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Countdown to Kickoff: 1 Day

There’s only one appropriate way to end this countdown.

We did it.

Holy crap... We actually did it!

Tomorrow, Auburn returns to the football field and the offseason will officially come to an end.

This countdown was a random idea I had earlier in the summer. I wanted to try and do something different than all the other countdowns you undoubtedly saw around the Auburn blogosphere. For 100 straight days, we’ve looked at plays and drives that covered the distance in yards that it was days to kickoff. We discussed the good, the bad, the random and the hideously ugly of Auburn football history over these past 100 days. It’s been fun for me to explore some parts of Auburn history that I may have not been as familiar with along with remembering the moments Auburn fans will cherish for eternity.

Huge shoutout to the C&M team here for jumping on board with my crazy idea. No way I could have handled this beast of a project on my own. From gathering video, to finding plays, to actually writing the articles, this has been a team effort that I hope everyone has enjoyed.

So it feels only appropriate to celebrate the end of the countdown and the beginning of a new year of Auburn football with one of the most iconic plays in Auburn football history. I got a feeling you know where this is going....

I can’t imagine what it must have been like to be an Auburn fan from 1973-1981. The Tigers lost nine straight Iron Bowls. NINE!!! It hasn’t been fun watching Nick Saban reel off championship after championship this past decade but at least Auburn has more than held their own in the rivalry. Gus Malzahn is a solid 2-3 against arguably the greatest coach in college football history and overall Saban’s longest win streak has been three.

In total, Auburn was 4-19 over that twenty three year period vs the Tide. It was utter dominance and I have to imagine that hope was hard to find back then. So how do you end a streak like that? Well you need two very important pieces.

First, you go out and hire yourself a football coach that isn’t gonna be scared of anyone. After slogging through the Doug Barfield era, the Tigers plucked away a former Bear Bryant staffer who gave Wyoming a winning season for the first time in three years, Mr. Pat Dye. When interviewing for the job, Dye was infamously asked how long it would take him for him to beat Bama. He simply answered “60 minutes”. Turns out it would take about 60 minutes longer than that but the message was clear. He ain’t scared of no Tide.

Second, go out and get you a generational talent. Born in Bessemer, AL, Bo Jackson would grow into one of the top high school athletes in the state of Alabama. The New York Yankees wanted him right out of high school but he promised his mom he would get a college degree. Alabama’s coaching staff played coy about his chances of seeing the field early while Auburn made it clear that if he was good enough to play early, he would. Turns out he was that good.

On November 27th, 1982, the Tigers and Tide squared off at Legion Field in Birmingham, AL. This wasn’t the typical powerhouse Tide team having lost two games in a row before the Iron Bowl and sporting a 7-3 record. Auburn also sat at 7-3 and were coming off a heartbreaking loss to the #1 Georgia Bulldogs.

It was a battle to the finish line. The Tigers carried a slim 14-13 lead into halftime but it evaporated quickly in the 3rd quarter. Alabama drove right down the field on their first possession of the 3rd quarter. Capping off an 8 play, 66 yard drive, Tide running back Paul Ott Caruth punched it in from 8 yards out to give Bama the lead. Alabama then followed that drive with a clock devouring 15 play, 95 yard drive that stalled out just shy of the endzone. The Tide would kick a field goal and carry a 22-14 lead into the final quarter (they failed on a 2 pt conversion after Caruth’s TD).

The 4th quarter would belong to the Tigers.

A long Bo Jackson run helped setup an Al Del Greco field goal, cutting the lead to 22-17. Auburn’s defense forced a Tide punt and then the Tigers began their march towards victory. There were some scary moments on that drive including a 4th & 1 conversion, a penalty negated interception and 3rd & 13 conversion. In the end, it would come down to one play. At the one yard line, facing 4th & goal with no time left on the clock, the Tigers would put the ball in the hands of their phenom true freshman. He would make history.

“Bo Over the Top” ended the Tide’s reign of terror and helped usher in a much happier time for the Tigers. Since that 1982 Iron Bowl victory, the Tigers have actually gone 19-17 vs the mighty Tide.

We are officially one single day from kickoff! War Eagle!