Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports
Auburn's season of destiny always seemed to be just a play or two away from getting ruined at nearly every turn, starting with a close victory over Washington State and continuing throughout the year.
One of the most telling of these moments came at the end of a Nov. 16 game at home against Georgia. Auburn led 37-17 early in the fourth quarter, only to have Georgia storm back to score three touchdowns and take a 38-37 lead with 1:49 remaining.
The Tigers began to push for a game-winning score, but the drive stalled quickly, and suddenly they faced a 4th-and-18 from their own 27-yard line with 25 seconds left.
With no other choice, Auburn's receivers went deep, and quarterback Nick Marshall was forced to throw into double coverage and hope something miraculous would happen. It did, in a play that was first coined by a Huntsville, Ala., TV station as "The Prayer at Jordan-Hare."
Marshall's pass toward receiver Ricardo Louis was a little short, but instead of two Georgia defenders knocking the ball down, it was batted into the air and behind them, where Louis was still running. The ball more or less landed in his hands as he kept moving, and before anyone could blink, he'd scored on a game-winning 73-yard TD.