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Auburn vs. Georgia 2013 and the 10 Best Finishes in SEC History

Sebastian LenaAnalyst INovember 16, 2013

Auburn vs. Georgia 2013 and the 10 Best Finishes in SEC History

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    Marshall (center) and Auburn put together one of the greatest finishes in SEC history.
    Marshall (center) and Auburn put together one of the greatest finishes in SEC history.John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

    There’s a reason the SEC is largely considered the best conference in all of college football.

    On Saturday, Georgia and Auburn reminded us all why that is.

    Following a miraculous 73-yard touchdown reception on 4th-and-18, the Tigers walked away with an improbable 43-38 victory. The pass will likely go down as the play of the season while the contest should grab game of the year honors.

    However, thrilling finishes are nothing new in the SEC.

    It all got us thinking: Just where does this finish rank among some of the best in the conference’s storied history?

    Join B/R as we take a trip down memory lane and count down the 10 best finishes the SEC has ever seen.

10. Florida 24, Georgia 17 (1970)

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    Gators fans had a lot to celebrate back in 1970.
    Gators fans had a lot to celebrate back in 1970.Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    The Matchup: Florida (5-3) vs. Georgia (4-3), Nov. 7, 1970

     

    Why It’s Here

    Regardless of record, it’s always a show when these two battle. The matchup in 1970 was no exception.

    With a little over five minutes remaining, the Bulldogs were in position to put the game out of reach. They led 17-10 and had the ball at the Gators 2-yard line.

    Even a field goal would have made it difficult for Florida’s struggling offense to recover.

    However, the Gators defensive end Jack Youngblood forced a fumble that the team recovered. Even then, a 90-plus yard touchdown drive seemed to be too much to ask.

    Surprisingly, Florida quarterback John Reaves threw not one, but two touchdowns in the final 5:13 to give the Gators one of the greatest victories in the rivalry.

    Who saw this one coming?

9. Tennessee 30, LSU 27 (2005)

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    The Matchup: Tennessee (2-1) at No. 4 LSU (1-0), Sept. 26, 2005

     

    Why It’s Here

    Vols quarterback Rick Clausen was on a mission in this one.

    After receiving no playing time, Clausen transferred from LSU. He made sure his return to Baton Rouge was a good one.

    However, it didn’t seem like it would be early on.

    The Tigers jumped out to a 21-0 lead and held a 24-7 advantage entering the fourth quarter.

    With under 10 minutes remaining, hope seemed to be lost. But that’s when Clausen led Tennessee on three straight scoring drives to force overtime.

    After holding LSU to a field goal, the Vols made quick work in their overtime shot. Clausen handed off the ball to Gerald Riggs, who plunged forward for the game-winning touchdown.

    Clausen played well, throwing for 196 yards, a touchdown and an interception on 21-of-32 passing.

8. Arkansas 71, Kentucky 63 (2003)

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    The Matchup: Arkansas (4-3) at Kentucky (4-4), Nov. 1, 2003

     

    Why It’s Here

    It would have taken a lot from both these teams to get the average college football fan interested in this matchup.

    How do seven overtimes and 134 combined points sound?

    With 1:38 remaining, the Wildcats embarked on a nine-play, 79-yard touchdown drive to force the game into overtime. Back then, the score was just 24-24.

    Back and forth the teams went for seven overtimes. If one scored a touchdown, so did the other. If it was a field goal, the other had no problem matching.

    That is until, finally, Razorbacks quarterback Matt Jones connected with DeCori Birmingham for 25 yards in the end zone. Kentucky was unable to respond.

    The game lasted for an NCAA-record four hours and 56 minutes.

    Ironically, it was Arkansas third game that went at least six overtimes in a two-year span.

7. LSU 16, Tennessee 14 (2010)

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    The Matchup: Tennessee (2-2) at No. 12 LSU (5-0), Oct. 2, 2010

     

    Why It’s Here

    All game long, the Tigers didn’t do themselves any favors.

    Although they outgained the Vols 434-217, the team also committed four turnovers. In comparison, Tennessee didn’t turn the ball over once.

    On the final drive, at the goal line, LSU appeared to have committed a fifth.

    If the poor clock management wasn’t bad enough, the team also had the wrong personnel on the field. After much confusion, it all resulted in a snap that went through the legs of Tigers quarterback Jordan Jefferson as time expired.

    It was the perfect ending to a miserable day for LSU.

    However, the Vols must have been feeling generous as the team committed a penalty for having 13 men on the field, granting the Tigers a second chance.

    This time, LSU made the most of it as running back Stevan Ridley found the end zone with ease.

6. Auburn 17, Alabama 16 (1972)

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    The Matchup: Auburn (8-1) at No. 2 Alabama (10-0), Dec. 2, 1972

     

    Why It’s Here

    Nobody got the best of legendary Crimson Tide head coach Bear Bryant, right?

    Well, just about everybody.

    In 1972, only the Tigers stood in Alabama’s way of another national title. It certainly helped that the team held a 16-0 lead with just 10 minutes remaining.

    Victory looked to be more certain when Auburn could only muster a field goal with a little over six minutes remaining.

    Then the unexplainable happened.

    Twice, the Tide was forced to punt. Twice, the Tigers Bill Newton got his hands on the kick. Twice, Auburn’s David Langner scooped the ball up and took it into the end zone.

    Still to this day, the game is seen as the biggest comeback in Iron Bowl history. A game that is commonly referred to as “Punt, Bama, Punt.”

    It’s also probably one that Bear Bryant is still struggling to come to terms with from his grave.

5. Auburn 30, LSU 26 (1994)

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    The Matchup: LSU (1-1) at No. 11 Auburn (2-0), Sept. 17, 1994

     

    Why It’s Here

    Entering this game, Auburn was riding a 14-game win streak. The team had yet to lose under head coach Terry Bowden and was almost a lock to defeat LSU at home. 

    However, LSU surprisingly held a 23-9 lead going into the fourth quarter.

    Even more surprisingly, LSU quarterback Jamie Howard threw five interceptions in the quarter. No, that isn’t a typo.

    Auburn returned two of those for touchdowns, tying the game at 23.

    LSU would respond with a field goal. The defense followed that up by stopping the Auburn offense, which had struggled all games—165 yards of total offense.

    But instead of keeping the ball on the ground to run out the clock, Howard turned to the air.

    The result? Yup, you guessed it—a pick-six for Auburn.

    LSU had one more drive with a chance to win the game, but Howard fittingly threw another interception.

    Maybe taking a knee would have been a more productive offensive strategy for LSU in this one.

4. Alabama 12, Tennessee 10 (2009)

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    The Matchup: Tennessee (3-3) at No. 2 Alabama (7-0), Oct. 24, 2009

     

    Why It’s Here

    By the time Crimson Tide kicker Leigh Tiffin converted his fourth field goal of the game with 6:31 remaining, the Vols looked down and out.

    Trailing 12-3, the Tennessee offense looked non-existent. The team hadn’t done anything all game to make a comeback look plausible.

    Next thing you know, the Vols put together an impressive eight-play, 43-yard touchdown drive with a little over a minute remaining. Seconds later, the team recovered an onside kick.

    With Alabama fans still struggling to put together what was unraveling in front of their eyes, Tennessee was lining up a field goal at the Tide 28.

    However, for the second time in the fourth quarter, Alabama’s Terrence Cody blocked the kick.

    The play sealed the win and helped the Tide cruise to its first national title since 1992.

3. Tennessee 28, Arkansas 24 (1998)

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    The Matchup: No. 10 Arkansas (8-0) at No. 1 Tennessee (8-0), Nov. 14, 1998

     

    Why It’s Here

    A lot was on the line when these two teams met at Neyland Stadium back in 1998.

    The Razorbacks raced out to a 21-3 lead, much to the shock and dismay of Vols fans. Not only did it prove the notion that Arkansas’ fast start was a fluke, but it also put Tennessee’s national title hopes on the line.

    With under two minutes remaining, the Razorbacks still led 24-22 as the Vols marched up to midfield. Unfortunately, the team was stopped on fourth down.

    Tennessee fans began clamoring toward the exits. Vols players were seen weeping on the sidelines.

    Surprisingly, Arkansas’ improbable undefeated season would continue on.

    But, as Lee Corso says, “Not so fast, my friend!”

    On the Razorbacks first play, the team fumbled the ball on a botched drop back. Tennessee would recover and running back Travis Henry (197 YDs) would rush into the end zone with seconds remaining.

    Somehow, someway, the Vols found a way to win, continuing their march towards an eventual national title.

2. Auburn 43, Georgia 38 (2013)

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    The Matchup: No. 25 Georgia (6-3) at No. 7 Auburn (9-1), Nov. 16, 2013

     

    Why It’s Here

    Up 37-17 with 12:39 remaining, the Tigers seemed to be looking ahead to their Nov. 30 showdown with Alabama. Pretty sure several fans may have broken out into a “We want ‘Bama!” chant.

    However, quarterback Aaron Murray and the Bulldogs wouldn’t go away quietly.

    Georgia responded by scoring 21 unanswered points to take a 38-37 lead, the last seven of which came by way of a heroic, five-yard scamper by Murray on fourth down with 1:49 remaining.

    Shocked, Auburn’s offense didn’t seem to have a reply. With 30 seconds remaining, the Tigers were down to their final shot, at 4th-and-18 on their own 27.

    Quarterback Nick Marshall launched a ball for wide receiver Ricardo Louis that flew over his head and into the hands of a Bulldogs defender. Ball game over.

    But amazingly, another Georgia defender knocked the ball loose and up in the air where it finally came down into the open arms of Louis, who took it into the end zone to the jubilation of Jordan-Hare Stadium.

    The Bulldogs quickly marched the ball down to the 20-yard line, but Murray’s last-ditch effort came up short.

1. LSU 33, Kentucky 30 (2002)

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    The Matchup: No. 25 LSU (6-2) at Kentucky (6-3), Nov. 9, 2002

     

    Why It’s Here

    Saturday’s Georgia-Auburn game probably brought back some tough memories for Wildcats fans.

    Trailing 27-20 late in the fourth quarter, Kentucky rallied to tie the game with 2:14 remaining. The team’s defense then responded by forcing the Tigers to a three-and-out.

    With just 1:07 remaining, the Wildcats took over inside LSU territory. Next thing you know, the team is kicking a 29-yard field goal with 12 seconds remaining.

    Kentucky players had doused their head coach with Gatorade. Wildcats fans began getting ready to storm the field. The Tigers bench looked like they were at a funeral.

    But then, the amazing happened.

    LSU quarterback Marcus Randall hurled the ball from his own 26 as time expired. The ball bounced off two Kentucky defenders and somehow found its way into the hands of Devery Henderson, who took it the rest of the way for the 74-yard touchdown.

    Fans were in disbelief.

    Half couldn’t believe what they had seen. The other half were oblivious to what had just happened, storming the field to take down the goal posts.

    Heck, I’m sure you could still find one Wildcats fan who is 100 percent positive Kentucky won this game.

     

    All stats and rankings used in this article are courtesy of NCAA.com.

    For complete coverage and everything college football, you can reach Sebastian on Facebook, on Twitter and via e-mail at Sebastian.LenaBR@gmail.com.

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