Posted December 01, 2013

Auburn stuns Alabama to reach SEC title game; more midday Week 14 Snap Judgments

Alabama Crimson Tide, Auburn Tigers, Snap Judgments
Chris Davis

Chris Davis returned a missed field goal more than 100 yards for a TD as time expired. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Snap Judgments from the Week 14 midday slate. For more, check out SI’s coverage of Alabama-Auburn, Ohio State-Michigan and Florida State-Florida and early and late Snaps.

No. 4 Auburn 34, No. 1 Alabama 28: One miracle in Jordan-Hare Stadium apparently wasn’t enough for the Tigers’ 2013 season. Only two weeks after wideout Ricardo Louis’ incredible touchdown catch helped Auburn beat Georgia 43-38, coach Gus Malzahn’s team pulled off another improbable victory in perhaps the most memorable Iron Bowl in series history.

Standing deep in his own end zone, Tigers cornerback Chris Davis fielded a missed 57-yard field goal attempt by Crimson Tide kicker Adam Griffith and scampered the length of the field for the game-winning touchdown as time expired. Auburn’s victory sends the 11-1 Tigers to the SEC Championship Game next weekend only one season after they went 0-8 in conference play. Meanwhile, Alabama’s shot at a perfect season and a third straight BCS title is over, all thanks to its biggest rival.

The Tigers’ defense had tested the Crimson Tide for much of the afternoon, but Alabama looked as if it had finally put a bow on an Iron Bowl triumph when quarterback AJ McCarron found wide receiver Amari Cooper for a 99-yard touchdown pass with 10:42 to play. Cooper’s score gave the Tide a 28-21 lead. But with 44 seconds left, Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall — who completed 11-of-16 passes for 97 yards and two touchdowns — hit Sammie Coates for a 39-yard touchdown pass to knot the game at 28.

From there, Alabama needed only a field goal to win, and Nick Saban’s crew methodically crept into range. But tailback T.J. Yeldon ran out of bounds at the Tigers’ 38-yard line as the clock hit zero, seemingly sending the game to overtime. Officials reviewed the play, however, and put one second back on the clock. That allowed Griffith — a redshirt freshman from Calhoun, Ga., who was inserted for the final kick in place of struggling kicker Cade Foster (0-3 on the night) — to attempt a 57-yard game-winner.

Griffith’s kick had the accuracy, but not the distance. Davis caught the ball and ran more than 100 yards down the left sideline to give Auburn the upset.

Auburn wouldn’t have been in position to win the game without the efforts of Marshall, tailback Tre Mason and the team’s rushing attack. The Tigers’ ground game has been its bread and butter all season, and they ran for 296 yards (5.7 per carry) against ‘Bama’s vaunted defense. No team has put up more than 200 yards on the ground against the Crimson Tide since Georgia Southern in 2011. Marshall ran for 99 yards and one touchdown, while Mason rolled for 164 yards and one score on 29 carries.

Alabama will drop from the top spot in the BCS standings, and Saban’s quest for his fourth BCS title in five seasons is over. In 2013, there’s a new team to beat in the SEC West. [RECAP | BOX]

Georgia 41, Georgia Tech 34 (2OT): Todd Gurley rushed for a 25-yard touchdown in the second overtime and the Bulldogs’ defense stuffed the Yellow Jackets on the ensuing possession to give Georgia a victory over its in-state rival. But the Bulldogs, who started redshirt junior Hutson Mason at quarterback, had to rally to make it happen. Georgia Tech jumped out to a 20-0 lead, but Georgia came back thanks largely to Gurley, who ran for three touchdowns and 122 yards. [RECAP | BOX]

• Penn State 31, No. 14 Wisconsin 24: Christian Hackenberg didn’t look like a true freshman against one of the Big Ten’s better teams. Hackenberg threw for 339 yards and four touchdowns as the Nittany Lions took advantage of three interceptions from the Badgers’ Joel Stave. Wisconsin’s third loss of the season likely drops it out of consideration for a BCS at-large bid. [RECAP | BOX]

 No. 9 Baylor 41, TCU 38: Baylor’s hope for a share of the Big 12 title is still alive. The Bears held off an upset bid from a feisty TCU squad to win their 10th game of the season. Bryce Petty helped Baylor bounce back from its first loss of the season against Oklahoma State by accounting for three touchdowns. The Horned Frogs had a shot to tie the game in the waning moments, but TCU quarterback Casey Pachall threw his third interception of the night with 11 seconds to play. [RECAP | BOX]

• Syracuse 34, Boston College 31: The Orange reached bowl-eligibility on Saturday thanks to an eight-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Terrel Hunt to tight end Josh Parris with six seconds to play. The Eagles played much of the game without the nation’s leading rusher, Andre Williams, who was injured in the third quarter and did not return. Williams had only 29 yards on nine carries at the time of his injury. Meanwhile, Hunt was responsible for 360 total yards (270 passing, 90 rushing) and three touchdowns (2 passing, 1 rushing) as Syracuse snapped Boston College’s four-game winning streak.  [RECAP | BOX]

• Virginia Tech 16, Virginia 6: Logan Thomas threw for 229 yards and a touchdown and Virginia Tech beat rival Virginia for the 10th consecutive time. The Hokies, who are no longer able to reach the ACC title game thanks to Duke’s win on Saturday, turned the ball over twice against the Cavaliers, but Virginia was unable to capitalize on either. [RECAP | BOX]

67 comments
RichLGerhold
RichLGerhold

I'll bet Gene Chizik went and got himself completely plastered tonight.

mcmilch
mcmilch

Wow what are the odds? Alabama going down against their rival. A team that was 500 a year ago? They have just been making one great play after another just enough to win  - save the one loss to who? But who cares it is still a "miracle" devine intervention brother!-- won all those games minus one loss. Ohio State playing in "The Game" defied "Gravity" to yet again win another game. Next year there will be no more concern about miracles on the football field. What will it be called? "The miracle four. Oh what about the conference championships? Should it not be eliminated to to increase the playoffs to 8? 

Blinker
Blinker

I could not be more happy!!!   WAR EAGLE!!!!!!!  Not every day you see a mighty bird take down an elephant.

Maria7
Maria7

I love it. Go Auburn! Maybe now Saban can leave Alabama and coach another state to a national championship or  two.

heardhimsay
heardhimsay

What else would you expect when they play in a stadium named, "Jordan...?"

otherworld
otherworld

Auburn still has a very hard game to play. Missouri seems to be under everybody's radar but they're for real. At this point you'd say the odds are on OSU v. FSU for the big one, 

carnage_2012
carnage_2012

Today Ohio State fans were the biggest Auburn fans and now Auburn fans are the biggest Michigan State fans. It's funny how that works out.

TCUfan
TCUfan

The SI cover jinx lives on!

JACKJAES
JACKJAES

Auburn clinched a spot in the SEC championship game with the stunning victory over the powerhouse from across the state. The Crimson Tide (11-1, 7-1) several times seemed poised to continue its run toward the first three-peat in modern college football, but couldn't put the Tigers away.... http://goo.gl/XaE9g7

mkd09
mkd09

Go Sparty! Need you to win so the SEC can be represented in the Title game! Congrats to Malzahn and Auburn. They played a great game.

heardhimsay
heardhimsay

It is a good thing for Auburn that Mike Tomlin was not standing on the sideline.

JeffBockert
JeffBockert

Hey Bama fans, your team can't even make the conference championship game? Don't worry, you always lose in November and still get voted into to the mythical title game. The contract between your conference and ESPN has been the biggest reason for your success in the past, why shouldn't you count on it again this year? 

MikeMartling
MikeMartling

The bcs will do everything in its power to have an sec team in the championship. Remember, its rigged.

OSU
OSU

Auburn is having one of the greatest turnaround since last year, but it is going to be very hard to pass over an undefeated tOSU for the championship game.

Darrell1
Darrell1

I'm just going to assume Florida State defeats Duke (It would be a moral victory for the Dukies just to stay within 30).

But for the title game opponent, I see five potential foes now: Ohio State, of course; an SEC team (Auburn, Alabama or, if it survives tonight, Missouri); or Oklahoma State. 

Don't really see anyone else having a realistic chance to make it.


HorizontalGophers
HorizontalGophers

Saban has no one to blame other than himself and his special teams coach. Sure, go for the field goal but he has to know that at that distance he needs to prep for a possible return and NOT stack his offense with 300 pounders. 

WR2

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

Auburn may well jump OSU. I'd give even money.

ianlinross
ianlinross

That's fantastic. Rooooooollll Tide!!!!!

JeffBockert
JeffBockert

@MikeMartling  ESPN has a lot of money riding on the contract with the SEC, they will do everything in their power to get an SEC team in so that can share that cash. 

heardhimsay
heardhimsay

@OSU OSU has the record but they looked nothing like a #2 team today vs Michigan.

JeffBockert
JeffBockert

@Darrell1  Ok State got robbed two years ago when they should have gone instead of Bama. Let's hope they get a shot. 

TheVon
TheVon

@HorizontalGophers That's what I was thinking.  It was like they didn't even anticipate that the field goal wouldn't go the distance.  Dumb.

JeffBockert
JeffBockert

@Rickapolis If anyone affiliated with ESPN has anything to say about it, they will make sure their business partners get in the game with the big cash payout. 

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

If I were a betting man, that is.

TCUfan
TCUfan

@HerschelAnderton Kind of makes you wonder how FSU, Auburn, Alabama or the other top teams would fare when their QB was playing with a partially torn ACL.

JeffBockert
JeffBockert

@HerschelAnderton  Best one loss team looks to be Ok State. Oregon doesn't look good. Oregon State outplayed them and if they had made better calls on a few plays they'd have beat Oregon at Oregon. 

Craig
Craig

@HerschelAnderton Oregon is a two-lose team that barely managed to defeat Oregon State, an unranked team.  In addition, Oregon will not be playing in the PAC-12 championship game.  There is no twisted math that could possibly put them in the National Championship game.

OSU
OSU

@heardhimsay @OSU History shows when tOSU plays UM, the records don't matter.  That is why it is the greatest rivalry in college football.  If I want to take a closer look at Auburn, they don't look like a #2 team either when they played Washington State, LSU, Mississippi St., Ole Miss or Georgia, but here they are.

Darrell1
Darrell1

@JeffBockert @Darrell1 I don't really think the Cowboys would make it. A lot of things would have to break right, and even then, if the Buckeyes lose, an SEC team would almost certainly get the shot. But Ok. State would at least deserve a hard look, especially if Auburn were to lose in the SEC title game.

MatthewEugeneHaag
MatthewEugeneHaag

@heardhimsay @EricWelsh @OSU Yeah thats not even a comparison considering that UF got beat by a Div 2 team.  Not only that but two Gators blocked each other.  The program is a mess right now so not even a fair comparison at all.

scBlais
scBlais

@heardhimsay @EricWelsh @OSU Anything can happen, including a blow-out.  Oregon State fell 1 point short against the Ducks.  Baylor squeaked past TCU.  But Arizona got stomped by Arizona State.  Records have never mattered when it's a rivalry game.

Darrell1
Darrell1

@woodson26 @Darrell1 @TheVon @Oldtimeduffer @HerschelAnderton It probably does, but read Mandel's column last week. The WV loss was early in the season (Ok St. has a different QB and is a different team now). And more importantly, by zeroing in on the loss, we are overlooking the Cowboys' good wins. Let's just say that if the college hoops committee were judging the Cowboys' resume, it would be looked upon much more favorably than by college football fans.

Darrell1
Darrell1

@TheVon @Oldtimeduffer @HerschelAnderton I'm sure if Ohio State loses that the second spot would go to an SEC team ... just because. But I think Oklahoma State, esp. with a  big win over OU, should also merit serious consideration.