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College Classic Rewind: ‘Bama wins Iron Bowl on Last-Second FG 4

Posted on November 22, 2011 by A.J. Foss

The rivalry between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Auburn Tigers is one of the most storied and intense rivalries in all of college football.

There have been many great games in the series known as the “Iron Bowl” such as Ken Stabler’s “Run in the Mud” in 1967 or Auburn returning two blocked punts for touchdowns in the 1972 “Punt, Bama, Punt”.

Another memorable chapter occurred in 1985 in a game that is simply known as “The Kick”, referring to Van Tiffin’s game-winning 52-yard field goal as time expired to give Alabama the victory.

The Crimson Tide entered the 1985 “Iron Bowl” with a 7-2-1 record but unranked in the AP Poll as they were led by third-year head coach Ray Perkins, the successor to Bear Bryant who retired following the 1982 season.

Perkins had not exactly endeared himself to the Tide faithful as he had gone a modest 20-12-1 during his tenure in Tuscaloosa which included the first losing season for Alabama in 27 years with a 5-6 season in 1984.

With Mike Shula, the nation’s second most efficient passer, and all-American linebacker Cornelius Bennett, ‘Bama fans hoped that brighter days were ahead and that the Tide would soon back as one of the country’s most elite programs.

The Tide were underdogs to the #7 ranked Auburn Tigers who entered the game with a 8-2 record after starting the season as the #1 team before a loss in September to Tennessee.

The Tigers were coached by Pat Dye, who took over in Auburn in 1981 and led the Tigers to a 23-22 victory over ‘Bama in the 1982 “Iron Bowl” to snap the Tigers’ nine-game losing streak to the Tide.

In that game, freshman running back Bo Jackson scored the winning touchdown as he went “over the top” to score the one-yard touchdown run that gave Auburn the victory.

Jackson ran for 256 yards in Auburn’s 1983 victory over Alabama, but missed a block on a 4th-and-1 from the one-yard line that cost the Tigers dearly in the 1984 “Iron Bowl” as they lost to the Tide 17-15.

Jackson was in the hunt for the Heisman Trophy in 1985 as he had rushed for 1,644 yards and scored 16 touchdowns in the Tigers’ first 10 games of the season, but broke two ribs in the game against Georgia two weeks earlier.

Despite the pain, Jackson would play and help contribute to one of the greatest “Iron Bowls” ever played. Read the rest of this entry →

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      Drew Pearson

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former NFL wide receiver know as “Mr. Clutch” for his penchant for making big receptions at crucial moments of the game. After waiting for more than 30 years, he is finally earning his rightful place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the 2021 Hall of Fame Class.

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      The favorite target of Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, Pearson was widely recognized as one of the great receivers of his era. Though at the time of his retirement many expected Pearson to easily breeze into the Hall of Fame, his enshrinement was derailed by changes to the game which artificially inflated receiver stats and made the numbers he produced during a time when wide receivers weren’t catching 100 passes a season seem inferior.

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