The play known as “The Prayer at Jordan-Hare” allowed Auburn to sneak out of its battle with Georgia victorious on Saturday. It also allowed the Tigers’ SEC championship dreams – and slim national championship aspirations – to live on for at least two more weeks.
However, in the battle of public opinion, the once-in-a-lifetime play seemingly left Auburn somehow with a black eye.
Make no mistake: The Tigers were absolutely fortunate to beat the Bulldogs.
To go as far as saying the game came down to Auburn “getting lucky,” however, is taking it too far to the other extreme.
This is how Saturday’s game unfolded: Auburn absolutely dominated Georgia for the first three-plus quarters, storming out to a 20-point lead early in the fourth. The Bulldogs then made a furious rally behind a sensational effort from senior QB Aaron Murray.
Trailing late in the game and facing fourth-and-goal from the 5-yard line, Murray scrambled up the middle. A pack of defenders hit him at the 1 and he lunged forward, trying to put the ball across the goal-line.
Officials on the field ruled the play a touchdown. Replays showed that it was highly unlikely Murray actually reached the ball across the goal-line before hitting the ground, but because CBS only had one goal-line angle, it couldn’t show it definitively.
Thus, the call on the field correctly got upheld.
Murray’s late score set up Auburn’s own miracle – QB Nick Marshall’s overthrown heave into double-coverage down the field that Georgia S Josh Harvey-Clemons deflected up, enabling WR Ricardo Louis to run under, juggle, catch and take into the end zone for the winning score.
Auburn fans could live another 100 years and would be unlikely to ever see anything like it.
The one play absolutely was a result of luck. The end result, however, was not.
To say so is to completely disregard three-plus quarters of play.
Nobody will find Auburn apologizing for winning or for the manner in which it won.
Football is a game of breaks. If not for a tremendous opening three quarters, the Tigers never would have been in position for such a fluke play to matter.
They were in said position, however.
And they made the most of it.
Auburn doesn’t have time to beg for forgiveness for winning on a lucky play. Instead, it has to prepare for the biggest Iron Bowl in recent memory against rival and top-ranked Alabama.