2003 did not go as expected. Auburn entered the season ranked #6 in the country with extremely high expectations. I remember how excited I was to see the Tigers get a chance at revenge against #8 USC to open the season. I believed the Tigers were gonna win a slugfest to open the season and announce to the world they were back as a national power.
I would be very wrong. The Trojans shut Auburn out in Jordan-Hare 23-0. To make matters worse, the Tigers would then travel to Atlanta and lose to a Georgia Tech squad lead by the legendary, Reggie Ball....
In fact, Auburn did not score their first touchdown until the 2nd quarter of the Vanderbilt game. This was not the top 10 power we had been promised.
Those struggles lead to the infamous Jetgate scandal which was broke the week before the Iron Bowl. The big question was how exactly would the Tigers respond. Carnell “Cadillac” Williams did not wait long to give us an answer.
I am sure I am not alone in saying that this is one of Rod Bramblett’s best calls. I was fortunate enough to be in that endzone in 2003 with my dad, losing my mind with the rest of Jordan-Hare Stadium. A good running back gets 6-8 yards on this draw play. A great running backs gets the first down. An elite running back takes it to the house. Carnell Williams was an elite running back.
In typical Tommy Tuberville fashion, Auburn would surge out to a big lead, hit the brakes, hang on for dear life and then go on to beat Alabama. That win would give Tubs one more year to prove himself and boy did he ever in 2004. As disappointing as that 2003 season was, I’m not sure if the changes get made on the offensive side of the ball with out it (aka Al Borges as OC). Without those changes, not sure AU has the best football team in the country in 2004. Weird how these things go...
You can easily find the full game online but if you don’t have 3 hours to spend this morning rewatching the 2003 Iron Bowl, here’s a nice highlight video that shows all of the biggest moments of the game.
80 days till kickoff! War Eagle!