What goes up, must come down in Jason Smith's hands in the Iron Bowl
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — It would have been a play worthy of a name on the spot.
Maybe the Prayer in Jordan-Hare? Alas, taken. Maybe Kick Six? Already claimed. But the Jeremy Johnson 77-yard Auburn touchdown pass to Jason Smith was something special, especially the way Smith tipped it to himself not once, but twice, all racing at full speed down the middle of the field.
A name for the tip play may never be recorded, since Alabama beat the Tigers 29-13 Saturday in the Iron Bowl.
"As I was running," Smith recalled, "I was like, 'No way.' I couldn't hear anything until I got into the end zone."
Smith said he had a feeling something good was coming after receivers coach Dameyune Craig told him before the game that "I was going to make a play.
"Coach put me in a position to make a play. He believed in us, and we're going to believe in you."
Fellow receiver Ricardo Louis watched it all, thinking back to how he scored against Georgia in 2013 with a tip catch of his own in the Prayer in Jordan-Hare.
"As soon as it happened, I was thinking about it," Louis said. "Everybody was like 'Oh! Ricardo Louis 2.0!' He just made a good play. I think his was probably better than mine. You know great focus. He did a good job of just reeling it in for the touchdown."
Smith led Auburn with two catches for 82 yards. Johnson was 10 of 23 passing for 169 yards. The longest play was for each was the touchdown toss.
"Early in the game we had the same play, and I had to scramble for a first down," Johnson said. "We saw we had the same play and it was really just giving Jason a chance to make a play, which he did."
Johnson played the entire game in his seventh start of the season. Sean White didn't play because of lingering knee and foot injuries. Johnson said the offense had opportunities down the stretch.
"I felt like we we're getting better each and every game. I feel like we did that," Johnson said. "I feel like our team fought hard in this game."
Johnson said Auburn's defense continued to improve.
"They got better from the middle of the season down," Johnson said. "My hat's off to them for giving us a chance in this game. We just didn't make the plays we needed to make."
Now, "we're just trying to get this bowl game win for the seniors, send them out on a good note and get some momentum going to next year."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine