After returning to his alma matter as head coach, Paul W. "Bear" Bryant's first Iron Bowl in 1958 may not have gone the way that he had hoped, but it still signaled a change in the rivalry with Auburn.
Auburn had won the previous meeting 40-0, and had outscored Alabama in the previous four 128-7. The Tigers arrived at Legion Field ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press poll, and No. 4 in the United Press coaches' poll.
Alabama was coming off a 14-0 victory against Memphis State that cliched the Crimson Tide would have a winning record for the first time since 1953.
Auburn opened the scoring with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Richard Wood to Jimmy Pettus, to cap a 53-yard drive.
The Tigers extended the lead on the final play of the third quarter, when Jimmy Reynolds crossed the goal-line on a 1-yard run, for a 14-0 lead.
But Alabama responded, and gave Auburn a major scare.
Marlin Dyess returned the subsequent kickoff to the Crimson Tide 49, and with Red Stickney led Alabama into Auburn territory. Although Auburn coach Shug Jordan re-inserted his first-team defense, which led the nation, quarterback Bobby Jackson hit Dyess for a 16-yard gain to the Tigers' 9, and then scored.
With Jackson connecting with Gary O'Steen on the two-point conversion, Alabama closed to within 14-8.
A Tony Lorino fumble recovered by Don Cochran at the Alabama 27 with 3:24 remaining gave Alabama a chance to steal a late victory. It reached midfield on two passes to Dyess, only he had to leave the game due to an injury.
Jackson found Mack Wise for seven more yards, but the last gasp failed when Lamar Dawson deflected a pass intended for Jerry Spruiell, giving Auburn the ball at the 33-yard-line with only 10 seconds remaining.
It was the Tigers' fifth straight win in the rivalry, but came at a price. Auburn finished at No. 4 in both final polls.
It also lost nine of the next 10 games against Alabama.