Iron Bowl Kick-Six still fresh for Alabama, Auburn
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Auburn players have delighted in the frequent replays of the final play of last year’s Iron Bowl.
At Alabama, Chris Davis’s last-play return of a missed field goal remains a sore subject.
Whether it causes heartache or elation, it’s been hard to escape the play that sealed “Kick-Six” and Davis’s name forever into the Iron Bowl vault. That’s especially true now with the second-ranked Crimson Tide preparing to host the 15th-ranked Tigers Saturday night after the two bitter rivals produced one of college football’s most memorable finishes.
“It shows up on the TV every now and again, and it breaks our heart every time,” Tide safety Landon Collins said. “In one second they took our whole chance away of winning anything, and definitely it rewinds in my head. Definitely it will rewind in my head constantly throughout this week.”
The Tide (10-1, 6-1 Southeastern Conference), the top-ranked team in the College Football Playoff rankings, is once again playing to keep its national title hopes alive. An Alabama win or a loss by No. 4 Mississippi State to No. 18 Mississippi secures a spot in the SEC championship game.
Last year, Davis’s 109-yard return, only the fourth such play recorded by the NCAA, gave the fourth-ranked Tigers a 34-28 over the No. 1 Tide. They ultimately played for the national title instead of the Bama team many expected to get that shot.
Alabama’s Adam Griffith, now the starting kicker, lined up for a 57-yard field goal attempt with one second remaining in a tied game. It fell short, Davis returned it from the back of the end zone and Auburn fans blanketed the length of the field in celebration.
The play has gotten more than 3.3 million views on YouTube. It spawned T-shirts (“Got a Second?”) and taunts from Auburn fans in a rivalry that never takes a day off.
“I feel like with a great play like that, it deserves to be played over and over again,” Auburn linebacker Kris Frost said.
Tigers receiver Quan Bray said he’s seen the replay “a couple hundred times, seems like.”
It’s probably nowhere near that many for Tide players, who had been seeking a third straight national title.
Alabama quarterback Blake Sims said he’s more likely to “click it off” when the replay comes on TV. Right tackle Austin Shepherd said he “could really care less about last year” and that both teams are totally different. He also downplayed it as a lucky play.
“I take Coach (Nick) Saban’s rule to heart, the 24-hour rule,” Shepherd said. “Twenty-four hours it’s over. I’ve just kind of moved on from last year. A lot of people are lucky and they got lucky. Luck happens.”
Saban and Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee say the staffs aren’t using the play as motivation for the rematch, when Alabama is favored by 9-1/2 points.
“We’re not going to bring it up or talk about it because it can’t help us this year,” Lashlee said.
When Saban looks back on the ending, he goes beyond Davis’s return. Alabama missed four field goals, the first three by Cade Foster, and gave up a touchdown pass with 32 seconds left. A dropped touchdown pass and a failed fourth-down try deep in Auburn territory were also factors in the final outcome.
Ditto for officials putting one more second back on the clock after a T.J. Yeldon run.
“We all kind of remember what happened,” Saban said. “It was very, very disappointing to all of us here. Not just the last play but the last five minutes of the game that we never really ever finished the game like we needed to.
“It was a tough way to lose a game, and I’m sure everybody sort of has that in mind.”
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