By Jeff Shearer
AUBURN, Ala. - Auburn receiver Ryan Davis played his best game on the biggest stage, with career highs in catches and yards in the Tigers' 26-14 Iron Bowl win over No. 1 Alabama.
His 11 receptions are Auburn's Iron Bowl record. With 69 catches this season, Davis broke Darvin Adams' single-season record of 60.
"Shout-out to Coach Burns, he's pushing me every day," Davis said of receivers coach Kodi Burns. "He's helping me in my development. I'm just taking coaching, and just waiting my time and my opportunity."
Four times on third down, Jarrett Stidham targeted Davis, who made all four catches with three resulting in first downs.
"Third down was very big going into this game," Davis said. "We knew they're a third-down team. They get people off the field. We knew we had to convert to win this game."
More than half of Stidham's 21 completions and 237 passing yards were to Davis.
"I love Ryan," said Auburn's quarterback. "He's a great person, great football player. He seems to get open a lot. I like throwing it to open people, and he's just always open. He's a hard worker. I'm just trying to get him the ball."
Auburn was 9 of 18 on third down, while Alabama was 3 of 11.
"I'm just so proud of our team and how far we've come," Davis said. "We just stayed the course and believed in each other, and I feel like everything is starting to pay off now."
"When we recruited Ryan, we knew he was a very talented young man," Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. "There's nothing like experience. He had two years under his belt. We challenged some of our older guys to step up and take the lead.
"We got him the football, and when you get him the football in space, he's really tough to handle. He's done a super job."
Davis and his SEC Western Division champion teammates will now head to Atlanta for a rematch with Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. That challenge will be addressed starting on Sunday. Saturday was a day, and a night, to savor.
"We knew we were playing for much more than ourselves," Davis said. "We were playing for alumni, fans. And just trying to get over that hump. That should help us going forward."
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @jeff_shearer