Auburn celebrates 34-28 win over Alabama in wild finish
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) Auburn might not be the center of the college football world most days, but it felt like it was Saturday as the Tigers beat Alabama in one of the wildest finishes ever.
Thousands of Auburn fans stormed the field after 'Bama missed a desperation field goal and Chris Davis returned it 100 yards for a touchdown to give No. 4 Auburn an improbable, 34-28 victory over No. 1 Alabama and seemingly end the Crimson Tide's bid for a third-straight national championship.
So many Auburn fans raced onto the field afterward that grass was barely visible from the top of Jordan-Hare Stadium. They needled 'Bama by singing its familiar "Rammer Jammer" cheer after the stunning end.
Auburn fans storm the field after their 34-28 a win over No. 1 Alabama in an NCAA college football game in Auburn, Ala., Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Jay Sailors)
Auburn clinched a berth in the Southeastern Conference game with the victory, and Alabama coach Nick Saban fell to 0-1 against first-year Auburn coach Gus Malzahn.
Auburn University projected there would be as many as 150,000 people in the area, and it looked as if the number could be close as Auburn fans wearing orange and blue mingled around a badly outnumbered 'Bama contingent dressed in crimson and white.
Auburn's team buses pulled through a swarm of cheering fans on the way to Jordan-Hare Stadium as the band played the fight song. Viewed from above, the scene looked like a moving sea of orange because of fans waving shakers.
On social media, Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron tweeted of a pregame photo of himself sporting a bowtie on the Crimson Tide's team bus. Girlfriend and Auburn graduate Katherine Webb tweeted that she was pulling for McCarron and added: "RTR," for "Roll Tide, roll."
Auburn fan Gary "Pee Wee" Ingram of Dadeville said he has been to "about 20" Iron Bowls, and the 2013 edition stood out.
"I think it's going to be the biggest crowd that's ever been to an Auburn ball game," said Ingram, heading to a pregame tailgate with his son and grandchildren.
Tommie Jinright of Oneonta is an Alabama fan she wore a checkered jacket for the game but she had nothing but praise for Auburn coach Gus Malzahn and the way he brought the Tigers back to prominence after a lousy 2012 season.
"Do I want to win? Oh yeah. I've already bought tickets and ready to go to Atlanta" for the Southeastern Conference championship game, she said.
The sign outside the Auburn Church of Christ might have said it best: "Sunday's sermon: Humility. We'll either have it or need it."
The pregame hype built for days.
Fans had been camping around Auburn since mid-week, and traffic was unusually heavy all over town. About 57,000 people live in Auburn, and the thousands of visitors made it one of the state's largest cities for the day.
On campus, thousands of fans held up signs and yelled in chilly morning temperatures as ESPN televised its College GameDay show from outside Jordan-Hare Stadium. Host Lee Corso drew a chorus of "boos" as he put on the head from Alabama's "Big Al" elephant mascot to show he picked the Crimson Tide to win.