Nostalgia Friday: 1983 Iron Bowl
Today we go back 31 years to 1983. Can it really have been that long? The 1983 Auburn football team remains one of my all-time favorites. It was the year Auburn broke out of its hibernation and claimed its first SEC title since 1957.
The 1983 Iron Bowl was a classic and will be forever remembered as the Bye-Bye Bo Game where Bo Jackson ripped off a pair of long runs that broke the back of Alabama and gave Auburn a 10-1 regular season record and a trip to the Sugar Bowl to face Michigan.
The 23-20 Auburn victory will also be remembered for a line of thunderstorms and a tornado warning that came roaring through in the second half. Billy Murray of ABC 33/40 Weather reflected on the contest a few years ago, writing, “Legion Field Public Address announcer Simpson Pepper read the warning over the loudspeakers but the game was not stopped.
“By ten minutes to go in the game, the rain was coming down in torrents as Auburn tried to control the ball and win the game in the horrible conditions as they clung to a 23-20 lead. The rain began to fall so heavily that you could barely see the field on the cameras.
“Fortunately, the storm did not produce a tornado in western Birmingham, or the results would have been catastrophic. But later, the same storm dropped an F3 tornado that heavily damaged the Winn Dixie store at Oxford, killing two people. A total of seven tornadoes touched down across the state that afternoon and evening.”
The link here shows some great screen shots of the game.
Bo’s performance in the game made him the leading Heisman contender heading into the 1984 season (an award he captured in 1985) and gave the Tigers its second win in a row over Alabama.
Auburn would go on to defeat Michigan in the Sugar Bowl 9-7 and cap its best season in 26 years.