AUBURN, ALABAMA – Another wild, triumphant Iron Bowl finish turned Auburn’s field into a teeming mass of orange and blue.
A missed Alabama field goal again had much to do with it.
Shaun Shivers scored on an 11-yard run with 8:08 left to put No. 16 Auburn ahead and another failed kick wiped away the fifth-ranked Crimson Tide’s playoff hopes in a 48-45 victory for the 16th-ranked Tigers on Saturday.
Auburn (9-3, 5-3 Southeastern Conference) survived a final, marathon Crimson Tide drive when Joseph Bulovas’ 30-yard field goal attempt hit the left upright with 2:00 left.
Auburn couldn’t get a first down on JaTarvious Whitlow’s three runs while Alabama (10-2, 6-2) burned two time outs. But the Tide was called for illegal substitution after the Tigers lined up with the punter joining the offense, setting off confusion for the Tide and a fist-pumping celebration for coach Gus Malzahn.
“That’s the craziest game I’ve ever played in,” Shivers said.
Auburn fans stormed the field to celebrate another Iron Bowl thriller, filling it from end zone to end zone as they did in the 2013 Kick Six game, when the Tigers’ Chris Davis returned a missed Tide field goal 109 yards for a game-winning touchdown. Davis led pregame cheers on the field Saturday.
“When we play at home and we play them, we get to the fourth quarter, we find a way to win — 2013, 2017,” Malzahn said. “It kind of held true to the script tonight and our crowd has a lot to do with that. Our guys believed and our crowd willed us.”
The Tide had made the first five College Football Playoff fields, but its case was damaged with a 46-41 loss to No. 1 LSU. The team’s in-state rival delivered the final blow.
Alabama coach Nick Saban deflected questions about the playoffs.
“I think the lesson to be learned is how important it is to be accountable,” Saban said. “When you play against good teams, that’s when these things bite you.”
Shivers, who was playing the role of injured wide receiver Anthony Schwartz, delivered on his only carry. Whitlow took the direct snap and handed it to him. Shivers smashed into Xavier McKinney, knocking the safety’s helmet off on the way to the end zone. Bo Nix’s two-point pass to Shedrick Jackson made it 48-45.
“That was just pound and ground football,” Shivers said. “That’s all I knew growing up. I don’t fear anybody. I just had to make it happen. I knew that could have sealed the game because I knew our defense was going to hold on.”
Nix, a freshman who attended the 2013 game as a fan, passed and ran for a touchdown. The two-time high school state champion, whose father was an Auburn quarterback, clutched the game ball during interviews.
“That makes it my three state championships, I guess,” he said.
No. 2 Ohio State 56, No. 10 Michigan 27
In Ann Arbor, Michigan, J.K. Dobbins ran for four touchdowns, Justin Fields threw four scoring passes and No. 2 Ohio State beat No. 10 Michigan 56-27 on Saturday for a school-record eighth straight win in the series.
The Buckeyes (12-0, 9-0 Big Ten, No. 1 CFP) will head to the Big Ten championship game with a spot in the College Football Playoff in sight against No. 13 Wisconsin next Saturday.
The Wolverines (9-3, 6-3, No. 13 CFP) will have to settle for a second- or third-tier bowl game after coach Jim Harbaugh fell to 0-5 in the rivalry, and the Wolverines lost to Ohio State for the 15th time in 16 years.
In Other Games
No. 1 LSU 50, Texas A&M 7
No. 3 Clemson 38, South Carolina 3
No. 4 Georgia 52, Georgia Tech 7
No. 6 Utah 45, Colorado 15
No. 7 Oklahoma 34, No. 21 Okla St. 16
No. 8 Florida 40, Florida State 17
No. 13 Wisconsin 38, No. 9 Minn. 17