Day two of my countdown of the top 30 Auburn moments of my 30 years (I turn 30 Saturday) brings in some basketball to go with an otherwise football-heavy list. You may think some of these are pretty low, but it’s my list. If you think it’s wrong, go make your own list. For the pre-requisites for a play to be considered, as well as numbers 25-30 in the countdown, go look at yesterday’s post.
24. Ben Leard to Ronney Daniels at Georgia (1999, 17 years old)
Ben Leard is/was a Georgia boy, but he hates/hated Georgia. He took that out on the Dawgs on that November night in 1999. This play has always stuck with me because I loved how Ronney Daniels was basically just slapping the guy as he ran down the field. It summed up the rest of the 38-21 blowout perfectly. I watched this play from my couch in the home of my parents.
23. Nick Fairley’s sack and fumble recovery in the Iron Bowl (2010, 28 years old)
I always felt like this play didn’t get enough praise. Fairley dominated offensive lines and quarterbacks all year, but this play showed his athleticism as well. The ball hung around on the ground for what seemed like a minute before he got off the pile of destruction (that he made himself) and covered up the ball. I feel like this play, as much as Antoine Carter’s punch/strip to cause Mark Ingram’s fumble, helped turn the 2010 Iron Bowl around in Auburn’s favor. I watched this play in my grandparents’ garage in a pseudo-tailgate setup.
22. Doc Robinson’s half-court alley-oop to Bryant Smith (1999, 16 years old)
There hasn’t been a more dominant year of Auburn basketball than the 1998-1999 season. Every time I hear someone say that Auburn will never be good at basketball, I point back to that year. It has happened and can happen again.
I remember this play because at the time I thought a 20-4 lead in basketball was the biggest lead ever. I was 17, get off me. I’ve seen plenty of those leads in the opposite direction now to know that they aren’t that farfetched. I love this play because an alley-oop is just like saying “now I’m just messing with you,” and one from half-court is the ultimate version of that. I watched this game from the couch after I was turned away from the Coliseum due to the game being a sellout.
21. Walter McFadden 102-yard interception return – (2010, 27 years old)
I know that a win over Northwestern really isn’t anything to get too pumped about, but the longest interception return in Auburn history has to make the list. At the time, it looked like Auburn was going to run away with the game, but as you remember (and saw in yesterday’s post) this play ended up being pretty important.
By the way, the flag for excessive celebration was ridiculous. What else are you supposed to do when you run 100 yards without anyone in sight? I’m surprised Walt didn’t stop for a water break around the 50-yard line. I watched this play from my recliner, again, with Baby Blogle in my lap.
20. James Bostic’s 70-yard TD run against Alabama (1993, 11 years old)
This play is a little bit foggy in my head, given that I was 11 years old, but I do remember it happening. This was the first Iron Bowl that I attended where I knew what was going on, and I got to sit in the orange (scholarship) seats with a friend whose dad is the team dentist. So while the play was awesome, I was probably more worried about the free popcorn at the time.
However, I really do remember going ape when Bostic busted up the middle to put the game away in the 4th quarter. As you know, the Tigers won the game 22-14 and ended the season 11-0. As I mentioned, I witnessed this play in the lap of luxury.
19. Ryan Smith’s tackle at the goal line against Mississippi St. (2011, 29 years old)
I know by the end of the 2011 season, everyone had pretty much forgotten about this play. At the time, this play (and win) looked like it could have been a big deal, but as Mississippi State did their normal stroll down 6-win Lane, and as Auburn struggled throughout the rest of the year, this stop was forgotten.
But in terms of this countdown, this play definitely deserves to be in it. The way I acted after it happened probably embarrassed a few people around me, even ones that didn’t know me. If you remember, this win kept Auburn’s 17-game win streak alive when the entire world was dying for the “you don’t have Cam Newton anymore” Tigers to lose. So when Ryan Smith made that tackle, I let the world have it. Of course they couldn’t hear me because Jordan-Hare Stadium was deafening, but I tried my best. I witnessed this play 50-or-so rows above the end zone where it took place.
Check back tomorrow for numbers 13-18, and throughout the rest of the week for the remainder of the countdown. Oh, and you know, if you wanted to send me a birthday present, you could donate to the ‘Blogle, or email me and I’ll give you an address of where you can not send a bomb.
I must have watched the MSU video 12 times just now (I also witnessed it live from the end zone where it occurred–high five!), and I’m still not entirely sure that Ryan Smith was on the field when the ball was snapped. I’m pretty certain he materialized out of thin air and upended Chris Relf for the fun of it. Mind boggling. Or mind bLoggling? Okay, I’ll stop now.
No, keep going. Please…
Is that Jay Jacobs going ape at the 1:12 mark of the MSU goal line stand?
Of all the great Jim Fyffe calls, that dunk is top 5 for me. I was watching and listening on the radio at home with my parents and we were going wacko too!
We love Q. He’s Auburn thru and thru, and we love him. But, let’s be honest.. you have always been able to count on his in game, sideline reports to be… ummm less than enlightening. Just always kind of telling you stuff you already knew. Right? Right.
Well, this is the one instance I can recall where that was DECIDEDLY not the case. 13 year old me was at the game, rockin’ the walkman, listening to the late, great Jim Fyffe and Charlie Trotman’s call. So, they cut to Q on the sideline, and Q makes the observation that most of the Bama defenders were leaning over, hands on their hips, gasping for breath after the last few plays. Then, he said that this would be the time that Auburn might be able to blow them off the line, and break Bostic open for a long run.
Moments after he kicked it back upstairs, on that next snap. BOOM!! This happens.
Q was spot on on that great day.
The alley-oop is no doubt my favorite Auburn basketball play that I’ve witnessed. I can still remember being stuck in a hotel room in Cullman, jumping on my bed like I was a little kid while screaming to the point that the rooms around me probably thought someone was being murdered in their adjoining room.
Re: #19. We were right there with you in that end zone and man, what a play. The stadium EXPLODED. One of the best moments in the season for us, because ‘Blogle is right: the world was ready to (and already was) start the hate.
War damn eagle.
23. Trombone Section Auburn University…located in Hell aka Bryant-Denny…where dead people speak to you lol…anyways…we were all looking pretty down and here comes the Hulk making a play again when we REALLY needed one…we slapped hands afterwards
21. Penalty was bogus…i mean he only ran the 100 yd dash w/ no competition might i add…Great Play by a Senior
19. Band Section…We had that eerie feeling that we might lose this one…and then Ryan Smith does his best Flash rendition and appears at the Goal Line to twart the Bullies in their tracks…literally…