Today marks single-digit days until kickoff of Auburn and Washington in Atlanta.
Nine days. It seems like just last week that we were writing about long kickoff returns and record-breaking plays. Now, we’re getting down to the plays that really mattered, where sometimes you didn’t want to know the end, because how could it turn out well? These are the plays that stay with you, even if you were too young at the time to understand why.
We’re getting into the iconic, cataclysmic, frozen-in-time moments here. Let’s make some more this season.
OCTOBER 15, 1994 — AUBURN 36, FLORIDA 33
Let’s put it like it was. Auburn was charmed at the start of Terry Bowden’s career. The magic of 1993 bled into 1994 like a heatwave, and the heroics continued. After the watershed Iron Bowl to finish the undefeated season, people took notice, and the Tigers could be seen on TV again. They decided to put on a show in September, picking off five fourth-quarter LSU passes and taking three back for touchdowns in a 30-26 scintillator.
After that close win, however, Auburn wasn’t threatened. Blowouts grew the streak to seventeen straight wins as the 6th-ranked Tigers went into Gainesville for a showdown with top-ranked Florida. Auburn had won the meeting the year before on the Plains, but this was Spurrier. At home. With the humidity. And 90,000 fans wobbling the Swamp in slighty-wrong shades of orange and blue.
The Gators were seventeen point favorites, and hadn’t lost a conference game at home under Spurrier.
But everything went Auburn’s way to start.
A ten-point first quarter lead quickly evaporated with the high-octane fun ‘n’ gun on the other side, and the Tigers were forced to fight back to take the lead three separate times. The Auburn defense got the better of the Gators at every crucial moment though, with Brian Robinson intercepting three passes on the day. The last one set up the momentous final drive.
Patrick Nix, who threw for 319 yards and three scores on the day, swept Auburn down the field with his arm. Clutch passes to Thomas Bailey (on 4th down) and Willie Gosha set up first and goal inside the ten. Time to turn to the All-American for the capper.
“Over the middlllllllllllllllllllle — he got it in the endzone! Touchdown! Auburn! Frank Sanders grabs another one! Holy cow, they never quit!”
Note the band player right at the end completely dismissing his responsibility to play the fight song, screaming instead. My kind of guy.
Nine days to kick, War Eagle.