Alabama vs. Auburn: Face It, Tigers Are Just a Team of Destiny in 2013

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterNovember 30, 2013

USA Today


It's a term that gets bandied around in sports a little too casually. When it comes to the 2013 edition of the Auburn Tigers, it isn't.

This is a team of destiny.

In an Iron Bowl with everything on the line—state bragging rights, the SEC West title, the status of Alabama's college football dynasty and BCS National Championship hopes—destiny won out.

Auburn CB Chris Davis
Auburn CB Chris DavisJohn David Mercer-USA TODAY Spor

Auburn won out.

With the score tied at 28, Crimson Tide running back T.J. Yeldon appeared to run out of bounds at the Auburn 38-yard line as time expired to send the Iron Bowl to overtime. The play was reviewed, and video evidence showed that Yeldon's foot touched out of bounds one second before the clock read triple zeros.

Good for Alabama, right?

After all, kicker Adam Griffith has the leg and the wind at his back to make a 57-yarder for the win.


Cornerback Chris Davis fielded the kick nine yards deep in the end zone, took off down the left sideline 109 yards for the game-winning touchdown with no time on the clock to give Auburn the miraculous 34-28 win.

"We made the decision to put Chris back there," head coach Gus Malzahn said. "We got some very good blocks, and he made an unbelievable play at the end to win it."

It was only the fourth time in FBS history a field goal was returned 100 or more yards for a touchdown.

Nov 30, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers cornerback Chris Davis (bottom) celebrates with defensive back Jonathon Mincy (6) and teammates after returning a missed field goal for a 100 yard touchdown during the fourth quarter at Jordan Hare Stadium. Aub
Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

It was also a play that Auburn had rarely practiced.

"You talk through situations," Malzahn said. "In fall camp, you go through every situation imaginable. That was really somethin'."

Somethin' indeed.

In the first game back in Jordan-Hare Stadium after wide receiver Ricardo Louis took a tipped pass in from 73 yards out for the game-winning touchdown with 25 seconds to play in Auburn's 43-38 win over Georgia two weeks ago, Auburn did the unthinkable.

It one-upped itself.

With the way Auburn plays and, more importantly, how it finishes, it's clear that this is a team of destiny.

"You know, with the way we've won the last few weeks is really unbelievable," Malzahn said. "Our guys believe, they weathered the storm. They backed us up, they missed a field goal, we held them on fourth down. The offense steps up, the defense steps up and special teams. It's just been an amazing year so far, and it's not over with."

No it isn't.

Nov 30, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers cornerback Chris Davis (11) returns a missed field goal for a 100 yard touchdown against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the fourth quarter at Jordan Hare Stadium. Auburn won 34-28. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-
John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Destiny, and the Tigers—who finished 3-9 and 0-8 in the SEC a year ago—will move on to the SEC Championship Game next Saturday in Atlanta. But before they get there, Malzahn had time to look back at the ramifications of this year's Iron Bowl win—with a little help from his wife Kristi.

"It ranks up there, there's no doubt," Gus said. "I'll probably be able to answer that a little bit better tomorrow. A huge win, against our rival..."

Nov 30, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA;  Auburn Tigers fans storm the field in celebration following their victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide 34-28 after a 100 yard return of a missed field goal by  cornerback Chris Davis (11) with no time left in the game at J
RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

"Just say yes," Kristi interrupted, as she provided some perspective to the postgame press conference.

"OK, I'm going to say 'probably so,'" Gus said.


Until next week, when destiny and the Tigers face Missouri in the Georgia Dome. Auburn could sew up a spot in the BCS National Championship Game with another victory and a little help from either Duke or Michigan State, which will play Florida State and Ohio State in the ACC and Big Ten Championship Games, respectively.

Judging from the way things are going, would you bet against Auburn getting that help?

I wouldn't. 

After all, Auburn has destiny working on its side.



*Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.