Alabama vs. Auburn: Top 10 Moments in Iron Bowl History

Sanjay Kirpalani@@SanjayKirpalaniNational Recruiting AnalystNovember 26, 2013

Alabama vs. Auburn: Top 10 Moments in Iron Bowl History

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    In only the second-ever meeting of Top 5 teams in Iron Bowl history, Nick Saban will attempt to lead Alabama to its third straight win at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday.
    In only the second-ever meeting of Top 5 teams in Iron Bowl history, Nick Saban will attempt to lead Alabama to its third straight win at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The 78th meeting between Alabama and Auburn this weekend will see the rivalry return to the national spotlight.

    This will be only the second time that both schools will carry a top-five ranking into the game (1971 was the other), and the winner will clinch the SEC’s Western Division title and remain in the national championship hunt.

    As the Tide and the Tigers prepare to battle in Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday, let’s take a look back at the most memorable moments in Iron Bowl history.

    *List is in chronological order

1964 – “First Televised Iron Bowl”

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    John David Mercer-USA TODAY Spor

    When: Nov. 26, 1964

    Where: Legion Field, Birmingham

    Result: Alabama 21, Auburn 14

    The Skinny

    Alabama’s 21-14 win over Auburn in 1964 capped a 10-0 regular season and propelled the Tide to their second national title under legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. 

    This meeting between the Tide and the Tigers was also significant because it was the first Iron Bowl to be played in front of a national TV audience.

    Joe Namath rallied the Tide from a 7-6 halftime deficit and threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Ray Perkins in the fourth quarter to give the Tide a 21-7 lead that they wouldn't relinquish.

    The win started a string of five consecutive wins for the Tide in the series.

1967 – “The Run in the Mud”

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    When: Dec. 2, 1967

    Where: Legion Field, Birmingham

    Result: Alabama 7, Auburn 3

    The Skinny

    71,200 fans packed Legion Field despite a rain-soaked evening that left the playing field muddied. 

    Ken Stabler’s 47-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter served as the only touchdown in the game.

    Alabama finished the regular season 8-1-1 and earned a Cotton Bowl bid. During the Cotton Bowl, they fell to Texas A&M 20-16.

    This edition was also the first Iron Bowl to be played at night.

1972 – “Punt Bama Punt”

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    When: Dec. 2, 1972

    Where: Legion Field, Birmingham

    Result: Auburn 17, Alabama 16

    The Skinny 

    Alabama was 10-0 heading into the 37th Iron Bowl, and they had won all but one of their games by at least 14 points.

    After jumping out to a commanding 16-0 lead over Auburn, the Tide looked to continue their trend of dominant play; however, Auburn’s Bill Newton blocked Greg Gantt’s punt and David Langner scooped the ball and ran it back for a score.

    After forcing another punt minutes later, Roger Mitchell and Langner repeated the same trick and helped the Tigers emerge with a miraculous 17-16 win.

    Langner punctuated his heroics by intercepting a pass on the Tide’s final drive to end their comeback attempt.

1981 – “315”

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    When: Nov. 28, 1981

    Where: Legion Field, Birmingham

    Result: Alabama 28, Auburn 17

    The Skinny

    Bear Bryant compiled a 19-6 record during his 25-year stint as the Tide’s head coach.

    His final win over the Tigers came in 1981, and it was a significant milestone for one of college football’s most legendary coaches.

    With Alabama’s 28-17 win over Auburn, Bryant earned his 315th victory, which helped him pass Amos Alonzo Stagg as the coach with the most wins in college football history.

    While that record has since been surpassed, the win helped cement Bryant’s legacy as one of the sport’s foremost icons.

1982 – “Bo over the Top”

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    When: Nov. 27, 1982

    Where: Legion Field, Birmingham

    Result: Auburn 23, Alabama 22

    The Skinny

    The 1982 Iron Bowl signified the last game for Bryant in this storied series, but it also introduced the legend of Auburn running back Bo Jackson.

    Jackson, who went on to capture the 1985 Heisman Trophy, was only a freshman when one fourth-down plunge from the 1-yard line etched his name into the fabric of this rivalry.

    The win helped Auburn snap Alabama’s nine-game winning streak in the series and started a string of five consecutive games in the series that were decided by four points or less.

    As former Auburn athletic director David Housel noted in ESPN's "You Don't Know Bo" documentary, Jackson's game-winning score "was probably the single biggest play in Auburn football history."

1985 – “The Kick”

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    When: Nov. 30, 1985

    Where: Legion Field, Birmingham

    Result: Alabama 25, Auburn 23

    The Skinny 

    The 1985 meeting between the Tide and the Tigers featured one of the most frenetic fourth quarters in the history of the series.

    After four lead changes and a furious drive led by Tide quarterback Mike Shula with less than a minute to play, the game came down to a 52-yard field-goal attempt as the Tigers nursed a 23-22 lead. 

    Van Tiffin, whose son Leigh went on to become a kicker for the Tide from 2006-09, nailed the kick as time expired to help the Tide earn a dramatic victory.

    According to the archives from, Perkins, who played at Alabama in the 1960s before succeeding Bryant as head coach, called it, “one of the greatest games I’ve ever been associated with.”

1989 – “First Iron Bowl on the Plains”

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    When: Dec. 2, 1989

    Where: Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn

    Result: Auburn 30, Alabama 20

    The Skinny

    The 54th meeting between these in-state rivals featured the first time the game was played in Jordan-Hare Stadium.

    A majority of the previous meetings were played in Birmingham at Legion Field. Four meetings from 1803-1903 were played in Montgomery and two games in that span took place in Tuscaloosa.

    The Tigers, with a raucous home-crowd behind them, erased a 10-7 halftime deficit to emerge with a 30-20 victory. 

    Reggie Slack passed for 274 yards and James Joseph scored on two short touchdown runs to fuel the Tigers to their fourth consecutive win in the series.

1994 – “Tigers' Unbeaten Streak Ends”

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    When: Nov. 19, 1994

    Where: Legion Field, Birmingham

    Result: Alabama 21, Auburn 14

    The Skinny

    Auburn’s 22-14 win over Alabama in 1993 began another stretch that saw five consecutive games in this series decided by fewer than eight points. 

    After going unbeaten in 1993, the No. 6 Tigers brought a 21-game unbeaten streak into Legion Field to face an Alabama squad that was 10-0 and ranked No. 3.

    Bolstered by the outstanding play of running back Sherman Williams, who carried 27 times for 164 yards and a touchdown, the Tide jumped out to a commanding 21-0 halftime lead and prevented a late Auburn rally to secure the win.

    The win gave the Tide its sixth win of the 1994 season by one possession or less, and it gave them their fourth consecutive win over the Tigers at Legion Field.

2009 – “The Drive”

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    When: Nov. 27, 2009

    Where: Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn

    Result: Alabama 26, Auburn 21

    The Skinny

    After a stretch from 2002-07 that saw Auburn win six consecutive meetings in the rivalry, the arrival of Nick Saban at Alabama helped the Tide end the Tigers' string of dominance, starting with a 36-0 win in 2008. 

    One year later, however, Saban’s unbeaten Tide team made a trip to the Plains with a potential national title berth hanging in the balance.

    Down 21-20 midway through the fourth quarter, Tide quarterback Greg McElroy engineered a 15-play, 79-yard scoring drive that culminated with a four-yard touchdown pass to running back Roy Upchurch to lift the Tide to a 26-21 victory.

    Alabama went on to throttle Florida in the SEC title game, and then defeat Texas in the BCS title game to jump-start the beginning of Saban’s dynasty.

2010 – “Cam Leads Epic Comeback”

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    When: Nov. 26, 2010

    Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa

    Result: Auburn 28, Alabama 27

    The Skinny

    As the ESPN 30 for 30 film Roll Tide/War Eagle documented, the 2010 Iron Bowl was a game that brought out the best and worst parts of college football’s fiercest rivalry.

    On the field, the game played out in dramatic fashion.

    The Tide were essentially out of contention to defend their national title, but they quickly raced to a 24-0 lead, stifling Tigers star quarterback Cam Newton and taking a 17-point lead into halftime.

    The Tigers, however, roared back and eventually took the lead early in the fourth quarter on a pass from Newton to tight end Phillip Lutzenkirchen. 

    Late in the fourth quarter, then-freshman AJ McCarron was called in to action after McElroy was knocked out of the game, but the shell-shocked Tide were unable to recover.

    Newton went on to capture the Heisman Trophy and lead Auburn to the school’s second national title. 


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