Last night was one of those games that will be talked about for many years to come. If only for the unpredictable (and if you happen to hate the Crimson Tide, absolutely hilarious) finish. The No. 1 Alabama had practically already started packing their bags. “Atlanta, here we come!” But the No. 4 Auburn Tigers did not plan on going out quietly. As it turned out, they weren't going out at all.
The local rivalry made many suspect they were in for a great match up. But no one could have predicted the level of drama would be as high as it was. It was the sort of game where a 99-yard “Hail Mary” return by Amari Cooper that ended at 21-21 tie in the fourth quarter would not be the play of the night. Oh, the play would star Alabama....just probably not in the manner they would have preferred.
In the closing seconds of the game, there was already the expectation it was going into overtime. Kicker Cody Foster had missed crucial opportunities earlier in the game, leading to the decision to use Adam Griffith for a literally last second 57-yard field goal attempt.
There are kickers who have missed that last second field goal and failed to give their team a major win. However, no one wants to be the kicker whose failure results in a catch that turns into a 100-yard return for a touchdown. Chris Davis performed an impossible task to help Auburn snatch victory away in a flash. Meanwhile, Alabama players stood stunned on the field and fans gaped in the stands.
“Hey Alabama! Hey Alabama! Hey Alabama, we just beat the Hell out of you!”
The jubilant Tigers fans could not contain themselves as they flooded the field, singing and dancing and rubbing the surprising finish the faces of their rivals. Social media lit up with reactions. Some tweeted disbelief. Others death threats. Poor Cody Foster was forced to go into Twitter-hiding, having deleted his name from his twitter and removed his picture in hopes of avoiding a huge wave of backlash over his failure.
Drink bleach @Foster_43
— Chris Taylor (@_CTaylor8) December 1, 2013
Cody Foster better transfer...
— Caleb Love (@iamDocLuv) December 1, 2013
Regardless, I have a lot of respect for @Foster_43. He's taking a lot of criticism, but he kicked his heart out.
— Cody Tyler Badgwell (@cody_badgwell) December 1, 2013
..a few absolutrly terrible decisions, or your star wideout who dropped a TD pass! I feel bad for Foster. That is all! #wareagle
— Cody Ellis (@Cody_AU8) December 1, 2013
As disappointed and angry as some fans may be, it was understood by cooler heads that sometimes the odds just aren't in your favor.
“Sometimes luck just isn't on your side," quarterback AJ McCarron said, his disappointment highly visible.
Luck was a key factor to be sure, but sometimes it's about space and opportunity. Atlanta's SEC Championship will be a cat-fight as both sides go by the name of Tigers. Which side will reign supreme is anyone's guess, though a last minute upset may have taught sports pundits to question the “sure thing”.