment in Iron Bowl history, it very well may be the most iconic moment in the history of college football. The stakes of the game were incredibly high, with one loss Auburn taking on undefeated and two-time defending National Champion Alabama for a spot in the SEC Championship against Missouri. Auburn would go on to lose BCS National Championship in a heart breaker to Florida State, but this game will forever be remembered as the greatest Iron Bowl ever.
Honorable Mention: 6 in a Row :
The 2007 Iron Bowl wasn’t all that memorable for the game itself, rather than the fact that Auburn defeated Alabama for the sixth time in a row and took down Nick Saban in his first year at Alabama. The Tigers won the game 17-10, and Saban got his first taste of just how tough it is to win an Iron Bowl at Jordan-Hare.