The Latest Prayer at Jordan-Hare: What it was like to be there

AUBURN, Ala. -- Where were you when it happened? You know, the (Iron Bowl) war to end all (Iron Bowl) wars.

Couch? Sports bar? Depths of depression? Heights of ecstasy? I was on the Alabama 20, the sideline opposite Chris Davis as he pranced into the end zone.

A witness to history, a slave to deadline.

The only drawback to watching Auburn's 34-28 win over No. 1 Alabama Saturday night was having to work. But that wouldn't have allowed me to hear Nick Saban compare it to "March Madness" or ask Auburn's Nosa Eguae why Davis had just raced 109 yards -- just about untouched -- to end Bama's 15-game winning streak, and perhaps a dynasty.

"Fate," Eguae said with what looked like tears streaming down his cheeks.

The game had been over for -- what? -- a couple of minutes.

It hit me Sunday to post this blog, leave a first-person account. If for no one else, some unborn grandkids who will one day ask, "Is there a God, grandpa?"

I will tell them about late fall 2013 here on The Plains where one miracle followed another and prayers kept being answered.

I will tell them whether it's Gus or God, it's about faith.

I will tell them how, in the end, Auburn turned water (tears over losing another Iron Bowl), into whine. That would be Alabama's which saw it all end when Saban put the game on the foot of a freshman (Adam Griffith) who had attempted all of two field goals in his career.

First person, meet second guess.

I will tell them while I was there, Ohio State was not. The TV on their bus back from Michigan wasn't functioning properly until they were almost home. Then …

"Everybody had it on their IPads …," Urban Meyer said of Davis' return. "It was nuts for 15 minutes."

I will tell them to call up YouTube, or whatever it will be called then. The Internet's version of Funniest Home Videos already has immortalized the agony and ecstasy of Saturday night.

Watching is easy. Working is hard in these situations. We are paid make sense of chaos. That was impossible Saturday night. At this moment a year ago, Auburn had just posted a donut in the SEC going 0-8.

Last night, someone forgot to post enough cops. Either that or law enforcement just gave up. Judging by the 120 yards of human flesh I had to fight through to cover both lockerrooms located at opposite ends of Jordan-Hare, I will guess the latter.

Not that there was anything wrong with that. One of my fondest memories will be "excusing me"-ing my way the length of the field through the mass of humanity. Despite leading rather aggressively with a shoulder -- deadline, you know! -- not one person beefed or pushed back.

They were all busy taking selfies or groupies or hugging Aubie.

Where was I Saturday night? On that sideline, stupidly pointing the way to the end zone for Davis as if he didn't know. Sorry, the moment overcame me. Then I spread my arms out as if to keep 85,000 people from rushing the field.

Again, stupid, because that sure didn't work.

We were on the field for perhaps the biggest moment, best game, most unbelievable finish we will ever see.

We were lucky too. Lucky as hell. Call it the ultimate perk of our profession. It's what we do -- the media -- at the end of games, congregate on the sidelines.

We're not allowed down from the press box until about five minutes remain, presumably so our Discount Shoe Warehouse purchases do not disturb the hallowed ground.

This time, though, it was just in time. A witness to history?  Someone, please call to me testify.

What was it like to be there on the floor of Jordan-Hare when it happened?

It was like watching Halley's Comet. It is something none of us are likely to see again in our lifetimes. Consider that Davis' game-winning return almost completely wiped from the record Nick Marshall's stunning, game-tying touchdown pass with 32 seconds left.

It certainly made us forget AJ McCarron's Heisman moment, a 99-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper.

AJ who? See, I told you.

Years from now, thousands will claim they were there when a dynasty -- if not ended -- hit a brick wall. Nick Saban may have overcoached. He at least overthought.

Four missed field goals. Two different kickers. And why didn't the Tide account for the speedy Davis by -- as Saban called it -- "fanning out"?

There were as many strategy swings as mood swings Saturday night. Gus Malzahn is one hell of a play caller but if Jordan-Hare has its emotions messed with like this again, EMTs are going to sue.

So there it is, a brief first-person account of the last time any of us see something like that again. When I'm old and forgetful, maybe this will serve to jog the memory. Or maybe the grandkids will have it memorized for me by then.

Or maybe I'll tell them I was prescient enough to whip out my cell phone just it time to record Griffith missing that 57-yard field goal that started the amazing sequence.

Then I shut it off as Davis caught the kick.

Again, stupid.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Dennis Dodd has covered college football for CBS Sports since it was CBS SportsLine in 1998. He is one of only seven media members to attend all 16 BCS title games and has chronicled conference realignment... Full Bio

Show Comments Hide Comments
Our Latest Stories