As I sit here writing this, I can’t help but shake my head! Auburn’s come from behind victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide was one of the greatest games that I’ve ever watched!
Great Coaches, Great Teams, Great Companies, and Successful People seem to all draw from the same well in times of adversity in order to win.
1) Strong Belief System: Coach Malzahn told his players during that they had to forget last season. They had to understand that it was a new day, a new football season, and they were capable of playing great football. He especially emphasized this with their seniors as it was their legacy that was on the line this year. The Auburn Tigers believe in their coach, in themselves as role players, and in their team as a unit! They and their fans believed when no one else did. People were quick to tease and ridicule them about their failures last season. They flushed those thoughts down the toilet and kept moving forward.
2) Extreme Focus: During the Post Game Press conference, a reporter asked Coach Malzahn if He would do any politicking about Auburn possibly playing in the BCS Championship now that they’d beat Alabama. Malzahn said ‘I didn’t start thinking about the SEC Championship until I shook Coach Saban’s hand!
We’re now going to focus on winning the SEC Championship! That’s all that matters to us right now! We take things one game at a time!” At that point during the night, He had no way of knowing that they’d be playing Missouri because the game was still underway. People tend to put the ‘Forest before the Trees’ and miss the opportunity right in front of their eyes! Gus Malzahn doesn’t allow his players to do that!
3) Determination: The Auburn Tigers scored first, only to see Alabama score 21 unanswered points late into the second quarter. Auburn put on an incredible drive for 66 yards that ended in a Tre Mason touchdown. At that point, the Tigers were down but not out! They would have to regroup, get their heads in the game, and play their hearts out in order to get the win! Coach Malzahn said “If the game ends up being close, I like our chances in the 4th quarter”! Auburn held Alabama scoreless in the 3rd quarter.
A.J. McCarron connected with wide out Amari Cooper for a 99 yard touchdown to give the Tide a 7 point lead. The Tigers didn’t panic. They ran the ball so effectively that they were able to trick the Tide secondary with a read option pass to tie the game! The Tiger defense made several key stops forcing Alabama to punt on more than one occasion. The play that ended the game is one that will never be forgotten. Alabama had the last possession. T.J. Yeldon ran out-of-bounds with 1 second on the clock. The play was contested, and the ruling went in what seemed to be Alabama’s favor. Saban sent in a rookie kicker to kick a 57 yard field goal. The wind was behind the ball. The kick came us short, and Mike Davis caught the punt (9 yards deep into the end-zone) and returned it 100 yards for a touchdown! The game was over and the Auburn Tigers won the most amazing game in the history of the Iron Bowl! Davis said it best: “This team is Relentless”!
4) Humility: During the post-game press conference Gus Malzahn was asked “Was this the best win of your career?” He replied, “I’ve got a lot of emotion right now,” not wanting to be boastful. ”It ranks up there, there’s no doubt.”
A small quiet female voice, most likely his wife, cut him off. She said “Just say yes!” to which Malzahn mumbled “Yes” and the room broke out in friendly laughter. One of the most impressive things I witnessed last night was Coach Malzahn’s humility! The Auburn players carry themselves with dignity and pride! While being interviewed, every player conducted themselves as a gentleman. That’s a direct reflection of their coach and leader. It’s a wonderful thing to win, but to do so with honor, that’s special.
Congratulations to Auburn University and the Tiger Family! #wareagle