Auburn rallies from a 24–0 deficit to beat Alabama in the Iron Bowl.
By: Nathan Rush | 11/28/10, 11:04 PM EST
The Auburn Tigers are 12–0, ranked No. 1 in the BCS standings and are headed to the SEC title game after pulling off the biggest comeback in school history.
Auburn rallied from a 24–0 deficit to take down reigning national champion Alabama on the road in front of 101,821 fans at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, winning 28–27 in one of the greatest games in an Iron Bowl series that dates back to 1893.
"That was a game that will certainly go down in history. It's hard to come back when you're down 24–0," said Auburn coach Gene Chizik, during his postgame press conference following the come-from-behind win.
"It was a great win for Auburn football and it was a great win for Auburn University. I couldn't be more proud of that locker room in there. It is full of a lot of love, I'll tell you that. They deserve this win tonight because they fought for it. And again, I just feel proud to be a part of it."
As has been the case all season, Heisman Trophy frontrunner Cam Newton carried the Tigers, completing 13-of-20 passes for 216 yards, three TDs and zero INTs, while rushing for 39 yards and another TD.
After going into the locker room at halftime down 24–7, Auburn outscored Alabama 21–3 in the second half. More important, the Tigers were able to stop the rolling Crimson Tide momentum and quiet the rowdy crowd — especially following two successful fourth-down conversions.
"We came here to win the game. We did not come here to tie," said Chizik. "I have as much faith in our guys on a fourth-and-four or fourth-and-two or fourth-and-inches as anybody on the planet. When you feel that way, you're going to come on the road in a tough place to win and you're going to come here to win the game. That's what we did."
Now, the Tigers will go to the SEC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta to face SEC East champ South Carolina and Newton will head to the Heisman Trophy ceremony in New York, where he will undoubtedly answer about $180,000 worth of questions regarding the rumors that have continued to swirl around the man with the big smile who seems unfazed while leading an undefeated team from the eye of a tremendous media storm.
The biggest little upset in the country went down on Friday night when Nevada took down Boise State, 34–31 in overtime, in Reno.
The Wolf Pack fought back from a 17-point deficit and pulled off the unlikely come-from-behind victory, thanks in large part to Broncos kicker Kyle Broztman, who missed field goals of 26 yards (with two seconds left in regulation) and 29 yards (in overtime).
As a result, Boise State's BCS-busting days are over, the Rose Bowl paycheck is out the window and Kellen Moore's Heisman chances have all but hit zero. And, fair or not, many will question what coach Chris Petersen's record would be if he had to guide the Broncos through an SEC or Big Ten schedule — a subject Ohio State president Gordon Gee brought into the spotlight just last week.
The Randy Shannon era is over in Coral Gables following a 23–20 overtime loss at home to in-state "rival" South Florida.
Shannon posted a disappointing 28–22 record (16–16 ACC) over four seasons as the head coach. But, all things considered, the 44-year-old is one of the more distinguished figures in Hurricanes football history — as a Miami native who played linebacker for Jimmy Johnson's 1987 national title team and served as defensive coordinator for Larry Coker's 2001 national title team before taking over the top spot on the sideline.
A nationwide coaching search is underway, with Super Bowl-winning ESPN analyst Jon Gruden leading a candidate list that almost certainly includes usual suspects like Oklahoma's Bob Stoops and Rutgers' Greg Schiano, as well as outside-the-box candidates like Houston's Kevin Sumlin and Georgia's Mark Richt, or coordinators such as Auburn's Gus Malzhan and Texas' Will Muschamp.
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