By Jeff Shearer
ATLANTA - Needing 18 inches to score the game-winning touchdown, Pat Dye expressed his preference for which play to call. Pat Sullivan, Auburn’s offensive coordinator in the 1990 Peach Bowl, had a different idea.
On fourth-and-goal, redshirt freshman quarterback Stan White scored his second rushing TD of the game, giving Auburn a 27-23 win over Indiana.
“We called timeout and Coach Dye on the sideline, he’s a 3 yards and a cloud of dust type of guy,” White said. “We’re fourth-and-goal on the half-yard line. He made the statement, “We’ve got a 225-pound running back, if we can’t get a half a yard, we don’t deserve to win.’
“And Coach Sullivan called the bootleg, a fake toss sweep, and it came open. They all crashed down, trying to tackle the tailback and I was able to walk in. It was muddy and nasty. I just had to keep my feet.”
Playing in a cold rain in Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, White did not remind anyone of Bo Jackson on his game-winning run.
“I get made fun of a lot of times,” White said. “‘Man, that’s the longest half-yard run you’ve ever had.’ I said, ‘Hey, as long as I was a second faster than the guy chasing me.’
“Coach Sullivan called a great game. We threw for about 350 yards against a really good Indiana team. Trent Green was their quarterback, so it was a really fun game. The weather wasn’t very agreeable and we were able to come out with a victory and I got one of those unusual bootleg touchdowns to end the game.”
White reminisced Sunday during a Tiger Talk broadcast from the College Football Hall of Fame, where the Auburn Football Lettermen Club hosted a reunion for the Tigers’ five previous Peach Bowl teams.
“Atlanta’s always been a great and welcoming city for Auburn.”
Stan White breaks down tomorrow’s @CFAPeachBowl matchup.
27 years ago today, Stan scored game-winning TD in @AuburnFootball first 🍑 Bowl appearance.@AUSportsNetwork Tiger Talk from 3-5 p.m. ET today at @cfbhall pic.twitter.com/tkJ865ac3G
— Jeff Shearer (@jeff_shearer) December 31, 2017
Monday’s 11:30 a.m. CT matchup with UCF will be Auburn’s sixth Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl appearance. Auburn’s Peach Bowl record is 4-1. The Tigers’ most recent Atlanta bowl trip was a 43-24 win on New Year’s Eve in 2011.
“Growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, being a high school athlete, the No. 1 thing we wanted to do as a team was make it to the Georgia Dome and play in the state championship,” said former Auburn linebacker Justin Garrett, a freshman in 2011.
“Being able to come back and play in my home town and have family and friends in attendance was probably the most memorable thing of the Chick-fil-A Bowl, outside of winning the game and celebrating with my teammates,” he said.
Former defensive lineman Jeffrey Whitaker (2010-14) played in the Fiesta, Rose and Outback Bowls, but ranks the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl as No. 1.
“It was the best bowl experience I ever had,” Whitaker said. “The Chick-fil-A bowl gives you options. When you’re doing media and you have four things to do, and one of those options is to come back to your room and go to sleep, you appreciate things like that.”
Trailing 14-7 early in the second quarter, Auburn scored three touchdowns before the half and cruised to a 19-point victory.
“I remember there was a lot of trash talk,” Whitaker said. “They were feeling very highly of themselves and we humbled them.”
The 2017 Tigers will try to add another Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl win on New Year’s Day at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, hoping to knock off an undefeated team for the third time in five games.
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @jeff_shearer