Monday, November 18, 2013

Miracle at Jordan-Hare

If you clicked on my FB post to get here, you must be an Auburn fan.  I just spent an hour going on a google search for Auburn Georgia football game, copying and pasting quotes into Notepad. Those quotes and comments needs to be preserved all in one place.

By the way, I was there.  Yes.  A beautiful day, nice breeze, some sun, a 3:00 game instead of those annoying night games.  Lovely tailgate with Ted, Malissa, Mike and Didi Cody.  Mike grilled ribs and chicken, Malissa brought fried chicken.  Lots of wine, lots of fun.

Then the game.....first three quarters exciting and comfortable with Auburn maintaining lead and looking like the 2013 Tigers have all year...all the spark intact.  We were invited to a private box for fourth quarter.  We climbed down from the tippy top of the stadium, where our season seats are, and began to walk around the stadium to the other side, trying to watch the action and not slam into other fans walking toward us.

We made it up to the box, got some wine, sat down in the plush chairs and looked onto the field.  I honestly thought the team had changed uniforms with Georgia while we were making our way across the stadium.  I was absolutely appalled.  All the fun we have had this year watching our "It Factor" team was extinguishing.  It was awful.

I am a fan that tends to close my eyes when the quarterback lets go of the ball and only open them when I hear the fans screaming.  I had finally stopped doing that during the Cam year, and had actually stopped doing it this year, but I did close my eyes now.  On the miracle Hail Mary throw, I opened my eyes just in time to see Ricardo Lewis shoot across the goal line.  Fortunately the entire play is preserved on film for history and can be seen all over the internet.  Literally all over.  Plus, we recorded the show back at home.  I have watched it, watched it, watched it.....(from one camera angle it literally looks like Lewis was running and the ball simply flew over his head and landed right into his hands.

Anyway, here are others telling the story much better than I ever could.  Enjoy.

The Marshall Miracle. The Prayer at Jordan-Hare. The Hail Aubie. The Saint Louis Arch.

Whatever you want to call it, the visual will be unmistakable: Marshall making his five-step drop, looking downfield, stepping into a deep throw, two defenders trying to knock down the pass but ultimately running into each other, the ball bouncing high off safety Tray Matthews at the 20-yard line, popping right to Louis at the 15 who trotted into the end zone as Georgia players and coaches fell to the ground in disbelief.

Ten seconds of pure, breathless chaos.

"When he caught it, I fell on my back," Auburn defensive end Dee Ford said. "I fainted for a second."

"I didn't know what to think," receiver Sammie Coates said. "I saw the ball in the air, and I said, 'I hope somebody comes down with it.' "

It takes a thousand little things falling exactly into place for No. 9 Auburn to pull off this kind of season, but it will forever be remembered by the moment Saturday night when terrified silence at Jordan-Hare Stadium turned into sudden shaking as Nick Marshall's pass got tipped high in the air and into the arms of Louis for a 73-yard touchdown with 25 seconds left to beat Georgia 43-38.

"I looked around (the stands) before the play and it looked like everybody was sad, heads down," receiver Ricardo Louis said. "And it kind of hurt me, because we wanted to keep what we've been having going on."

" I couldn't believe it," Louis said. " It just landed right into my hands. I saw it once it got over my shoulder. It got tipped, I lost track of it ... but when I looked over my shoulders, it was right there."

The Tigers (10-1, 6-1 Southeastern Conference) had blown a 27-7 lead but pulled out one more huge play to continue the biggest turnaround in major college football.

They find a way to win," said Gus Malzahn, Auburn's first-year coach. " This team has the `it' factor. That's just the bottom line."
He had simple plans for celebration.
" This is definitely a Waffle House night," Malzahn said.

Whatever they had hidden last year, Malzahn has extracted it. He told his players they were going to pull off the biggest turnaround in college football, and no matter what happens in two weeks against Alabama, they have achieved it.

On Nov. 30, the winner of the 78th Iron Bowl will earn a spot in the Southeastern Conference championship game and stay in contention for the BCS title. The loser will basically be irrelevant the rest of the way.  But in terms of the risk and pressure typically attached to such a major rivalry, the burden is not shared equally this time.

For Auburn, a team that has floated to 10-1 on the wings of momentum and belief, this is everything the Tigers could want. For No. 1 Alabama, calmly trying to win its third straight national title, this is everything the Tide should fear.

Alabama thrives on routine and certainty. And yet, what good does that do against a team with absolutely nothing to lose that not only believes in miracles, but seems to make them happen on a weekly basis?

This is a free roll for the Tigers. They're not supposed to beat Alabama, and if they don't, it won't take an ounce of pride away from what they've accomplished this season.

bleacher report: In August when we looked at the 2013 SEC schedule, the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry was a game that was circled on the calendar as one in which a national title contender could make a big time statement. We just had the national title contender all wrong.

Play during the Florida at South Carolina game on Saturday was temporarily halted to show the results of the miraculous Georgia At Auburn game. Approximately 85,000 people watched on the big screen and Gamecocks fans "went crazy" as Auburn cleared the Dawgs leaving the SEC-East open.

And after the madness of Auburn's touchdown, Georgia still had another shot and improbably got to the Auburn 25 with eight seconds left, enough for two plays. But Murray's final two passes were incomplete, including when he was absolutely drilled on the final play and laid on the turf as Auburn streamed onto the field victoriously -- an appropriate metaphor for the seasons of either team.

Brandon Larabee:  The end seemed like a formality when Nick Marshall took the snap on 4th-and-18, the ball on his own 27-yard line. Then, he uncorked the pass and -- I like to think I'm a good writer, but there's no way to describe what happened next: (insert the youtube video here)

One of the most remarkable, improbable and unbelievable plays in college football history. Auburn is the author of a touchdown for all time, a replay that will live for as long as the SEC plays important football games and 87,000-plus fans show up to watch them.

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