Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Miracle from Milroe helps No. 8 Alabama overcome Auburn in Iron Bowl victory

CW/ Riley Thompson
Alabama wide receiver Isaiah Bond (#17) jumps to make a catch for the touchdown that put Alabama in the lead over Auburn.

Fourth and 31.  

Add it to the Kick Six and Bryce Young’s Heisman moment as another Iron Bowl classic. In Jordan-Hare Stadium, where the unexpected is expected, Alabama came from behind to win the Iron Bowl 27-24 Saturday afternoon.   

With just seconds left to score on fourth and 31, Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe launched the football into the end zone, where wide receiver Isaiah Bond came down with the touchdown catch — a play they call the Gravedigger — to give the Crimson Tide the lead.  

“Jalen made a great throw, but IB really got himself into a position where there was some room to throw it,” Saban said. “That is a play we actually work on. I must admit, I think you have to be a little lucky for it to work, but I’ll take it.”  

Kicker Will Reichard kicked the extra point to put Alabama up 27-24 as well as tie the record for the NCAA’s all-time scoring.  

Milroe said he knew there was still time on the clock and that the rest of the game would stand as testament to Saban’s season-long goal of playing all four quarters. 

“The biggest thing we had to do was finish,” Milroe said. 

Auburn had less than 30 seconds to turn the Iron Bowl back in its favor, but a sack and an interception sealed the Tigers’ fate.  

For a while, though, the game wasn’t looking good for Alabama.  

“We had two touchdowns called back because of penalties, and we allowed them, because of our inability to stop the run on defense, to get back in the game early on when we should have had the game well in hand,” Saban said.  

The Crimson Tide totaled eight penalties, the most since its 14 at Texas A&M, and had its seventh and eighth touchdowns of the season negated due to penalties.  

Behind Auburn running backs Jarquez Hunter and Damari Alston, the Tigers outrushed the Crimson Tide 244-192, with 107 of those yards coming in the second quarter, when Auburn took the first lead of the game at 14-10. 

Missed field goals, missed calls and missed snaps all worked against Alabama, and with all of it unfolding under the thunderous crowd of Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn had the advantage. 

“I mean, it’s the Iron Bowl,” linebacker Deontae Lawson said. “The atmosphere’s going to be great, but nothing we can’t handle.” 

Sure enough, the Crimson Tide pulled through.  

Down 24-20 with less than five minutes left and fourth and 3, Alabama had no choice but to punt the ball away and hope for a miracle.  

The miracle came in the form of linebacker Jihaad Campbell, who recovered the muffed punt from the Auburn returner.  

From there, a couple of first downs, a successful fourth-and-1 play, a fumbled snap, and another Alabama penalty created fourth and 31 — an opportunity for Milroe and the Crimson Tide to create Iron Bowl legend.  

“It’s a true blessing to come to college and play in big games, and this was a big game,” Milroe said. “It’s a surreal moment.” 

On the other side of the field, Auburn head coach Hugh Freeze said the Tigers will remember this game for a while. 

“Really proud of our kids and the way they fought,” Freeze said. “Kids gave themselves the chance to win the Iron Bowl tonight, and it’s going to stick with us for a while.” 

As for cornerback Terrion Arnold, who had the interception that ended any hopes of an Auburn comeback, he said “Miss Terry” Saban helped him prepare for the high stakes of the game. 

“She reminded me this game is a rivalry game,” Arnold said. “Records are out of the way and you take it one play at a time.” 

The Iron Bowl win marks the end of the regular season for the Crimson Tide and stokes the flames of a potential national championship appearance.  

Up first, though, are the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs at the SEC championship in Atlanta, Georgia, on Dec. 2 at 3 p.m. CT. The game will broadcast on CBS.

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