Kick Six

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78th Iron Bowl
1 2 3 4 Total
Alabama 0 21 0 7 28
Auburn 7 7 7 13 34
Date November 30, 2013
Season 2013
Stadium Jordan–Hare Stadium
Location Auburn, Alabama
Favorite Alabama favored by 10[1]
Referee Matt Austin[2]
Attendance 87,451[2]
United States TV coverage
Network CBS[3]
Announcers Verne Lundquist (play-by-play)
Gary Danielson (color)
Tracy Wolfson (sideline)
Nielsen ratings 8.2

The Kick Six[4][5] (alternatively referred to as Kick Bama Kick, in reference to Punt Bama Punt)[6] refers to the final play of the 78th Iron Bowl college football game played on November 30, 2013 at Jordan–Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama. The game featured No. 1-ranked and two-time defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide (11–0, 7–0 in the SEC) as a 10-point favorite over the No. 4-ranked Auburn Tigers (10–1, 6–1 in the SEC). At stake was the outright SEC West title and a berth in the 2013 SEC Championship Game.[2][7]

The game was notable for its ending;[8][9] Auburn tied the game 28–28 with 32 seconds remaining.[2] With one second remaining in regulation, Alabama missed a 57-yard field goal. Auburn's Chris Davis caught the errant kick and returned it 100 yards (under NCAA rules) to the opposite end zone, scoring a touchdown; the runback tied LSU's Odell Beckham Jr.'s record-setting 100 yard return that same season.[2][10][11][12][13]

The game, which was televised by CBS, posted an 11.8 television rating during the final half-hour, which was the highest rating ever achieved during a college football broadcast at that time.[14] Some sports writers argued that Davis' play was the single greatest moment in college football history.[15][16][17][18]

Background[edit]

The two teams came into the game after very different 2012 seasons. Despite an upset at the hands of Texas A&M, the Crimson Tide ultimately finished as SEC Champions after a close game against the Georgia Bulldogs and went on to soundly defeat Notre Dame 42-14 for their second consecutive national title, their third in four years. Meanwhile, two years after their own National Championship, the Auburn Tigers suffered through their worst season in 60 years, finishing 3-9 with an abysmal 0-8 SEC record, capped by a 49-0 loss to Alabama in the 2012 Iron Bowl. Head coach Gene Chizik was fired in favor of Arkansas State coach Gus Malzahn.

Alabama entered the season ranked #1 and remained at the top of the polls for the entire season, rolling through their schedule with relative ease; they won all but one of their games by more than 10 points. Auburn, on the other hand, entered the season unranked and didn't enter the AP Poll until the midpoint of the season. Auburn's season was defined by a series of come-from-behind wins and miraculous plays. Auburn defeated Mississippi State in September on a late touchdown pass.[19] The following month, No. 24 Auburn came from behind to beat No. 7 Texas A&M and Johnny Manziel.[20] Two weeks before the Iron Bowl, No. 7 Auburn defeated rival Georgia with a miraculous tipped Hail Mary pass known as the "Prayer at Jordan–Hare.",[8] setting the stage for a highly ranked Iron Bowl matchup.

Alabama was predicted by analysts to conclude the 2013–14 season with a BCS record third straight national title, their fourth in five years.[21] The winner of the previous four Iron Bowls (2009–2012) went on to win the national championship: Alabama in 2009, 2011, and 2012; and Auburn in 2010.[22] Entering the 2013 Iron Bowl, with Alabama and Auburn ranked No. 1 and No. 4 respectively in the BCS standings, this was only the second matchup in the rivalry to feature two Top 5 teams, and the highest-ranked Iron Bowl ever. On November 27, 1971, No. 3 Alabama faced No. 5 Auburn at Legion Field in Birmingham, both teams undefeated.[23] Alabama was also undefeated in the last three years and 24 days in games played outside of their home field in Tuscaloosa, their last loss prior to those 18 consecutive road victories coming on November 6, 2010 at LSU.[24][25]

With Alabama favored by 10 points, Auburn was a decided underdog in the eyes of most analysts.[1] Marq Burnett of The Anniston Star went as far as to list seven reasons why Auburn could not beat Alabama including Alabama's tough run defense and unstoppable offense, even the superior coaching skills of Nick Saban over Gus Malzahn.[26] Joel Erickson of The Birmingham News was one of the few writers to pick Auburn, predicting a score of 31–28.[27] Similar predictions were shared during ESPN's College GameDay, which was broadcast live from outside Jordan–Hare Stadium prior to the game.[28] The program's panel of Kirk Herbstreit, David Pollack, and Lee Corso, as well as Paul Finebaum, unanimously picked Alabama to win the game.[28][29][30][31][32] Auburn alumnus and NBA on TNT personality Charles Barkley, who appeared as a special guest, went against the panel and chose Auburn to win the game.[33]

Coaches and players[edit]

  • Nick Saban (62), head coach for Alabama, entered the game with a 165–56–1 lifetime record over 18 seasons[34]
  • Gus Malzahn (48), head coach for Auburn, entered the game with a 19–4 lifetime record over 2 seasons[34]
  • Ellis Johnson (61), 1st-year defensive coordinator for Auburn, former Alabama defensive coordinator (1997–2000)
  • Chris Davis (senior), captain and cornerback for Auburn, returned the missed field goal by Adam Griffith 100 yards.
  • AJ McCarron (senior), three-year starting quarterback for Alabama, all-time passing leader in Crimson Tide history, Heisman candidate, then boyfriend and now husband of model Katherine Webb[25][35][36][37]
  • Nick Marshall (junior), first-year starting quarterback for Auburn
  • T. J. Yeldon (sophomore), running back for Alabama, entered game as the third-leading rusher in the Southeastern Conference in 2013.[38][39][40]
  • Tre Mason (junior), running back for Auburn, entered game as the leading rusher in the Southeastern Conference in 2013[38]
  • Amari Cooper (sophomore), wide receiver for Alabama
  • Sammie Coates (sophomore), wide receiver for Auburn, entered the game as the leading receiver in yards per catch in the Southeastern Conference in 2013[41]
  • Cade Foster (senior), placekicker for Alabama, entered the game ranked 2nd in the Southeastern Conference in 2013 with 91.7% success on field goals.[42]
  • Adam Griffith (freshman), back-up placekicker for Alabama, who was 1/2 for his collegiate career. He missed the final 57 yard field goal.[43]

Game recap[edit]

First quarter[edit]

Alabama received the opening kickoff and drove to the Auburn 34-yard line, but missed a 44-yard field goal.[2][21] Auburn's opening drive netted 20 yards and no points.[2] Alabama was then held to seven yards, going three-and-out.[2] Auburn then capped off a seven-play, 66-yard drive with a 45-yard touchdown run.[2] It was the Tigers' first offensive touchdown against Alabama since 2010.[44] The quarter ended with Auburn leading 7–0.[2]

Second quarter[edit]

Alabama scored on their first three possessions of the second quarter; the first was a 67-yard drive.[2] The second touchdown drive was 36-yards.[2] The third touchdown drive covered 56 yards. Alabama had scored 21 unanswered points.[2] Auburn scored late in the second quarter [2][2][21] and the Crimson Tide led, 21–14, at the half.[2]

Third quarter[edit]

Under Saban, Alabama had a record of 73–3 when leading at halftime.[21] Auburn received the kickoff in the second half and drove 69 yards to tie the game, 21–21.[2] Later in the quarter Alabama drove 88 yards to Auburn's 11 before the 3rd quarter came to a close.[2]

Fourth quarter[edit]

Alabama's drive came to a halt following two incomplete passes, and a false start penalty that moved the offense back five yards, nullifying the first successful field goal attempt of the game.[2][2][45] The Crimson Tide then missed their second field goal of the game.[2] Later in the quarter an Auburn punt was downed at the Alabama 1-yard line.[2] Alabama threw a 99-yard touchdown pass, giving Alabama a 28–21 lead with 10:28 remaining in the game.[2] It was the longest pass play in Crimson Tide football history.[46] With 2:41 left in the game, and trailing 28–21, Auburn drove to the Alabama 39 in six plays.[2]

Final 32 seconds[edit]

With 32 seconds remaining, Auburn scored on a 39-yard touchdown pass.[2][46][47] On the ensuing possession, with seven seconds left in the game, Alabama ran to Auburn's 38-yard line as T. J. Yeldon was knocked out of bounds by Chris Davis while the game clock expired. But Saban argued that Yeldon had stepped out of bounds with one second left in regulation.[47][48] Saban's argument was validated by the instant replay officials, who put one second back on the clock. Rather than take a knee and go to overtime, Alabama attempted to win the game with a 57-yard field goal and Auburn took a timeout.[2][21][49] Auburn's defensive coordinator, Ellis Johnson, doubted Alabama would make the long field goal and suggested that a defensive back stand in the end zone with the potential to return a missed field goal.[50] Malzahn then put punt returner Chris Davis in the end zone for the return.[6][9][21][50] As the field goal attempt fell short, Davis fielded the ball nine yards deep in the end zone and ran down the sideline.[6][13][21] With Alabama's field goal unit being made up mostly of offensive linemen, Davis ran all the way to the end zone to win the game 34–28.[6][13][21] It was unofficially the longest missed field goal return in NCAA history, tying a 109-yard return earlier in the 2013 season by Odell Beckham of LSU.[10][11][12][13] However, he was only credited with 100 yards; unlike the NFL, the NCAA does not count yardage inside the end zone for kick returns.

The crowd reaction registered on seismographs across the state of Alabama, in a manner similar to activity registered during the 1988 Auburn-LSU "Earthquake Game".[51]

Scoring summary[edit]

Scoring summary
Quarter Time Drive Team Scoring information Score
Plays Yards TOP Alabama Auburn
1 5:05 7 66 3:26 Auburn Nick Marshall 45-yard touchdown run, Cody Parkey kick good 0 7
2 11:00 11 67 4:33 Alabama Jalston Fowler 3-yard touchdown reception from AJ McCarron, Cade Foster kick good 7 7
2 7:12 4 36 1:57 Alabama Kevin Norwood 20-yard touchdown reception from AJ McCarron, Cade Foster kick good 14 7
2 3:48 5 56 1:41 Alabama T. J. Yeldon 1-yard touchdown run, Cade Foster kick good 21 7
2 1:40 7 81 2:08 Auburn Tre Mason 1-yard touchdown run, Cody Parkey kick good 21 14
3 11:56 9 69 3:04 Auburn C. J. Uzomah 13-yard touchdown reception from Nick Marshall, Cody Parkey kick good 21 21
4 10:28 1 99 0:14 Alabama Amari Cooper 99-yard touchdown reception from AJ McCarron, Cade Foster kick good 28 21
4 0:32 7 65 2:00 Auburn Sammie Coates 39-yard touchdown reception from Nick Marshall, Cody Parkey kick good 28 28
4 0:00 Auburn Chris Davis 100-yard kick return for a touchdown 28 34
"TOP" = time of possession. For other American football terms, see Glossary of American football. 28 34

Broadcaster calls[edit]

Lundquist's call of the last play:

Gary Danielson would later compare the game to the legendary Miracle on Ice, equating Auburn's upset of Alabama to the amateur USA hockey team defeating the powerhouse Soviet Union team during the 1980 Winter Olympics.[53] Danielson commented on the moment stating "I just think it's a once-in-a-lifetime thing and I'm very proud to have been a part of it."

Bramblett's call of the last play:

  • Commentators Eli Gold and Phil Savage called the game on radio for the Crimson Tide Sports Network.

Gold's call of the last play:

Statistics[edit]

Alabama failed to score on six of their last seven drives as they lost their first road game in over three years.[2][24][25] Alabama also missed 4 field goals in the game.[56]

McCarron finished with 277 yards passing and three touchdowns for the Crimson Tide while Auburn's Marshall completed 11 passes for 97 yards and two touchdowns, rushing for 99 yards and a third touchdown.[2] Neither quarterback threw an interception.

Alabama's Yeldon rushed for 141 yards and 1 touchdown while Mason amassed 164 yards and one touchdown for the Tigers, the most rushing yards for a single player against Alabama in 2013.[2][47] Cooper caught six passes for 178 yards for the Crimson Tide and Auburn's Coates finished with 60 yards receiving. 39 of Coates's 60 yards came on the game-tying touchdown and 99 of Cooper's 168 yards came on the 99 yard touchdown reception in the beginning of the 4th quarter.[2]

Auburn made 22 first downs while Alabama made 19.[2] The Tigers converted 53% of their third-down attempts while the Crimson Tide converted 31%.[2]

Aftermath[edit]

Auburn's win moved them to third in the BCS standings, ending Alabama's bid for a third straight national title.[57] The Tigers beat Missouri 59-42 in the SEC Championship Game. After #2 Ohio State's defeat by Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game later that same day, following the SEC Championship,[58] Auburn moved into second place and secured a place in the BCS National Championship Game, losing to the Florida State Seminoles 34–31. Auburn's loss ended the SEC's streak of seven national championships.[59] Auburn's Gus Malzahn won the SEC Coach of the Year award[60] and received a six-year contract extension worth $3.85m per year.[61] Alabama's AJ McCarron and Auburn's Tre Mason were 2013 Heisman Trophy finalists, but the award was won by Florida State QB Jameis Winston. In the postseason, Alabama lost to the Oklahoma Sooners 45-31 in the 2014 Sugar Bowl.

Yahoo! Sports columnist Pat Forde stated:

It was, quite simply, the most astounding ending ever to a college football game. I was at the Boise State-Oklahoma Fiesta Bowl in 2007; this tops it. More at stake, and even more shock value on the final play (minus the player proposing to his girlfriend on the field).[62]

An article in USA Today described the back-to-back victories with the analogy that lightning struck twice, the Georgia game being "one of the greatest finishes to a college football game" and the Alabama upset "perhaps the greatest play in college football history. The Birmingham News called the Auburn victory their "latest miracle finish ... even more stunning than the first."[46] The News & Record called the 2013 Iron Bowl possibly "the greatest college football game ever played."[63] The website "Sports on Earth" ranked the Kick Six game third in their list of the best college football games of all time.[64]

Naming the game[edit]

After the game, the press identified Alabama's Achilles' heel: the kicking game. In reference to their four unsuccessful field goal attempts, writers called the game "Kick Bama Kick," in reference to the 1972 Iron Bowl, nicknamed "Punt Bama Punt".[6] At 6:43 p.m., just 18 minutes after of the conclusion of the game, Jon Solomon of The Birmingham News posted an article titled "Kick Bama Kick", but included an online poll allowing readers to select their favorite moniker.[65] Among seven proposed titles, "Kick Bama Kick" won by a landslide. Ryan Black of the Ledger–Enquirer in Columbus, Georgia titled an article "Kick, Bama, kick" within hours of the game's completion.[6][13] Frank Cooney of Yahoo! Sports, who noted that the game will be "forever secured" in the discussion for the most dramatic college football game in history, also titled his piece "Kick Bama Kick" that evening.[48] One year after the game, Sports Illustrated, CBS Sports and Fox Sports referred to it as the "Kick Six".[66][67][68]

The term "Kick Six" is also used, in general, to refer to other instances of blocked or missed field goals being returned for a touchdown, such as one occurring in an NFL game on November 30, 2015, as performed by the Baltimore Ravens against the Cleveland Browns.[69]

Nominations and awards[edit]

At the 2014 ESPY Awards, recognizing the greatest achievements in 2013, the 2013 Iron Bowl won the award for "Best Game". The other two nominees were Game Five of the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals and the Indianapolis Colts first round playoff victory.[70][71]

The game-winning touchdown return was named "Best Play" at the 2014 ESPYs. The play beat three other nominees including the play near the end of the game against Georgia.[70][71]

Oddities[edit]

The crowd reaction to the game's final play registered on seismographs across the state of Alabama in a manner similar to activity registered during the 1988 Auburn-LSU "Earthquake Game".[51]

Cremated human remains were discovered on the field inside Jordan-Hare Stadium by Auburn's grounds crew the Monday following the game.[72]

During the post-game celebration on Pat Dye Field, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn's visor was stolen by a fan. The incident was caught on camera.[73] The thief later issued an apology,[74] however Auburn officials never responded to his offers to return the visor.[75] The sweater vest Malzahn wore during the game was later auctioned off for charity.[76]

A column on the game written the following week by Stanford student Winston Shi broke the single-day website traffic record for the Stanford Daily.[77]

References[edit]

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  57. ^ 2013 NCAA College Football Polls and Rankings for Week 15 - ESPN
  58. ^ Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Michigan State Spartans - Recap - December 07, 2013 - ESPN
  59. ^ 2013 NCAA College Football Polls and Rankings for Week 16 - ESPN
  60. ^ Tre Mason of Auburn , Michael Sam of Missouri earn SEC top honors - ESPN
  61. ^ Auburn Tigers coach Gus Malzahn gets raise, extension - ESPN
  62. ^ Forde, Pat (November 30, 2013). "Miracle men: Chris Davis' return lifts Auburn over Alabama and into college football lore". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  63. ^ "Kick Bama, Kick". News & Record. November 30, 2013. Retrieved December 1, 2013. 
  64. ^ [1]
  65. ^ Solomon, Jon (November 30, 2013). "Kick Bama Kick: Name Chris Davis' stunning Iron Bowl touchdown". The Birmingham News. Retrieved December 1, 2013. 
  66. ^ The other side of a miracle: Looking back at historic Iron Bowl a year later, Sports Illustrated
  67. ^ Remembering "Kick Six", CBS Sports
  68. ^ No. 1 Alabama avenges 'Kick Six,' beats No. 15 Auburn in Iron Bowl, Fox Sports
  69. ^ "Five things on the 'Kick Six' that led to Browns' latest defeat". ESPN.com. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  70. ^ a b Stieber, Zachary (July 16, 2014). "ESPY Awards 2014: Nominees List, Winners Predictions, Vote Info, Presenters, Host". Epoch Times. Retrieved July 18, 2014. 
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  72. ^ Cremated remains dumped on Pat Dye Field at Jordan-Hare Stadium after the Iron Bowl.
  73. ^ Did a kid steal Gus Malzahn’s visor off his head as students rushed the field after the Iron Bowl?: The War Eagle Reader
  74. ^ 'Holy crap what have I done!' Auburn fan who stole Gus Malzahn's visor issues apology, wants to return the hat: The War Eagle Reader
  75. ^ Despite emails, 15-year-old who took Gus Malzahn’s visor following Iron Bowl still hasn’t heard from Auburn: The War Eagle Reader
  76. ^ Vested Interest: Faith-based charity started by former Auburn equipment manager to auction off Gus Malzahn’s Iron Bowl sweater vest: The War Eagle Reader
  77. ^ Big Bang: Iron Bowl column sets readership record for Stanford’s student newspaper: The War Eagle Reader

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 32°36′9.391″N 85°29′20.3324″W / 32.60260861°N 85.488981222°W / 32.60260861; -85.488981222