It’s a play that head coach Nick Saban and the entire nation of Alabama Crimson Tide fans would like to forget, but it’s one that will forever live in the heart of Auburn Tiger fans.
The Tide own the all-time series record at 42-35-1, and boast more national and conference titles, but Auburn will always have arguably the most unlikely and incredible play in the 121-year rivalry’s history.
As the two sides meet again in the Iron Bowl Saturday, No. 2 Alabama is once again trying to solidify a spot in the SEC title game and hold down the top position in the College Football Playoff rankings. But they’ll have to shake Chris Davis’s 109-yard return of a missed field that happened almost a year ago to the day in last year’s Iron Bowl.
Now known as “Kick Six”, Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn told AL.com that his squad still practices the play that has only occurred four times at college football’s highest level. Malzahn wouldn’t tell AL.com who would be in position to complete another “Kick Six”, however improbable, but the site indicated receiver Quan Bray, who’s No. 2 in the country on punt returns.
"You try to cover every situation," Malzahn said. "Throughout the year, different situations, you just try to cover to make sure you're always prepared."
Saban also told AL.com that the play is still very much in his players’ minds.
"We all kind of remember what happened," Saban said. "It was very, very disapponting to all of us here. Not just the last play, but the last five minutes of the game that we never really every finished the game like we needed to. It was a tough way to lose a game, and I'm sure everybody sort of has that in mind."
On Nov. 30 last year, the game was tied 28-28 when then-freshman kicker Adam Griffith’s 57-yard field goal attempt fell short. Davis, now a cornerback with the NFL’s San Diego Chargers, caught the ball nine yards deep in the end zone and streaked down the left side line thinking he’d have enough room to score.
"I knew when I caught the ball I would have room to run," Davis said to the Associated Press afterwards. "I knew they would have big guys on the field to protect on the field goal. When I looked back, I said, 'I can't believe this.' "
Along with its historical significance the play extended the Tigers season by two games. They went on to play and beat Missouri in the SEC title game, and nearly upended Florida State for the national title. Alabama was denied a chance for its fourth national title in five years.
A win this year won’t extend Auburn’s season, but they once again have the chance to crush Alabama’s hopes.