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Nick Saban, Alabama players differ on Auburn's miracle Hail Mary

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Alabama players see the failure by Georgia's players; Nick Saban merely notes whether Auburn had been playing well up to that point. Naturally.

Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn football will forever be linked to Ricardo Louis and his most improbable of Hail Mary touchdowns in Auburn's most recent game, the 43-38 win over Georgia. What are we calling that, by the way? It should be the "Prayer at Jordan-Hare." Resolved. OK, anyway, Auburn's going from that win to its biggest game of the season, an Iron Bowl matchup of the No. 4 and No. 1 teams in the nation.

Say, you know who else knows about winning on a freak Hail Mary then having to play Alabama next? Nick Saban. Because of course.

Remember, Saban was the head coach of LSU for the "Bluegrass Miracle," the ludicrous tipped Hail Mary that found its way to Devery Henderson for a 75-yard score as time expired. But as notes, Saban's more interested in the difference between the two plays:

"When we played at Kentucky, we didn't play a very good game," Saban said Monday. "I think Auburn played a very good game against Georgia. And they made a play at the end of the game that won the game for them.

"I just felt like we didn't play a very good game at Kentucky and we got kind of lucky to win, which to me was not a good thing."

Of course, of course Saban's answer is about The Process. He's right, but it's not particularly satisfying to fans who would like to believe that the football they see is the driving determinant for how the football yet to come will play out. Team gets buoyed by miracle win in Game X, uses momentum to put together huge run starting in Game Y. As Saban noted, that completely didn't happen with LSU.

(ASIDE: American soccer fans should know all about this fallacy. Remember that miracle Landon Donovan goal that sent the U.S. through to the next stage in the 2010 World Cup? Remember how the U.S. then was immediately eliminated by Ghana? Yeah.)

Saban's players, however, were more than happy to discuss the play itself, because they are players tasked with making plays and not coaches tasked with coaching.

And hoo boy, that play. It was an amazing play by Ricardo Louis, without a doubt, but its entire existence sprang from two Georgia defenders committing the cardinal sin of not knocking down an easily defended ball. The phenomenon of deflected Hail Marys is not nearly as attributable to "players going for interceptions and not knocking it down" as commentators would have you believe, but that is absolutely what happened on the Prayer at Jordan-Hare.

Anyway, back to Alabama's players. More from

Alabama safety Landon Collins, who described last week how he would have defended the pass, called it a "fantastic play."

"Everybody, every team needs luck on their side and that's what they had," he said. "I think it was a fantastic win for Auburn."

Wide receiver Kevin Norwood smiled when he was asked about it.

"That's one of the luckiest things I've seen," Norwood said. "That's more the DB's fault. They are supposed to knock the ball down like any other coach would teach a DB to do.

We'll let Alabama LB Trey DePriest have the final word, though. Trey?

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