Iron Bowl history: 15 years ago, Auburn broke Ed Scissum's, Alabama's heart

The Associated Press

This Thanksgiving marks the 15th anniversary of when Ed Scissum fumbled, Jaret Holmes converted and Auburn found a way to win the '97 Iron Bowl.

The 1997 Iron Bowl, played on Nov. 22, was the last great moment of the Terry Bowden era at Auburn. The 8-2 Tigers were heavy favorites over the 4-6 Crimson Tide, and Auburn needed a win to not only secure in-state bragging rights for another year, but also to clench its first trip to the SEC Championship Game. Despite the lopsided records, Alabama didn't make things easy for Auburn.

The Tigers jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first quarter thanks to two Jaret Holmes field goals, but after that, everything began to go down hill. Quarterback Dameyune Craig threw two interceptions, and Alabama reeled off 17 consecutive points in the second and third quarters. Auburn got back into the game with 2:18 left in the third when it marched 72 yards in five plays and scored on a one-yard plunge by Fred Beasley. However, Craig's two-point pass failed, and Auburn trailed 17-12 going into the fourth quarter.

Holmes connected on his third field goal of the day with 9:06 left in the game to cut the 'Bama lead to 17-15, but just as it had for most of the game, the Auburn offense failed to muster much of an attack in the final nine minutes. With 2:55 showing on the scoreboard, Alabama took over at its own 20 and had a chance to run out the clock. A couple of first downs would lock up one of the bigger upsets in Iron Bowl history for the Crimson Tide. Two Shaun Alexander rushes gained 14 yards and a first down. The Tide ran Alexander again, this time for a loss of one, and Auburn called its second timeout with 1:35 remaining. Alexander then ran for a gain of three, setting up 3rd and 8. If Alabama could pick up eight yards, the Crimson Tide would have victory sealed. If 'Bama was forced to punt, Auburn would likely take over around its own 20 with roughly 35 seconds to play.

And that's when Alabama fullback Ed Scissum infamously etched his name in Iron Bowl lore. Alabama head coach Mike Dubose called for a screen pass to Scissum, and after making the catch, his only offensive touch of the game, the fullback fumbled away the ball, giving Auburn new life at the Crimson Tide 33-yard line with 42 seconds to play. The Tigers moved 11 yards to the 'Bama 22 on their next two plays, and after an incomplete pass, a spike and two Alabama timeouts, Holmes lined up for a 39-yard attempt and a chance to etch his own name into Iron Bowl lore. Holmes didn't waste the opportunity.

He made good on his fourth field goal of the day, and Auburn took an 18-17 lead with 15 seconds left in the game. Alabama would try a 57-yard attempt on the final play, but it fell well short, and the Tigers wrapped up the SEC West and one of the most thrilling Iron Bowls to date.

AUBURN LEADERS

Passing: Dameyune Craig -- 14 of 33, 213 yards, 0 touchdowns, 2 interceptions

Rushing: Rusty Williams -- 6 carries, 27 yards, 0 touchdowns, 4.5 yards per carry

Receiving: Hicks Poor -- 5 catches, 55 yards, 0 touchdowns, 11.0 yards per catch

ALABAMA LEADERS

Passing: Freddie Kitchens -- 12 of 18, 134 yards, 1 touchdown, 0 interceptions

Rushing: Shaun Alexander -- 13 carries, 65 yards, 1 touchdown, 5.0 yards per carry

Receiving: Quincy Jackson -- 7 catches, 79 yards, 0 touchdowns, 11.3 yards per catch

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