In the modern era of sports, ESPN has taken the highlight reel to a new level. We are inundated with great plays on a daily basis. But the best plays are the ones that happen at a clutch moment when a championship is on the line.
There are many great highlights in Auburn history, but what is your favorite? Is it Bo Over the Top, Wes Byrum making the winning kick in the BCS National Championship Game or Frank Sanders going up to make the winning catch against Florida in 1994?
There are literally millions of them throughout Auburn History. We all have our favorites.
For me, it’s the improbable fumble by Alabama running back Ed Scissum with only seconds left in the 1997 Iron Bowl. The win clinched the Western Division title and a trip to Atlanta for Auburn.
It’s clearly my favorite for a number of reasons. Never in my life have I seen a football team grab defeat from the jaws of victory like Alabama did that evening at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Sitting on the 40 yard line, I had already entered the early stages of a depression that I knew would last for the next 365 days. There were only seconds to go. All Alabama coach Mike Dubose had to do was simply run the clock out.
The Tide entered the final regular season contest with only four wins. Auburn was 8-3 under Terry Bowden and looking toward a showdown with Tennessee and Payton Manning a few weeks later.
The Iron Bowl was expected to be nothing more than a formality. Auburn coaches knew better. Alabama led 17-6 entering the fourth quarter. It took two furious drives by Auburn quarterback Dameyune Craig to get the Tigers close.
When Auburn missed a two-point conversion to tie the game late, the contest looked to be over. Nursing a 17-15 lead, Dubose inexplicably called a screen pass to fullback Scissum, who was met by Auburn defender Martavious Houston. Scissum lost the ball and Auburn pounced.
That play produced the closest thing to a resurrection in college football history. Auburn was deader than dead. A few plays later, kicker Jaret Holmes put the ball through the uprights for an unbelievable 18-17 win.
Auburn players joined students on the field in tearing down the goal posts. That’s something I’d never seen before or since. Once the posts were down, they were passed around the student section.
I remember stadium announcer Carl Stevens pleading with students not to throw the goal posts out of the stadium.
The victory was far from Auburn’s biggest, but it may have been its most improbable.
“It was one for the record books, one for the museum,” said then Auburn coach Terry Bowden. “It was the best kind of win that we could have hoped for in this kind of traditional game.”
No question about it.