Best Iron Bowls Of All Time
Cam Newton threw for three touchdowns and ran for another, leading No. 2 Auburn back from a 24-point deficit for a stunning victory over No. 9 Alabama that kept the Tigers on course for a shot at the national championship. Auburn (12-0 overall , 8-0 in the Southeastern Conference) trailed 21-0 before it even picked up a first down, and Alabama (9-3, 5-3) had a 314-2 lead in total yards at one point in the first half. But Newton, with the signature performance in what has become a season of controversy, rallied the Tigers for a victory that left the crowd of more than 101,000 in stunned disbelief.
1971 presents the most analogous situation to the 2010 matchup. Both teams entered the game undefeated (the only time in history the two played the Iron Bowl with perfect records), and were playing for a chance to face Nebraska in the national title game. The most-hyped Iron Bowl to date turned out to be a dud however, as the Crimson Tide defeated the Tigers soundly.
Trailing Auburn 17-14, Alabama mounted a comeback with two fourth-quarter touchdowns to defeat the Tigers 28-17. Perhaps they were inspired by their coach, Paul "Bear" Bryant, who made history that day with his then-NCAA record 315th career victory.
The game that forever endeared Bo Jackson to the Auburn faithful ended Alabama's nine-year winning streak (the longest in the rivalry's history) over the Tigers. With the ball on the one-yard line, the Tigers turned to Jackson who leaped over the pile to put Auburn on top 23-22. It was also Bear Bryant's last Iron Bowl.
With time dwindling, Alabama got the ball on their own 12-yard line trailing 23-22. They marched down the field, but faced a 52-yard field goal for the win. Some Crimson Tide teammates didn't think kicker Van Tiffin had the leg for it, but without any other options they went for it. As time expired, Tiffin proved the critics wrong, splitting the uprights for the victory.
For the first time in Iron Bowl history, the 1989 matchup was held in Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The atmosphere was electric, and Auburn fed off said energy to defeat the No. 2 Crimson Tide 30-20. Afterward, fans would storm downtown Auburn, plastering it in toilet paper.
If an epic Iron Bowl is played and no one is around to see it, did it really happen? Such was the question many asked in 1993, when the Iron Bowl was not televised as a result of Auburn's probation. Shown only on closed-circuit TV in Tuscaloosa at Bryant-Denny Stadium, it might be the first time two stadiums have ever sold out for one game.
In 1997, Auburn had their own version of "The Kick," though the field goal was shorter and there was more time left on the clock. Nevertheless, Tiger fans vividly remember when Jaret Holmes knocked the ball through the uprights to propel Auburn to their first SEC Championship Game with an 18-17 victory.
With a combined 12 losses between the two teams, the 2003 Iron Bowl held little appeal for the casual fan. But for those who did watch, they witnessed a masterful performance by Carnell "Cadillac" Williams, who opened the game with an 80-yard touchdown run. Cadillac would finish with 204 rushing yards, and Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville lived to coach another day.
2005 was the last time both teams entered the Iron Bowl ranked (Alabama was No. 8 and Auburn No. 11). But, like the 1971 Iron Bowl, this one too proved disappointing. Auburn dominated from the beginning, sacking Crimson Tide quarterback Brodie Coyle 11 times, and by halftime they led 28-7.
Despite a subpar performance from their best runner and eventual Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram (held to 30 yards on 16 carries), undefeated Alabama was able to defeat Auburn on a late touchdown pass from Greg McElroy to Roy Upchurch (left). Alabama would go on to win the BCS Championship.