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Auburn vs. the SEC, Part IV

The Iron Bowl!


     War Eagle, everybody! Today we conclude our review of the past decade of Auburn football. The subject will be the Iron Bowl. To say that the 'Aughts have been good for Auburn is a gross understatement. Never before in Iron Bowl history has Auburn beaten Alabama seven times in a decade! Only in the 1890s did Auburn have a better winning percentage against the Tide.


Auburn record vs. Alabama by decade





















     The situation entering the most recent decade did not favor Auburn. The Tide was coming off an SEC Championship season, and were picked again at the top of the league for the 2000 season. The Sporting News even picked the Tide as their top team in the nation. Auburn had gone 3-13 in the SEC the two years preceding 2000, and there was little reason to think that Auburn would fare much better in 2000.


Year by year recaps, after the jump!

2000 (In Tuscaloosa) The Iron Bowl series returned to T-Town for the first time in a hundred years, where Alabama had never won over Auburn, nor scored a single point against the Tigers. It was a cold, raw day, with freezing rain falling. Bama started first, and a big 30-yard screen from Andrew Zow to Jason McAddley set the Tide up at the Tiger 28. It was not to be, though, as Zow was picked off in the end zone by linebacker Rob Pate. Auburn was unable to move past midfield, and Damon Duval punted it dead at the Tide 8 yard line. Bama ran 3 plays for no yards, and Lane Bearden punted up to the Tide 48. Heath Evans broke a draw play for 34 yards down to the Tide 9, but Auburn could not get in. On the last play of the 1st quarter, Damon Duval kicked it through and gave Auburn a 3-0 lead. The teams traded punts in the second quarter, then Bama drove to the Auburn 45 on a forward fumble. On 4th and 1, Bama took a delay of game penalty trying to decide what to do. Auburn declined, and Tide coach Mike Dubose elected to punt. The kick didn't go far, and was downed at the Auburn 20. More punt trading ensued. With 3:49 left in the half, Auburn began a 9-play drive from the Tiger 42. Damon Duval came in, and hit a 42-yarder in the icy rain to give Auburn a 6-0 lead at the half. Auburn opened the second half with a 41 yard kick return by Rod Hood, and drove the ball down inside the Tide 4 yard line. On second and goal from the two, Auburn got fancy and tried a bootleg pass to double-covered Ronny Daniels, who was limping noticeably. The pass was intercepted by Milo Lewis for a touch back. Alabama punted it back, then Ben Leard Leard's next pass was picked off at the Auburn 39. Again Bama could not capitalize, as a sack by Demarco McNeil and Javor Mills took the Tide out of field goal range. The 3rd quarter ended with two more traded punts. Auburn began a 10 play drive early in the 4th quarter. The two big plays were a 26 yard toss over the middle to Lorenzo Diamond, then a sideline toss from Leard to Deandre Green down to the Tide 5. A bootleg fumble backed Auburn up, and Damon Duval bailed the Tigers out with his third field goal of the day, a 27-yarder. Auburn led 9-0. Alabama had two more possessions to try to score, but could only manage a punt and a missed 48-yard field goal attempt. Auburn prevailed, 9-0, and won the SEC Western Division title on the day.


2001 (In Auburn) I think few will argue that Tommy Tuberville's honeymoon at Auburn ended on this day. Auburn won the toss, and took the ball. The Tigers had ball-controlled Georgia to death the week before, and looked to continue that against the Tide. Carnell Williams broke loose for 25 yards on the first play from scrimmage, then quickly had 9 more yards. Carnell was able to take Auburn to the Tide 38, but a jolting hit from Cornelius Wortham and Jarrett Johnson broke Carnell's collarbone, and knocked him out of the game. After that, the Tiger offense bogged down. Damon Duval honked the 42-yard field goal wide right. The Tide came out moving the ball on the ground. Ahmaad Galloway galloped for 33 yards into Tiger territory, but the drive disintegrated under penalties. Dontarious Thomas blocked the Tide field goal attempt. Auburn punted, Bama punted, then Auburn punted again. Then the Tide took it 88 yards for the TD, an 8 yard run around the left end by Santonio Beard. Auburn answered with a big 43-yard Tim Carter kick return, then completions for first downs from Daniel Cobb to Robert Johnson and Ronnie Brown. Ronnie Brown cracked the final 5 yards over the right side for the Auburn TD, and the game was tied at 7-all with 2:56 left in the half. Auburn could not hold from that point. Bama went 80 yards in 8 plays, scoring on a 45- yard bomb from Andrew Zow to Jason McAddley. Bama led 14-7 at the half, and had a big advantage in yards and time of possession. It took Bama just 2 plays in the second half to add to the lead, as Santonio Beard ran over the Auburn D for a 47-yard TD. The teams traded punts for the rest of the quarter, then Bama drove again, going 13 plays for 92 yards. After an anemic Auburn effort, the Tide added a field goal drive for an insurmountable 31-7 lead. Auburn inserted Jason Campbell at quarterback to try and generate some offense. Campbell got the Tigers moving, but fumbled it away at the Tide 10. Bama pretty much ate the rest of the clock, en route to chewing up 549 yards of offense on the proud Tiger D. Auburn fell, 31-7.


2002 (In Tuscaloosa) Few gave the Tigers any chance in this one. The Tide was rolling over folks,and the Auburn backfield was down to freshmen Cooper Wallace and Tre Smith. Auburn went after the Tide early, with a 3rd and 1 "hide the ball" bomb from Jason Campbell to Anthony Mix. The Tide bowed up, and sacked Jason Campbell to knock Auburn out of field goal range. Bama rolled to the Auburn 37, and went for it on 4th and 10. A screen from Tyler Watts to Shaud Williams was forced out 5 yards short, by Junior Rosegreen. For the Tigers, Tre Smith bolted 51 yards on the first play, then Campbell found tight end Robert Johnson on a crossing pattern. The 275-pound Johnson juked two Bama defenders off their feet, and scored for Auburn. The Tigers forced a punt, and Roderick Hood dodged for a 36-yard return up to midfield. Auburn mixed it up to the Tide 11, then went with an empty backfield. Bama blitzed, and Campbell got the pass to a wide-open Robert Johnson in the end zone! Auburn had a SHOCKING 14-0 lead over the favored Tide! After another failed Bama drive and punt, Auburn moved it again. A 19 yard Jason Campbell scramble set up Damon Duval for a 40-yard field goal midway through the 2nd quarter. Bama took the two-minute-drill drive into Auburn territory, but a 4th down pass to Shaud Williams was forced out short. Auburn led, 17-0 at the half. Auburn stoned Bama again in the 3rd quarter, but Jason Campbell gave it right back on an interception. Auburn was treated to a heavy dose of Tyler Watts and Santonio Beard running the option. Beart crashed in from a yard out, and Bama had cut the Auburn lead to 17-7. Auburn answered with 10-play drive, but Damon Duval missed a long 47-yard field goal. Bama drove it into Auburn territory again, and again failed on a 4th down screen pass. The Auburn defense held again and again, in the 4th quarter. Bama's deepest threat was picked off by Carlos Rogers. Auburn held on, for a 17-7 win over the Tide.


2003 (In Auburn) Auburn opened this game with a bang, as Carnell Williams took the opening handoff on a draw, and sped 80 yards untouched for the score! After a 57-yard punt by the Tide's Bo Freeland, Auburn was pinned at the one. Auburn handed off deep to Carnell Williams, and didn't block Tide nose tackle Anthony Bryant. It was a Tide safety. Alabama could do nothing with the free kick, and this time Freeland shanked a punt for only 17 yards. Auburn was quickly facing 3rd and 6, and dialed up the slant from Jason Campbell to Ben Obomanu. Obomanu broke out of a tackle, and rambled 67 yards down the sideline for the TD! Jason Campbell ran in the two-point conversion out of the shotgun. Auburn led 15-2 in the first quarter. Another Tide punt ensued, then Jason Campbell went up top for a 39-yard strike to Courtney Taylor. Auburn stalled inside the Tide 10, and settled for a John Vaughn field goal, and an 18-2 lead. After a couple of traded punts, Auburn was driving again. Jason Campbell launched a perfect strike down the middle to a wide open Cooper Wallace. Wallace caught it, took aim at lone Tide defender Roman Harper, and then Wallace lost the handle on the ball. The Tide recovered. Auburn got it back quickly, as Reggie Torbor forced a fumble on a Bama screen. Auburn again had a chance to extend the lead, but a corner route pass bounced off the foot of Courtney Taylor (who'd jumped when he didn't have to!) and deflected into the arms of Roman Harper. Junior Rosegreen picked off a Bama Hail Mary, and Auburn led 18-2 at the half. It should have been a lot worse! Alabama served notice early in the 3rd quarter that this would not be a blow-out. Brandon Brooks took the second half kickoff the distance for a Tide TD. Auburn went 3 and out, and the Tide took it 82 yards in 8 plays. Shaud Williams dragged most of the Auburn defense the final 6 yards. Bama had cut the Auburn lead to 18-16. Auburn answered with a 10-play, 54 yard drive. John Vaughn hit a 32-yard field goal, to extend the Auburn lead to 5.Both teams had problems moving the ballfrom that point, and had fumbles and interceptions. Auburn finally managed to hold on long enough for a Carnell Williams TD plunge with 7:27 left. Auburn led 28-16. Bama managed a late score on a tipped ball, and Auburn won by the final margin of 28-23.


2004 (In Tuscaloosa) This time, undefeated Auburn was heavily favored, and Alabama was down to third team QB Spencer Pennington, and 3rd team running back Kenneth Darby, who was suffering with a badly bruised leg. Bama didn't play like an underdog, though. A 40-yard strike from Pennington to Keith Brown set the Tide up, and Brian Bostick nailed a 42-yard field goal to put the Tide up 3-0. The teams traded several punts, then Tyrone Prothro returned an Auburn punt 40 yards down to the 15. The Tide was held back, though, as Kevin Sears intercepted the 4th down pass short of the end zone. Auburn needed to scratch out some field position, but instead a Campbell pass deflected off the hands of Cooper Wallace, and was intercepted by the Tide's Anthony Madison, who took it to the Tiger 6. 3 Kenneth Darby runs could not gain a yard, and Bostick hit another field goal for the Tide. Auburn knocked out one first down on the next drive, but a fumble by Cooper Wallace ended that possession. Bama was forced to punt, and Auburn took the ball 78 yards in 12 plays, only to see a 21 yard John Vaughn field goal attempt clang off the left upright. Alabama led at the half, 6-0. Auburn took the opening second half possession, and was authoritative. A 51-yard strike from Campbell to Devin Aromashodu got it close, then Carnell Williams turned the corner on the short side for the 5 yard TD just over the pylon. Auburn led, 7-6. Bama was forced to punt, and Auburn took the next one to paydirt as well. Campbell hit Courtney Taylor on a 32-yard deep ball, taking advantage of a blown coverage. Auburn led, 14-6. Bama answered with a drive past midfield, but couldn't get a first down on successive short yardage runs. Auburn pounded it down the field again, and early in the 4th quarter Ronnie Brown scored from a yard away, to give Auburn a 21-6 lead. Bama had two big drives after that, but could not catch up. The first drive ended on downs at the Auburn 17, and the second resulted in an 18-yard TD pass from Pennington to D. J. Hall. Courtney Taylor recovered the onside kick, and Auburn ran the clock out on a 21-13 win. Auburn was 11-0, and SEC Western Division champion.


2005 (In Auburn) Alabama came into this game ranked higher (8th) than Auburn (11th), but this day got ugly for the Tide quickly. Bama QB Brodie Croyle was sacked twice on the first series, and a short punt gave Auburn the ball at the Tide 40. 6 plays later Brandon Cox found Ben Obomanu for a 7 yard TD, and Auburn led 7-0. Bama went 3 and out again, and the Tide's Jeremy Schatz shanked the punt out of bounds at the Tide 31. Auburn scored in 3 plays, with Kenny Irons taking it right up the gut for the TD. Bama's next possession resulted in two more sacks, and another punt. This time, Auburn went 55 yards in 4 plays, with Ben Obomanu scoring on a 45-yard end around. With 4:01 still left in the first quarter, Auburn led 21-0! It was the high point for Auburn football in the decade! Alabama's next possession resulted in two more sacks, and another punt back to Auburn. Looking to add to the lead, Auburn threw on first down to Prechae Rodriguez on a quick-hitter, but Rodriguez was stood up, and stripped of the ball. Bama's Charlie Peprah recovered. Having given up 5 sacks already in the first quarter, Bama went to the ground game. Kenneth Darby delivered for the Tide, bolting 14 yards into Tiger territory, then breaking tackles for 19 more. Tim Castille got the TD for Bama on a 1-yard plunge. 4 punts followed, as the defenses dug in. Auburn then took the ball on a 61 yard march. Auburn got the TD from the three tight end set, as Brandon Cox found Cole Bennett on a 6 yard pass. Auburn led Bama 28-7 at the half! Auburn went three and out to start the second half, and Bama's Brandon Brooks got loose for a 33 yard punt return to set the Tide up on the Auburn side. A sack of Brodie Croyle ended the threat, and Jamie Christianson came on and nailed a 43-yard field goal. Auburn's lead was trimmed to 28-10. Defense dominated for both teams from that point. Auburn managed one drive that resulted in a miss from 46 yards on a field goal attempt. Bama drove it as far as the Auburn 8 yard line, before the 11th sack of Brodie Croyle ended the drive on 4th down with 3:31 left. Auburn ran it up the middle 3 times, using up Bama's timeouts. Bama brought in backup quarterback John Parker Wilson, who connected with D. J. Hall on a late Hail Mary. Wilson took a quick snap and plunged in for the 2-point conversion. That made the final margin Auburn 28, Alabama 18.


2006 (In Tuscaloosa) Both teams came into this game limping. Alabama had lost a number of close games, and Auburn was fresh off an absolutely horrible performance at home against Georgia. For Auburn, both starting running backs were nicked up, AND top wide receiver Courtney Taylor was out with an injury. Auburn could do little with the opening kickoff, and punted to Bama. John Parker Wilson took the Tide on an 11 play march, but the Tide stalled inside the 5. 3 straight runs by Kenneth Darby and Tim Castille were turned back,and Bama settled for the 24-yard Jamie Christianson field goal. The teams traded a couple of punts each, then on 3rd and 6 from the Tide 35, John Parker Wilson dropped to throw. Around the corner came Auburn end Quentin Groves, and Wilson lost the ball. Auburn recovered at the Tide 27. Four Brad Lester runs later, Auburn was in the end zone for a 7-3 lead. On Bama's next possession, again it was Groves around the end, and Wilson was stripped again. Auburn recovered at the 8. It was one play and in on the give to Kenny Irons, and Auburn led 14-3. Bama punted, then Auburn mounted their first drive of the ball game, highlighted by a big 31-yard toss from Brandon Cox to Rod Smith. A false start by Tommy Trott killed the drive, and John Vaughn missed a long 53-yard field goal attempt. Auburn quickly forced Alabama to a 3rd and 10 with the first half clock under 2 minutes. Inexplicably, Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp called a double safety blitz! Wilson let the ball go on the slant, and Auburn's David Irons dove for it. Irons didn't get it. Bama's Nikita Stover did, and with no safeties back, Stover was gone for the 58-yard TD. A roughing the passer penalty gave Bama the ball at the one for the 2-point try, but Will Herring picked off the pass in the end zone. Auburn led 14-9 at the half. Alabama marched 80 yards in 11 plays to start the second half, mixing the run and the pass well. Wilson hit tight end Travis McCall on a crossing route, and McCall scored somehow after stepping out of bounds, then sticking the ball across the goal line. (SEC refs) Alabama went for two again, but Wilson was pressured, and threw it away. Bama led, 15-14, and Auburn looked to be in a whole lot of trouble. Two more punts were traded, then Auburn opened with the wheel route to fullback Carl Stewart, and it worked for 37 yards to the Bama 17! On 3rd and 15 from the Bama 22, the blitz came. Brandon Cox laid the ball up for the left corner of the end zone, and Prechae Rodriguez came down with it for the Auburn TD! Auburn went with the bunch set on the 2 point try, and tossed it back to fullback Carl Stewart. Stewart squeezed a line drive PASS to receiver Lee Guess, and the conversion was good! Auburn led, 22-15. The teams traded punts and turnovers, and Bama mounted another threat late. Alabama made it as far as the Auburn 13, but a 4th down pass to Matt Caddell missed. A David Irons interception on the next Bama possession ended all Tide hope. Auburn held on, 22-15.


2007 (In Auburn) This was another tough game for both teams. Bama had lost to Louisiana Monroe on homecoming, and Auburn had been destroyed in the 2nd half against Georgia. Bama went 3 and out on the opening possession, then Auburn took it on a 12-play, 65 yard march. Short passing by Brandon Cox and hard running by Brad Lester and Ben Tate moved the chains. Tate capped it on a 3 yard dive, and Auburn led 7-0. Bama was forced to punt again, then a Cox to Rod Smith slant pass connected for 31 yards, and set up a Wes Byrum 37 yard field goal that gave Auburn a 10-0 lead in the first quarter! Bama survived a false-start penalty, getting new life on a questionable interference flag on Jonathan Wilhite. Glen Coffee powered Bama into the second quarter, and John Parker Wilson scored on a QB sneak. Bama had cut the Auburn lead to 10-7. Auburn drove into field goal range, but back-to-back sacks of Brandon Cox forced a short punt by Ryan Shoemaker. Bama put together a good drive, but a sack by Pat Sims killed the drive. Leigh Tiffin missed a 44-yard attempt. Auburn quickly gave it back on a Cox interception. Alabama couldn't capitalize, though. On a fade pattern, Jerraud Powers took it off the fingertips of Bama's D. J. Hall. The interception was a touch back, and Auburn was able to run the clock out on the half. Tigers led 10-7 at the break. Auburn took a short kickoff into Bama territory and down to the Tide 26 before two dropped balls doomed the drive. Wes Byrum missed on a 43-yard attempt. Seven punts followed, as both teams were playing tenacious defense. Auburn took over with 8:48 left in the ball game, and marched it on the tiring Tide. Cox snuck it in on 3rd and goal, and Auburn took a 17-7 lead with 3:58 left. Wilson led Bama down the field, but the drive stalled, and Leigh Tiffin connected on a 49-yard field goal with 2:11 left. Auburn's lead was 17-10. Bama's onside kick didn't go 10 yards, and Auburn had it. Brad Lester dragged Bama defenders 12 yards on 4th and 1, and Auburn ran the clock out on a 17-10 win. The victory was Auburn sixth in a row over the Tide!


2008 (In Tuscaloosa) There's not much to say about this game except that it featured two teams going in opposite directions. Auburn was falling apart, and Alabama was at the peak of their season. With a lame duck offense and a head coach whose future was in question, Auburn put up a pretty good fight for a half. Turnovers fed a total collapse in the second half, as Auburn was buried 36-0 in T Town. For those who care to relive the debacle, you can click over to the open thread, and the postmortem for that game. I'm not suffering through it again!


2009 (In Auburn) Much like 2008, no one gave the Tigers much chance. Auburn kicked off to Bama, held Heisman-trophy winner Mark Ingram to 5 yards on two carries, and forced a punt. Auburn went 80 yards in 4 plays, with Terrell Zachary getting the score on a 67 yard end around. Auburn caught Bama napping on the kickoff, as the team formed a turtle-shell around kicker Wes Byrum. Byrum kicked a perfect dribbler that traveled the requisite ten yards. Even if Bama had been ready, they'd have had to fight through blockers to get to the ball. It worked perfectly, and Auburn had it on the 42 yard line. Auburn marched 58 yards in 12 plays, and a 1 yard 3rd down pass from Chris Todd to Eric Smith gave Auburn a shocking 14-0 first quarter lead! The two teams traded punts, then Bama started a ten-play drive that ended early in the second quarter. Trent Richardson went up the gut for two yards and a TD, and Bama had cut the lead to 14-7. The teams traded several more punts, and Auburn survived a Demond Washington fumbled punt at the Auburn 11 yard line. Bama started a drive with 7:49 left in the half, and ended up third and nine at the Auburn 33. Auburn went with a rare blitz, and Bama's Greg McElroy exploited it with a 33 yard scoring strike to tight end Colin Peek. Both teams managed late drives. Bama's ended on a 42-yard miss by Leigh Tiffin on a field goal attempt. Auburn punted from the Bama 39 with less than a minute left. The half ended tied at 14. Both teams went three and out to start the 3rd quarter, then Auburn faced a 2nd and 6. Alabama had turned up the blitzing heat since Auburn's 1st quarter success, and here came star blitzing corner Javier Arenas creeping towards the line. Auburn went with a hitch and go, and Bama bit on it. Chris Todd hit Darvin Adams in stride downfield for a 72-yard touchdown pass! Auburn was back in the lead! A 46-yard Arenas kick return gave Bama field position, but they went 4 and out. Freshman linebacker Jonathan Evans stoned Ingram for no gain on 4th and 1! Auburn could do nothing with the ball, and punted it back to Javier Arenas, who pulled off a 56-yard return. The Auburn defense held at the 10, and Leigh Tiffin booted the field goal. Auburn's lead was cut to 21-17. Alabama caught another break quickly, as Chris Todd threw high over the middle, and Mark Barron picked it off. Alabama again couldn't find the end zone. Leigh Tiffin hit from 31, and Auburn clung to a narrow 21-20 lead. A 16-yard Chris Todd scramble netted one first down, but the Tigers bogged down again and had to punt. This one was downed at the Bama 3. The teams traded punts again, and Bama took over with 8:27 left in the game. Auburn could not quite get Bama stopped on a 15-play, 80 yard drive. With 1:24 left, McElroy hit Roy Upchurch out of the backfield for the Tide TD. The two point try was tipped up and intercepted by Jake Ricks. Bama led 26-21. Passes to Ben Tate and Darvin Adams got Auburn to the Bama 37 yard line in the waning seconds, and a Hail Mary was knocked down by Justin Woodall to end it. Tide won, 26-21.