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Series Preview: Alabama vs. Auburn



Nov. 26, 2008

Iron Bowl History Photo Gallery


TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama Crimson Tide and Auburn Tigers meet in the 73rd Iron Bowl on Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. Alabama holds a 38-33-1 lead in a series that dates back to the 1892 season. The Crimson Tide and Tigers first met on Feb. 22, 1893 at Birmingham's Lakeview Park with the Tigers claiming a 32-22 win in the inaugural meeting. Auburn brings a six-game series winning streak into Saturday's game, the longest in series history by the Tigers.  Their previous long was a five-game winning streak over Alabama from 1954-58. Alabama owns the longest series winning streak at nine games from 1973-81. Alabama's last win in the series was a 31-7 victory in Auburn on Nov. 17, 2001. Andrew Zow completed 22 of 29 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns in the win. Santonio Beard (20-199-2) and Ahmaad Galloway (14-127-0) both eclipsed 100 yards rushing in the win.

The Crimson Tide earned its first series win in 1894, claiming an 18-0 victory over the Tigers. Auburn built a 6-1 series lead after a four-game winning streak from 1895-1902, in which the Tigers outscored the Crimson Tide, 141-5. Alabama answered the Tigers winning streak with a 3-1-1 mark over the next five meetings, ending with a 6-6 tie in 1907.  The Crimson Tide posted victories in 1903 (18-6), 1905 (30-0) and 1906 (10-0), while Auburn won in 1904 (29-5). Following a 6-6 tie after the 1907 season, Alabama and Auburn would not play football again for 41 seasons.

When the series finally resumed in 1948, the Tide emerged as a 55-0 winner at Birmingham's Legion Field.  After the Tigers eked out a 14-13 victory in 1949, Alabama rebounded to win the next four meetings from 1950-53. The next five years (1954-58) momentum swung to Auburn's side of the state as the Tigers put together a five-game winning streak, its longest in the series history. Auburn posted easy wins over the Tide in 1954 (28-0), 1955 (26-0), 1956 (34-7) and 1957 (40-0) before "Mama called" and Paul Bryant took over the coaching reigns at Alabama. After losing by an average of 30 points per game from 1954-57, the Tide lost by only six points (14-8) in Bryant's first meeting with the Tigers. If not for a fourth quarter interception on the Tide's potential winning touchdown drive in 1958, Bryant's team may have pulled off the upset. Following that narrow loss, Bryant directed Alabama to four straight wins over the Tigers (1959-62), outscoring its arch-rival, 85-0.

Alabama dominated the series from 1959-68, winning nine of 10 games, including five in a row from 1964-68.  A 10-8 Auburn upset of Alabama during the 1963 season kept the Tide from reeling off 10 straight wins over its in-state nemesis.  In 1963, reserve quarterback Mailon Kent came off the bench to lead Auburn to victory. The Pat Sullivan-to-Terry Beasley combination proved costly to the Tide in 1969-70, snapping Alabama's five-game winning streak. In 1969, Auburn defeated Alabama 49-26, and followed with a 33-28 win in 1970.  In 1969, UA signal caller Scott Hunter out dueled Sullivan, but the Tiger star won the game.  Hunter completed 30 of 55 passes for 469 yards in a losing effort for the Tide.  Hunter's marks all remain in the Alabama record books as single-game records. In 1970, Alabama halfback Johnny Musso carried the ball a school-record 42 times for 221 yards in a loss to the Tigers. The following year, Sullivan brought his Heisman Trophy award to Legion Field, but lost to the Crimson Tide before a national television audience, 31-7. Musso, who came to the game on crutches with a sore big toe, ran the ball 31 times for 167 yards and two TDs as Alabama beat Auburn, 31-7.  He was named Associated Press' National Back of the Week for his efforts against the Tigers. In 1972, Auburn pulled off a stunning 17-16 win over the second-ranked Crimson Tide.  Alabama outgained Auburn (the Tigers had only 57 yards of offense) in total offense and led 16-3 late in the game, when lightning struck not once, but twice. Bill Newton blocked two consecutive Gregg Gantt punts and David Langer scooped them both up and scored two fourth quarter touchdowns as Auburn pulled off the upset.

Alabama got revenge in 1973, winning 35-0, and beginning a decade of domination over the Tigers. The win in 1973 began a nine-game series winning streak by the Crimson Tide. It is the longest winning streak in series history. Alabama won all nine games by an average of 16.5 points per game.  Alabama also posted shutout wins in 1973 (35-0) and 1975 (28-0). The 1975 game marked the final Alabama-Auburn game for Tiger coaching legend Ralph "Shug" Jordan. The Tide's most narrow margin of victory was a 17-13 win in 1974.  After four straight double-digit wins (1975-78), the Crimson Tide rallied from a fourth quarter deficit to defeat Auburn, 25-18, in 1979.  Steadman Shealy's run with eight minutes left in the game, preserved Alabama's first undefeated regular-season since 1971. The 1981 game will go down as the most memorable day in this state's sports history on Saturday, Nov. 28, 1981, Alabama defeated Auburn 28-17 to make legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant the winningest coach in major college football history. The Tide's fourth quarter rally gave the "Bear" his 315th coaching victory moving him ahead of Amos Alonzo Stagg as the winningest coach in college football.  The game also marked the first meeting between Coach Bryant and former assistant coach Pat Dye, the first-year Auburn coach. 

Auburn ended Alabama's winning streak with a 23-23 win in 1982.  Despite out-gaining the Tigers, Alabama lost to its arch-rival for the first time since 1972. AU freshman halfback Bo Jackson scored the winning touchdown on a fourth-and-goal from the UA 1-yard line. Jackson and Auburn made it two in a row the following year, 23-20.  Jackson rushed for 258 yards and scored two touchdowns before heavy rains and the threat of a tornado hovered over Legion Field for the final quarter. In 1984 and 1985, Alabama gained the upper-hand winning two games decided by field goals on the final play.  In 1984, Auburn's Robert McGinty missed a 35-yarder in the final 30 seconds as Alabama upset Auburn, 17-15. In 1985, junior Van Tiffin nailed a 52-yard field goal as time expired to give Alabama a dramatic 25-23 win.  The lead changed hands four times in the final 15 minutes with Tiffin's field goal providing the winning margin. Auburn won four straight games over Alabama from 1986-89, including a 30-20 decision in the first meeting at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

In Gene Stallings' first year as head coach (1990), Alabama ended Auburn's run with a 16-7 win. The victory made Stallings the first coach to win his Alabama-Auburn debut since Harold "Red" Drew directed the Tide to a 55-0 rout in 1948, the first meeting between the two schools since 1907. The 1992 game marked the final game for Auburn coach Pat Dye, who announced his retirement from coaching.  The former assistant coach at Alabama under Paul Bryant, suffered his only career shutout (17-0) in the final game of his career.  In 1993, Auburn capped a perfect season with a 22-14 win over the Crimson Tide at Jordan-Hare Stadium.  Trailing 14-8 in the third quarter, Patrick Nix, subbing for the injured Stan White, completed a 35-yard TD pass on fourth down, cutting Alabama's lead to 14-12 with six minutes left in the third quarter.  Auburn won the game with 10 fourth quarter points, including a 70-yard run by James Bostic with just over two minutes to play. In 1994, Alabama jumped out to a 21-0 halftime lead and held the Tigers on a fourth-down play in the final period to win 21-14. The following year, the Tigers won 31-27 at Jordan-Hare Stadium, as Alabama's fourth quarter drive ended on a fourth down near the Tigers' 20-yard line. In 1996, Alabama defeated the Tigers in coach Gene Stallings' final regular-season game as the Tide's head coach. The seven-year Tide mentor announced his retirement after the Tide's emotional 24-23 win over the Tigers. Freddie Kitchens' six-yard touchdown pass to Dennis Riddle with 32 seconds to play provided the winning margin.

In 1997, Alabama (4-6 record) played its most inspired game of the season, and if not for a fumble in the final minute of the game, would have pulled off the series' biggest upset since 1972.  After the Ed Scissum fumble, Auburn moved into field goal range when Jaret Holmes nailed the game-winner giving the Tigers an 18-17 win and sending the home crowd into a frenzy. In 1998,  Auburn, playing its most inspired game of the season, jumped out to a quick 17-0 lead over the Crimson Tide, but could not hold on to the lead. Alabama cut the deficit to 17-14 at halftime and cruised in the second half to an easy 31-17 win. The 31 points scored by Alabama were the most in the series since the Tide scored a 34-18 win in 1980. Alabama registered it's first-ever win in Jordan Hare Stadium with 28-17 to clinch the SEC Western Division title in 1999. Kindal Moorehead's third-quarter sack, which resulted in a safety, ignited the Crimson Tide. Shaun Alexander rushed for over 100 yards in the final quarter and added three TDs for the Crimson Tide.

The 2000 game was played in Tuscaloosa for the first time since 1901 as Auburn posted a 9-0 win.  Three Damon Duval field goals were all the scoring the two teams could muster on a cold, dreary day in Bryant-Denny Stadium. It was the first shutout since 1992 when Alabama blanked Auburn, 17-0.  It marked the Tigers' first shutout of the Crimson Tide since a 10-0 win in 1987.  In addition, the 2000 game marked the first time since 1960 that neither team scored a touchdown.  Alabama posted a 3-0 win in that 1960 clash. The 2000 Iron Bowl also marks the last time the Crimson Tide has been shutout. 

Alabama made it two in a row at Jordan-Hare Stadium with a 31-7 victory in 2001.  Andrew Zow led the Crimson Tide offense in the air, while Ahmaad Galloway and Santonio Beard ran for more than 100 yards each in the Crimson Tide's most-lopsided win since a 48-21 victory at Legion Field in 1977. For his efforts, Zow was named the SEC Player of the Week. Auburn has won the last six meetings, including last year's 17-10 win on the Plains.