History retold: “Kick Six”


Hyosub Shin/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/MCT

Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall (14) leaves the field as fans celebrate a 59-42 victory against Missouri in the SEC Championship game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013.

Noah Powers, Sports Editor

Nov. 30, 2013 is a day that will go down in history for some and live in infamy for others.

The 2013 college football season was wrapping up with Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State and Auburn, respectively, making up the top four heading into week 14. That week No. 1-ranked and defending national champion Alabama was slated for a matchup with fourth-ranked Auburn in the 78th Iron Bowl.

Auburn was the host; however, the Tigers had not managed to win one against the Crimson Tide on their home turf since 2007, making this a much-anticipated matchup for the home crowd. Meanwhile, the Tide had won four of their last five matchups with Auburn — a far cry from the Auburn of the early 2000s that went on a six-year win streak against its archrival.

The Tide was the clear favorite heading into that game, walking into Jordan-Hare Stadium with a projected 10-point advantage. However, no one could have predicted just how tight of a game it would turn out to be.

The Tigers picked up the only score of the first quarter, but it was a big one. Nick Marshall stormed 45 yards downfield to put an exclamation point on the contest early on.

Alabama generated some steam in the second quarter, scoring three consecutive red zone touchdowns. Auburn answered swiftly with another score of their own to make it 21-14 at the half. In the third quarter, the Tigers were once again the lone scorers making it 21-21 heading into the fourth.

Alabama’s A.J. McCarron threw a 99-yard pass to Amari Cooper less than five minutes into the fourth quarter to give the Tide a huge momentum boost late in the game. However, in a last-ditch effort, the Tigers managed to score with 32 seconds left via a 39-yard toss by Nick Marshall into open field allowing Sammie Coates to find the endzone.

28 all with 32 ticks to go.

Alabama made the most of what little time it had left, trudging all the way to the Auburn 39-yard line. All that stood between Alabama and yet another Iron Bowl win was 57 yards of turf. Cade Foster was generally the go-to for the Tide’s kicking corps, however, Foster missed all three of the field goals he attempted earlier in the game. Alabama head coach Nick Saban instead opted to play backup kicker Adam Griffith with one second to go.

As time expired, Griffith booted an accurate yet very short field goal into the endzone. This allowed Auburn’s Chris Davis to return the failed kick 109 to give the Tigers a 34-28 win in a play that went on to be dubbed the “Kick Six.” That win also allowed Auburn to win the SEC West championship and secured the Tigers a spot in the SEC championship game.

A clearly disheartened Saban had this to say after the matchup: “This is a tremendous rivalry, a great tradition, great fans, it was a great atmosphere and an opportunity for our team to play out there today. For the seniors that we have on our team, I feel really badly because they’ve had a great career here and done a fantastic job. Our fans have done a really good job. I’m really proud of how this team came along and improved throughout the course of this season.”

That year, Auburn also completed one of the best one-season turnarounds in history. In 2012, the Tigers went 3-9 (0-8 SEC) before head coach Gus Malzahn began coaching the program. In year one of Malzahn’s tenure at Auburn (2013), Auburn went 12-2 (7-1 SEC), won the SEC championship and earned a spot in the BCS National Championship game only to fall short three points to a stacked Florida State team.