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Earth calling Auburn, please return: It's on to title game

Dec. 3, 2013

The crowd, and Aubie, went wild after Auburn beat Alabama in Jordan-Hare Stadium (Lauren Barnard photo)

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala. -- Chris Davis received a standing ovation when he walked into his geology class Monday.

Chris Davis, welcome to Auburn football lore. 

It was Davis who returned a missed field goal 100 yards on the last play of the game that stunned Alabama 34-28 last Saturday, and now it is Davis, as well as everybody else, who must put one of the most dramatic plays in college football history behind him. 

There's still work to do for Auburn, and it continues Saturday when the Tigers play Missouri for the Southeastern Conference championship in Atlanta. 

Earth calling Auburn. Please return. 

"That is our biggest challenge as a team," says Auburn coach Gus Malzahn. "It was a very emotional win. It was a physical game, but we have to put it behind us and we have to put all of our attention on Missouri. 

"We are talking about a top five team and a chance to win the SEC Championship. Every time we have challenged this team this year, they have risen to the occasion. They were pretty locked in last night at practice." 

Auburn came into the Alabama game coming off a similar thrilling win. The Tigers beat Georgia 43-38 when a Nick Marshall pass bounced off a Bulldog defender and right into the hands of Ricardo Louis, who scored with 25 seconds left. 

But Auburn was off the next week. The Tigers had two weeks to get their minds set to play Alabama. This time, it's one week to play for the SEC title. 

"I think any time you have a week to get over the emotion of a game, it definitely helps," Malzahn said. "This is a challenge that is a little bit different. We only have one week. I really believe that any chance you get to go to Atlanta and you are playing for the SEC Championship, which is everyone’s goal in this league, you shouldn’t be distracted. You should be focusing up, and I really believe our players will." 

Auburn has done it most every week, finishing the regular season at 11-1, the same record as Missouri. 

Malzahn said he's been impressed with his team "whether it is adversity and that ability to win, and the way they have handled it after big wins. 

"I think back to the Texas A&M game. That was a very emotional game for us. I was concerned how we would respond the next week and the guys came out and played well and were very focused. We need to do that same thing again. 

"I think it is unique that you have teams that believe they are going to win no matter how bad it looks. They still have bright eyes and belief in each other and that is what our guys have found a way to do. We talked all week before last week’s game that we have to get it close to the fourth quarter and we will win the game. And they believed it and they found a way to do it. 

“I think any time you win 11 games in this league -- the best league in college football -- you have to be a pretty good team. Teams that find a way to win, that is rare. Our team has found different ways to win and I am very proud of them."

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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