Nov. 30, 2013
Chris Davis is heading toward the end zone and an Auburn victory in the Iron Bowl (Todd Van Emst photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. – Chris Davis had long run past all of Alabama, and was now running full steam toward an Auburn victory.
Teammate Robenson Therezie was providing an escort, but it wasn't needed. And Jonathon Mincy was so excited that Davis was running toward him that he turned and ran the final 20 yards backwards into the end zone while waiting on his teammate to get there.
Oh, then he jumped on Davis.
Davis officially ran 100 yards for the game-winner on the final play of Saturday's Iron Bowl when he took a long and misguided 57-yard field goal try and raced Auburn to a 34-28 victory in the Iron Bowl in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Mincy jumped on Davis. And then everybody jumped on everybody. The field instantly filled with tens of thousands of people who had watched the miracle Tigers pull off another miracle.
How odd was Davis' play? It would never have happened if the officials hadn't reviewed the previous play and put one second back on the clock that gave Alabama a chance to try the field goal. Otherwise, the game would have gone to overtime tied at 28-all. How odd was Davis' play? Ryan Smith was originally the deep man. But after Auburn called a timeout, Davis was sent deep.
How odd was Davis' play? Auburn had not practiced it.
"When I caught the ball, I knew I would have room to run and I knew they would have bigger guys on the field to protect for the field goal," Davis said.
Still, "when I looked back, I said, 'I can't believe this.' When I was running, I said, 'God is good.'"
When he was finished running, he was under Mincy and everybody else.
"I just know Mincy pulled me down and I was under the pile from there," Davis said.
Davis had to talk his way in the return game, at least with Gus Malzahn and special teams coach Scott Fountain. He had never returned a punt before this year. But he came in leading the nation in punt returns, averaging 22.5 yards a return.
"I thank Coach Malzahn and Coach Fountain for the opportunity to let me do something I did growing up," Davis said. "I knew I was good at it. I can't thank them enough. It's paying off for my team."
Davis returned one punt for minus 1-yard against Alabama. That can be forgiven. He returned the field goal forever.
"When I caught the ball, I tried to set up the return to make them think I was going one way, and go the other. I knew they big guys on the field, and I knew I could outrun them," Davis said.
Malzahn said he thought about trying to block the field goal.
"I knew we were going to call a timeout, anyway," Malzahn said. "The wind was going in that direction. The kicker has got a good leg. We just made a decision to put Chris back there. There were some very good blocks and made an unbelievable play at the end to win it.
"I saw it didn't have enough distance and my eyes got on Chris. You have the field goal team out there with a lot of big guys, so I knew he had to miss a couple of guys miss."
It was the second fantastic finish for Auburn. The Tigers beat Georgia in similar fashion the game before.
"Two weeks ago, the same thing happen. We do it for the fans," Davis said.
Video: Watch the play that beat Alabama...
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine