It was the kind of finish you had to see to believe -- and even then, you may not believe it.
Alabama was the best team in the country. Everyone knew it (including the Tide), and while Auburn and Missouri were tougher than the previous teams on the schedule, the Tide were simply a superior team to both of them, especially on the lines. With how things have gone this year and the fall of Oregon, it was hard to imagine Alabama losing before their inevitable matchup with Florida State in the title game.
And then, the Iron Bowl happened.
Up 28-21 with a minute left to play, Alabama looked like it had things under control. Even though the Tigers had possession, the Tide's defense had done a fine job containing Auburn's big play potential since the first quarter. Nick Marshall executed a perfect play-action zone read, faking out the defense and tossing the ball to Sammie Coates just before he crossed the line of scrimmage. Coates took the ball all the way to the end zone, tying the game at 28-28 with 32 seconds left to play.
Alabama got the ball with about half-a-minute left, and with seven seconds to play T.J. Yeldon broke off a 24-yard run into Auburn territory. Nick Saban was able to call the timeout with one second left on the clock, leaving Cade Foster with a 57-yard field goal attempt. It fell short, Chris Davis caught it in the back of the end zone, and the rest was history.
Chris Fuhrmeister from College and Magnolia was simply shocked by the game's conclusion, and may have, at least partially, lost his mind:
THERE IS NOTHING THAT NO ONE WHO WATCHES SPORTS THAT COMPARES TO WHAT JUST HAPPENED IN JORDAN-HARE STADIUM. THE GAME WAS GOING INTO OVERTIME. AND THEN NICK SABAN LOBBIED TO GET AN EXTRA SECOND PUT BACK ON THE CLOCK. AND THEN HE TRIED TO KICK AFTER ALABAMA HAD MISSED THREE FIELD GOALS IN THE GAME. THAT'S HOW IT PLAYED OUT. THAT'S WHAT HAPPENED. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN? WHERE ARE WE AND WHAT IS THIS EXISTENCE. ARE SPORTS CANCELED FROM HERE ON OUT, OR DO WE CALL SPORTS SOMETHING ELSE FROM NOW ON? BECAUSE NOTHING ANYONE EVER WATCHES THAT IS LABELED AS "SPORTS" WILL EVER BE IN THE SAME UNIVERSE AS THE 2013 IRON BOWL. AUBURN 34, ALABAMA 28 IS SOMETHING ELSE.
Roll Bama Roll was also shocked by the conclusion, with the sudden realization of three-peat dreams ending on one, unbelievable play:
Alabama just lost a football game that it had no business losing to a team it had no business losing to on two fluky TDs in the last 32 seconds. As a fan, it hurts. As a player, it undoubtedly hurts worse. I'm sure at some point this game will be looked upon as an example of a great rivalry, a reason to "throw out the record books" when Alabama and Auburn meet. For Bama fans, that day is not today and likely won't come for a while. For now all we are left with is the reality that this season, this team that is widely considered the best in the land, will finish with no hardware of any kind and left to ponder where it all went awry.
Like the rest of us, Spencer Hall watched Auburn die, and so it naturally came as a surprise to him when the Tigers not only survived the game, but ended up winning:
There are five bullet holes in your jersey and singe marks on your pants. Those marks on your helmet are ... machete? Broadsword? Those bullet holes are right in the middle of your chest, where you would shoot a man to end his life. And yet here you are, unperforated and unbleeding except for that ... we're not even going to talk about what kind of animal left those teeth marks on your ass. They're bigger than a dog's, smaller than a shark's. Possibly rabid. Possibly from a "Saban." You're gonna need shots. Some serious, large-gauge needle shots.
We are out of words. You should be dead, Auburn, because we saw you die. And here you are, breathing in the flesh, able to say this: you made the Alabama Crimson Tide kick the winning touchdown for you.
Auburn's radio announcers were just as shocked as the rest of us, as the Tigers' impending victory did not really dawn on them until Chris Davis was already at the Alabama 30 with no one in front of him.
In fact, the entire internet imploded, from Ohio State fans to Auburn fans to everyone in between.
Auburn took the early lead on Nick Marshall's 45-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, but Alabama responded with three straight touchdowns, building a comfortable 21-7 lead. Tre Mason's one-yard touchdown with less than two minutes left in the half made it a one-score game at the break.
The Tigers tied it early in the third quarter on Marshall's 13-yard touchdown pass to C.J. Uzomah, and Alabama responded more than a quarter later on some Amari Cooper magic as the receiver broke one tackle and outran another defender en route to a 99-yard score and the lead.
Auburn tied it up on Marshall's perfect play-action fake, and won the game on Davis's miraculous return, knocking Alabama out of the number one spot and, in all likelihood, the national title game.