To See Where You are Going, You Have to Know Where You Have Been (Starting QB Edition)
Since who will be the starting quarterback for the Tigers this fall is a hot topic, I felt like it was time to write about a season where there was no doubt who was the starter.
When he was at John Carroll High School almost every major football school offered Pat Sullivan a scholarship. He had, however, grew up an Auburn fan and admired Shug Jordan immensely.
During his recruitment, Jordan took him to an NFL exhibition game at Legion Field, (that probably would get you on double secret probation today). On the way to the game, car trouble put both Jordan and Sullivan on foot walking up Graymont Ave with everyone else. On the way, a police escort whizzed by, sirens and all, carrying Bear Bryant. Jordan looked at Pat and said, “Well, Pat, you can either go in the limelight with him or walk with me.” We all know what the answer was.
Along with Terry Beasley, Sully was part of Auburns lethal passing game. He finished his career with 6284 yards passing and 53 touchdowns. The 53 touchdowns is still an AU career record.
In 1968, Sullivan was on the freshman team. They did not let freshmen play on the varsity in those years. He and Beasley led a dramatic come from behind victory over the Bammer freshmen that year.
In 1969, there was no doubt who was to be the starting QB. On the first play against Wake Forest in the seasons first game, Sully uncorked a bomb to Beasley who was wide open. With all the adrenaline in his system he overthrew the ball by 20 yards. The AU fans saw then and knew what was in store for the team in the coming season and cheered him anyway for an incomplete pass.
AU won the game 57-0 but in the next game against Tennessee they were thumped 45-19. AU would only lose one more game that season and ended the year by beating Bammer 49-26 and ending a five game losing streak to them.
In his Senior season AU started 8-0 and then had the game of his life against UGA and clinched the Heisman trophy. Vince Dooley said about Sullivan, “We were simply beaten by the best I have ever seen. If Sullivan isn’t the Heisman winner, I don’t know who it would be.” He was right.
The Heisman jinx hit after the award and the Tigers were badly beaten by Bammer 31-7. Sullivan took all the blame.
Sully is now the coach and Samford and still an active member of the AU family. Remember, he was on the search committee that got Gus back. Just another touchdown for Sullivan in my opinion.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one.
What is the difference in a porcupine and Bryant-Denny Stadium. The porcupine has 83,000 pricks on the outside.