The Top 10 Iron Bowls of All Time

  1. 1967 – Alabama 7, Auburn 3

Any Iron Bowl list just wouldn’t be complete unless the great Kenny Stabler was mentioned. Stabler’s famous “Run in the Mud” was a finger-pointing, gut-checking, earth-splashing 53-yarder to beat Auburn in 1967. It is perhaps the greatest run in the Auburn-Alabama football rivalry and certainly the most iconic. After the game, “Bear” Bryant commented on the replay: “I could watch that all night.”

  1. 1964 – Alabama 21, Auburn 14

This was the first nationally televised Iron Bowl, and with stars like Joe Namath and Tucker Frederickson (and a fedora-wearing “Bear” Bryant), it was lined in pure gold.

Auburn had been touted in the preseason as the No. 1 team in the country by Sports Illustrated, but did not live up to expectations that year as a number of injuries stymied the Tigers’ hopes for national supremacy. Frederickson ran all over the Tide, and would later suggest that they whipped Bama all over the field except for on the scoreboard.

Alabama improved to 10-0 and went on to win the AP and UPI national championships.

  1. 1996 – Alabama 24, Auburn 23

In this contest held at Legion Field, Bama jumped out to an early 17-0 lead before a three-quarter scoring drought left Tide fans silent and shell-shocked. In the meantime, Auburn grabbed the game by the nape of the neck, scored 20 unanswered, and led at halftime 20-17. Alabama could not move the ball until late in the fourth quarter, when magic appeared in the form of quarterback Freddie Kitchens and running back Dennis Riddle. Kitchens hit Riddle on a screen pass, and Riddle scampered into the end zone for a 24-23 victory. Alabama capped off Gene Stallings’ last season with the Tide with a victory over Michigan in the Outback Bowl.

  1. 2009 – Alabama 26, Auburn 21

Alabama was undefeated and a heavy favorite coming into this contest at Auburn, but the Tigers pounced early with two razzle-dazzle touchdowns (and an onside kick) to go up 14-0. Alabama charged back behind quarterback Greg McElroy, running backs Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson, and receiver Julio Jones. But it would be third-stringer Roy Upchurch who would steal the day. Trailing 21-20, Alabama marched 79 yards to set up a third-and-3 inside Auburn’s 5-yard line. McElroy faked the handoff and went play action to Upchurch for the win.

  1. 1989 – Auburn 30, Alabama 20

In this inaugural Iron Bowl game held at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Pat Dye stared across the sideline at Alabama’s Bill Curry. The Tide were undefeated coming into the contest, but a stalwart Auburn defense led by linebacker Quentin Riggins stymied Bama quarterback Gary Hollingsworth and the Tide. Led by quarterback Reggie Slack and running back James Joseph, Auburn stacked up 30 points against the Tide and secured the win for the Auburn faithful, 30-20.

  1. 1982 – Auburn 23, Alabama 22

Vincent Edward Jackson, otherwise known as “Bo,” ended a nine-year spell of Alabama dominance and ushered in the grittiest era of the Alabama-Auburn rivalry with a leap to victory in the 1982 Iron Bowl. Auburn head coach Pat Dye had been hired from Wyoming in 1981 and brought a fearless mojo with him—along with the big running back from McAdory High School in Birmingham.

Trailing 22-17 in the fourth quarter, Auburn needed a defensive stop to set up late heroics. They got it, and with 4:30 left on the clock, the drive began.

On a fourth-and-1, Bo dove over the pile but had to barrel roll into the end zone after an Alabama defender seemed to have him plugged up.

Auburn intercepted a pass on Alabama’s final drive to seal the win.

  1. 1972 – Auburn 17, Alabama 16

In retrospect, folks might neglect the fact that Auburn was 8-1 going into the game against the 10-0 Tide squad. Alabama was resting comfortably with a 16-0 lead before Bill Newton and David Langner unleashed hijinks. After an Auburn field goal to make it 16-3, Bama was forced to punt. Greg Gantt lined up to punt, but Newton and a convoy of white jerseys slipped through the line blocked the punt attempt. Langner scooped it up around the 25 and ran it in. Alabama 16, Auburn 10. Minutes later, déjà vu happened all over again, as Yogi Berra once said. Newton blocked another Gantt punt and Langner ran it in for another Tiger touchdown. Langner later sealed the game with an interception of Bama quarterback Terry Davis. Auburn won, 17-16, but Alabama would win avenge the loss each year for nine years in a row.

  1. 2010 –  Auburn 28, Alabama 27

It was pure pandemonium in Bryant-Denny Stadium in late November 2010. Alabama rocketed out to a 24-0 lead, dominating on both sides of the ball, before a late second-quarter touchdown pulled Auburn within 17 at the break. Then the Cam Newton show began. Auburn scored on its first possession of the second half to make it 24-14. Alabama managed only a second-half field goal, and Newton hit Philip Lutzenkirchen in the end zone for the winning touchdown.

  1. 2013 – Auburn 34, Alabama 28

Yes, it was the play of the century. Chris Davis’s incredible 108-yard “Kick 6” return to upend Alabama on the final play of the game, with 1 second remaining. As Davis charged down the sideline, the Auburn coaching staff was bounding up and down the sideline like little kids. Announcer Rod Bramblett made the call:

“There goes Davis! Davis is gonna run it all the way back! Auburn’s gonna win the football game!”

Fans quickly leapt over the hedges and stormed the field. Auburn simultaneously ended Alabama’s national title hopes and kicked the door open for an eventual SEC Championship and a shot at Florida State for the title. They lost, but “Got a second?” stickers were still boasted on the bumpers of cars.

  1. 1985 – Alabama 25, Auburn 23  

It would become known as simply “The Kick.” Van Tiffin, now a specialist in motor homes, wrote his name into the annals of Alabama history with an incredible 52-yard kick to beat Auburn. There were four lead changes in the fourth quarter alone before Tiffin booted the ball through the uprights and sent Alabama to a victory. Bama finished at 9-2-1 and beat USC in the Aloha Bowl.

So there you have it. The Top 10 Iron Bowls of all-time. How do you rank them? H&A

 

Cover photo: Roy Upchurch snags a screen pass in the 2009 Iron Bowl | Courtesy Alabama athletics 

 

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