AUBURN – The Auburn fans stormed the field and were in no hurry to leave.
They danced to the tunes of the band, they high-fived everyone in sight wearing orange and blue, they celebrated and soaked in what had unbelievably transpired right before their eyes.
The party continued downtown at famed Toomer’s Corner and all over Auburn after a 34-28 victory over Alabama that will go down in Iron Bowl history as the most breathtaking finish in the history of the storied rivalry.
The hero at the end of the game was Chris Davis, who caught a 57-yard field goal try by Alabama’s Adam Griffith that came up short and alertly returned it out of the end zone and all the way down the sidelines for a touchdown with no time left on the clock.
“God is good,” Davis said. “That’s all I’ve got to say about it.”
Most people who watched didn’t know quite what to say, either, after the unbelievable turn of events that made Auburn a winner on Saturday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
No. 1-ranked Alabama came into the game undefeated and as the two-time defending national champions. It appeared very much like the Crimson Tide was right on track for a chance to three-peat in the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 6 in Pasadena, Calif.
But No. 4-ranked Auburn had other thoughts. Like has been the case all season long, the Tigers were fueled by the underdog role in once again pulling out a victory that appeared to be fading in the final moments.
Auburn, after blocking an Alabama field goal try with 2:32 left, would tie the game with a mere 32 seconds remaining when Sammie Coates caught a 39-yard touchdown pass from Nick Marshall.
Alabama quickly drove down the field following the kickoff to get in a position to try and win it in regulation after it was ruled running back T.J. Yeldon got out of bounds with one second remaining following a 24-yard run.
Griffith, a little used kicker with a strong leg, was then brought out to attempt the long field goal in place of starting placekicker Cade Foster, who had missed two field goals in the game and had his final try blocked.
Griffith got a strong kick on the football, but when it fell short of the goal post, Davis caught it and took off to the amazement of all watching. It didn’t appear as though a Tide player got a hand on him as he raced more than 100 yards for the winning touchdown.
“I just can’t believe it happened,” said Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley, who had 14 tackles in the game.
Auburn has pulled out other dramatic last-minute wins this season, including one early in the season against Mississippi State and another two weeks ago against Georgia – both within the friendly confines of Jordan-Hare Stadium.
“Faith,” senior Auburn defensive end Dee Ford said. “Believing in what the coaches say and what we tell each other.
“That’s something we’ve built up all year and we keep finding ways to win.”
Auburn (11-1) also finds itself now in the SEC Championship Game next Saturday in Atlanta ’ s Georgia Dome and remains in the mix for a shot at a BCS National Championship berth.
It’s a truly remarkable turnaround for a program that finished 3-9 a year ago, ending with the firing of head coach Gene Chizik.
Under new boss Gus Malzahn, the Tigers have played with a renewed confidence that has gradually increased as the season grew long. On Saturday, the whole nation saw that Auburn is for real.
“All I know is that we beat the No. 1 team in the country and we are going to the SEC Championship Game,” Malzahn said. “They (Alabama) beat us 49-0 last year. It says a lot about our kids.”
Follow Jon Johnson on Twitter @eaglesportsed