Nov. 20, 1993 Auburn is trailing Alabama 14 -5 late in the third quarter when starting quarterback Stan White goes down with a knee injury. In to the game comes his backup, sophomore Patrick Nix. The Tigers are facing 4th and 14 from the 35 yard line. Legendary Auburn play by play announcer Jim Fyffe described the next few moments this way:
“Out of the shotgun, Patrick Nix. Alabama bringing everybody. Nix is gonna float one for Sanders, Sanders – Oh HE Caught it at the TWO! And He Dives In ! TOUCHDOWN AUBURN! TOUCHDOWN AUBURN! Oh My Goodness! Sanders Went Up Over Tommy Johnson or Antonia Langham. He Caught the Ball at the Two. How he Held it, I Don’t Know. But He Dived Into the Endzone, and Auburn’s Right Back In the Thick of it … A 35 Yard Pass Play. Patrick Nix to Frank Sanders!”
Auburn went onto win the 58th Iron Bowl 22-14. And, “Nix to Sanders” went onto become one of those phrase like, “Punt Bama Punt” that’s forever burned into the Auburn psyche. I know it’s true for me. I can still see it in my mind’s eye. I was sitting with my wife in section 45. Sanders made the acrobatic catch right in front of us. It will always be one of our favorite moments in Jordan-Hare
I was reminded of the play a few days ago when it was announced that Frank Sanders was selected as one of 14 former Southeastern Conference greats to be named to the SEC Football Legends Class of 2013.
It wasn’t the last time fans heard Fyffe yell that phrase. Probably the second most memorable “Nix to Sanders” call came the next year when Auburn played No.1 Florida in the hostile environment of the Swamp of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
With 30 seconds to go in the game, Sanders made another acrobatic catch, leaping between two defenders to pull down Nix’s eight yard pass for a touchdown giving the No. 6 Tigers’ the upset win over No.1 Florida 36-33.
Frank truly is an Auburn legend. He led the SEC in receiving yards (910) his senior year and finished his career in second place on Auburn’s all-time list of total receptions (121), with 1,998 total yards, and 15 touchdowns. The stellar performance led to him being named First Team All-SEC as well as an All-American in 1994.
After graduation he went onto play nine seasons in the NFL mostly with the Arizona Cardinals, retiring after 2003 with 507 career receptions for 6,749 yards and 24 touchdowns.
Today, Sanders lives in Birmingham. On December 6-7 he will be honored at the 2013 SEC Weekend of Champions Banquet and at the league’s Championship Game in Atlanta. Frank Sanders has always been an Auburn legend … now he will be an SEC Legend too.
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