By Jake Winfrey
The Cullman Times
Jordan-Hare Stadium crackled with excitement in anticipation for one of the biggest Iron Bowls in the history of the state.
The crowd intensity from pregame all the way to kickoff was, quite simply, palpable.
No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Auburn was awaiting those in attendance and around the country watching from home.
On the line? Bragging rights for the next 364 days and a trip to Atlanta to play in the Southeastern Conference championship game next Saturday.
And, in a long-standing rivalry with myriad great contests and moments, Saturday's bout between the two teams may have just been the greatest of all.
Like a couple of heavyweights, the Tide and Tigers exchanged blow after blow throughout the tightly contested game all the way to the end of the fourth quarter.
With just one second remaining before overtime, Alabama lined up for a potential game-winning, 56-yard field goal.
And then the unthinkable happened — again.
Adam Griffith's kick fell just short of its distance mark into the waiting hands of Chris Davis, who proceeded to race 109 yards for the touchdown to cap off one of the greatest Iron Bowls ever.
It was yet another miraculous end to an Auburn football game.
Davis' return has sealed the Tigers' season as one of the greatest turnarounds of all-time. It's also labeled this group of players as a team of destiny.
One year after a coaching change and 49-0 loss to the Tide, Auburn has fought its way back to the top of the heap as an elite program.
No one in the world could have imagined it would've happened so quickly.
As the Tiger faithful celebrate one of the school's crowning achievements, they must remember to say an extra "thank you" to Gus Malzahn for what he's done.
For Alabama, it'll be a tough loss to swallow in the morning. However, Nick Saban won't let his troops dwell on it too long.
Saturday's dynamic contest has done nothing if not guarantee one simple thing — Malzahn vs. Saban for the next few years should provide plenty of spark to what had been a stale rivalry over the past six seasons.
For Auburn fans, it couldn't have gotten here soon enough. For Alabama fans, it looks like it could be game on for the next few Iron Bowls.
If the 2013 rendition is the rule rather than the exception, then we are all in for one heck of a ride for the foreseeable future.
% Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 136 or at firstname.lastname@example.org