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
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
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.”