No. 4 Auburn beats No. 1 Alabama on rare play

It’s one of the rarest plays in football.

No. 4 Auburn’s Chris Davis turned No. 1 Alabama’s too-short

attempt at a 57-yard game-winning field goal into a touchdown

return from the back of the end zone on the final play Saturday.

The 100-yard play that gave the Tigers a 34-28 victory had only

happened three times before, according to NCAA records.

”That was my first time being in a situation like that,” Davis

said. ”It didn’t feel too strange … when you’re back on the punt

return, you’re by yourself like that.”

The play is so rare, Davis said the Tigers (11-1, 7-1

Southeastern Conference) had never even practiced it and the NCAA

only has record of three other 100-plus yard field goal


LSU’s Odell Beckham Jr. had a 100-yard return against UAB early

this season.

Before that, Clemson’s Richie Luzzi did it in 1968 against

Georgia and California’s Don Guest managed it against Washington

State in 1966.

Davis started out right then raced to the left sideline, with

two Tide players seeming to just get a hand on him and Ryan Smith

and Kris Frost among those making key blocks.

Then it was Davis and an escort of teammates the final 60


The NCAA classifies such a play as miscellaneous yards. It

displayed the risk of such a long kick, when the personnel is more

suited for blocking than tackling or catching speedy return men.

Alabama coaches had warned their players about a return and

prepared them for it.

”It just looked like we did not have anybody down on the right

side,” said Alabama coach Nick Saban, a 40-year coaching veteran.

”The right wing and the right tight end, everybody is supposed to

fan the field. We covered to the left; that is why he went to the

right. I could not see it that well down their sidelines.

”First time I have ever lost a game that way, first time I have

ever seen a game lost that way. We had the wind behind us, but he

still should have covered it. The game should not have ended that


Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said he thought about going for the

block but decided to put Davis in the end zone – just in case.

It turned out to be a heck of a decision.

”They had their field goal team out there and it had some big

guys on it,” Malzahn said.” I thought he made a couple of guys

who could tackle miss and (teammates) made some good blocks.”

It was a stunning finish, but CBS announcer Gary Danielson

cautioned about the possibility before the kick was in the air.

”Remember a blocked kick can go the other way, too, so you’ve

got to be careful and get it up,” Danielson said.

Davis’s Auburn teammates were stunned as the play developed.

”I was on the 50-yard-line and watched Chris Davis zoom right

past me,” Tigers tailback Tre Mason said. ”I was in shock and

disbelief. I thought somebody was going to shove him out of bounds,

but he took it for six.”

Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley added dismayed to those


”I just can’t believe it happened,” Mosley said. ”Nobody ever

expected that.”

The 1972 Iron Bowl is known as ”Punt Bama Punt” after the

Tigers returned two blocked punts for touchdowns in the fourth

quarter for a 17-16 win.

Maybe the 2013 game will be called, ”Kick Bama Kick.”