The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News 2

January 9, 2014

For Auburn, season lost, but not forgotten

PASADENA, Calif. — Auburn may have lost a game Monday night, but its dream season will always be remembered.

When Tre Mason was finally brought down on what looked like another improbable finish that might go the Tigers way, it closed the curtain on one of the most remarkable streaks in American sports history.

Who expected Auburn to be here a year ago when Gus Malzahn was hired? Who expected Auburn to be here just three months ago after losing to LSU three games into the season?

Not many, if any.

Auburn’s run to the national championship game is the most improbable and remarkable of the BCS Championship era. The same players who went 3-9 and didn’t win an SEC game a year ago are now champions.

Maybe not National Champions, but the list of what this team bounced back to accomplish is nothing short of a miracle.

Iron Bowl champs, Western Division Champs, SEC Champs and the opportunity to play in the Rose Bowl. And still, those titles don’t do justice to the way this team played and won games throughout the season.

Walking into the reigning Heisman trophy winner’s house and beating Texas A&M as two touchdown underdogs, pulling off the “Jordan-Hare Mary” to beat Georgia in the final minute of the game and the “Kick Six” to beat rival Alabama with one second to play.

Auburn proved that it takes more than talent to win a championship in D-1 football. Talented teams win titles, but it takes a depth and a little luck to even make it to the big game, much less win it.

And Auburn proved they were as good as any team in the country, going toe-to-toe with a team perceived as one of the best in the BCS era, setting an FBS record for 723 points scored.

A 10-point underdog entering the game, Auburn led undefeated FSU 21-3 just before halftime and by eight points entering the fourth quarter. Auburn reached the Florida State 40-yard line five times Monday night and scored three points total from those trips into Seminole territory.

The Tigers outgained Florida State by nearly 100 yards and sacked Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston four times.

In the end, it wasn’t enough as Florida State gave Auburn a dose of its own medicine with a late kickoff return TD and last second touchdown to win the game.

“We were just on the brink of making it one of those magical seasons, but there’s so many great things that we’ll take away.” said Malzahn after the game “I just told the seniors, they laid the ground work for our program moving forward. And our program is very bright right now.”

Tre Mason and Greg Robinson could leave early for the NFL draft in the coming days, but even so, Auburn would still return nine starters from an offense that set a school record for total offense and become the first SEC team to lead the nation in rushing at season’s end.

The future is bright for Auburn and Florida State, but there will never be a season quite like this one.

Auburn fans will always remember where they were when Ricardo Louis caught that deflection and jumping for joy when Chris Davis pulled off the unthinkable.

And standing in the end zone behind that final play, it looked to me and thousands of others holding their breath in the Rose Bowl that Mason might pull off one final miracle.

And who would have doubted them?

After all, it was miracles that got Auburn here in the first place.

1
Text Only
Local News 2
  • Prep Football Preview: Elkmont

    The Red Devils return 15 starters with more than two-dozen juniors and seniors who have played significant minutes on the depth chart.

    July 31, 2014

  • West Limestone’s Siniard picks Southern Miss

    Siniard committed to the Golden Eagles Saturday after visiting the campus in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The 6-foot-4-inch, 290-pound offensive and defensive tackle has started for the varsity since he was a freshman.

    July 30, 2014

  • tractor*pull!2!.jpg TRACTOR PULL: A new generation takes over in Tanner

    One of the first families of the Tanner pull is the Haneys. Horace Haney, along with brother, Shirley, co-founded the event in 1976 that draws thousands to the county each year. The sons of those pulling pioneers now run the show.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Clay! Haney!.jpg Clay Haney follows in father’s footsteps

    After watching his dad pull for the past 20 years, Clay finally got his chance. Although he has pulled multiple times over the years, this will be the first year to compete for points in the Mid-South Pullers Association.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • North win streak improves to 12

    The South last won 85-76 in in 2002.

    July 24, 2014

  • Local athletes lead North to soccer sweep

    East Limestone’s Dilan Sayer scored the opening goal and was named MVP of the boys game in a 3-0 win while Jordan Runion scored her team’s opening goal in a 3-1 for the girls.

    July 23, 2014

  • Davidson helps North tie

    She was one of only three North players to record a hit in the opener, which ended 3-3.
    Pitching duties were shared by Lexington’s Jessie Butler, Central-Florence’s Ashley Irons and Hartselle’s Jada Hayes along with eventual North MVP Maddie Moore of Winfield.

    July 23, 2014

  • Tedford, Potts take on the South in All-Star hoops game

    Stace Tedford has had a busy year at Athens. After leading the basketball team to a school-record 24 consecutive wins and regional finals appearance, he jumped straight into soccer season, where he took the varsity girls soccer team to another 5A state championship game.
    Wednesday, Tedford will be on the court again, coaching in the North-South All-Star basketball game.

    July 23, 2014

  • Strong local presence at state All-Star Week

    Some of the top rising seniors from the Athens-Limestone area will play in six of the games, beginning with softball and soccer games Tuesday.

    July 19, 2014

  • Chris Seibert -1996.jpg Before politics, Seibert played for the Tide

    A standout on West Limestone’s football team, Seibert’s road to Tuscaloosa wasn’t an easy one. Determined to play at the highest level, he attempted to join the Tide as a walk-on in fall 1993.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

Photos


Poll

Which foreign crisis is the biggest threat to the security of the United States?

Russia-Ukraine
Israel-Palestine
Iraq
None of the above
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee