There goes Cam Newton running down the field with a big grin on his face. Somewhere around the 45-yard line Trooper Taylor and Nick Fairley are chest-bumping. There's a big section of people in orange and blue past the corner of the end zone screaming "Rammer Jammer, Yellowhammer, Go to (expletive), Alabama!" That's what perfection looks like after some of the most imperfect football Auburn has played this season.
With 8:01 left in the second quarter, Alabama nailed a short field goal to make it 24-0. If not for an Ingram fumble, it would have been 31-0. 'Bama had won 20 straight games at home, including a 36-0 win over Auburn in 2008. People had seen this story before.
But this time, the story has a happy ending. Auburn completed arguably the greatest comeback in school (and probably SEC) history, outscoring Alabama 28-3 after that 8:01 mark in the second quarter.
Auburn is now a glorious 12-0. Just let it set in, folks. The dang Auburn Tigers are 12-0, their first undefeated regular season since 2004.
It seems surreal, if not unreal. It's difficult to actually fathom that Auburn is 12-0 and two wins away from being the surprising BCS national champions.
But the BCS will have to wait, and so will South Carolina. Auburn completed the same type of comeback as Alabama did last season, when the Tide rallied from a 14-0 deficit to win 26-21. Tonight is a night to celebrate for Auburn.
The reign of terror by the Crimon Tide, as Charles Barkley called them, has ended. Auburn is 12-0.
Here I happily hand out grades for offense, defense, special teams, coaching, officiating, and overall performance.
324 yards and only 108 on the ground. For one half, Auburn's offense looked even worse than the last time it visited Tuscaloosa in 2008. They had just 77 yards of offense, minus-10 on the ground. A team that averages 308 yards rushing had minus-10 in the first half. Auburn had one touchdown to its name, but it was still an awful half offensively.
Then the second half came. Auburn rolled up 247 yards of offense, scoring 21 points to come from behind and stun the Bryant-Denny crowd. 'Bama's defense is much better at home and contained Cam Newton on the ground, but his arm was a huge reason the Tigers won. This is proof that Auburn isn't always going to win 50-48, as they can have an average day offensively and still win.
They gave up 21 points in the first quarter and Alabama had almost 400 yards by halftime. But then, something changed in the second half. In the most important half of their season, the Tigers' D held 'Bama to five first downs, 67 yards of offense and just three points. That field goal was even set up by a fumble on a punt return by Auburn's Carr. The defense started off looking just plain awful, but they showed their mettle and got it done when it counted. They ARE 12-0, after all.
Special Teams: C+
Nothing spectacular. Auburn had two glaring lowlights, however. They fumbled on a punt return and had a shank on a punt down 24-7. Other than that, nothing stands out.
Once again, SEC refs. While Auburn had just two penalties, there were a lot of bad calls against both sides and very strange penalties. They even threw a pass interference flag (that was picked up) on a play whistled dead from the start. Still, there have been about six or seven instances where the Tigers have played under even worse officiating.
Down 24-7 at halftime, this team could have easily pulled a Tuberville and quit like last time. But Chizik (probably) dogged them at halftime and inspired the team. No team goes into Bryant-Denny, falls behind 24-0 and wins. Except Auburn. Gene Chizik has to win Coach of the Year after this. That was the best comeback I've ever seen, and Chizik is the mastermind behind it all. Also, after another bad half for Roof's bunch, he made adjustments and Auburn's defense looked like... well, an Auburn defense.
All they do is win, win, win no matter what. NO MATTER WHAT. 24-0 deficit against the defending champs? It stood like Clemson and South Carolina's big leads did. That was almost flawless football by Auburn in the second half. They stood strong in the face of adversity and now can turn their focus to South Carolina... but that'll be tomorrow.
Auburn played up to their fight song. They were fearless and true. 8:01 left in the second quarter, 24-0 Alabama. 38:01 later, the scoreboards at Bryant-Denny Stadium read, "Auburn 28, Alabama 27". War Eagle!
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