The Iron Bowl: Revenge is sweet for Alabama
By CAROLINE GAZZARA
College Contributor Network
As Charles Dickens once said, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." This holds true for Alabama.
The Iron Bowl has been dubbed the greatest college rivalry of all-time. Not a single expert disagrees with this statement. And after last year's one-second Alabama flub, the rivalry got even deeper.
Fans waited one year for the rematch. Players were hungry for revenge. The 2013 Iron Bowl has been played on repeat for 365 days; it's even gone down in the books. But this year's Iron Bowl was something to see.
Neither team came out and blew the other away into the dust. It was a fight, a challenge. The first half was all Auburn -- thanks to Blake Sims' two intercepted passes.
The second half was all Alabama. And that was the half that counted for the Crimson Tide. Alabama won 55-44 in the rematch against Auburn.
In step with Dickens' famous first line of "A Tale of Two Cities," Alabama started off strong early in the game. It was the best of times. But then the Crimson Tide struggled and let Auburn take the lead going into half time. It became the worst of times.
Nails were bitten to the nub. The bleak faces of Alabama fans were far too many. Auburn fans were elated by quarterback Nick Marshall's effortless ability to find an open player and control the game.
It also didn't help that Sims was throwing interceptions. In the first half he threw two, in the second he threw one. And off of every interception, Auburn was able to score -- totaling 17 points off of the three picks.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban said in his press conference after the game that Sims wasn't playing like himself, he wasn't focused. The first interception shook him up and he wasn't composed. After halftime, even with the early third interception, Sims was back in the game.
At halftime, Auburn was leading by five points. Seconds into the third quarter, the Tigers were leading by 12. Auburn's offense was able to pick apart the Crimson Tide's defense, making its efforts futile. The No. 1 team in the country was bowing down to the No. 15 team, a scene that looked all too familiar.
But then the tide turned to favor Alabama. It was back to the best of times. Sims threw a touchdown pass that everyone needed to see from him. For a rivalry so strong, it was good to see his head back in the game.
As the minutes ticked by, Alabama continued to make the plays it needed to stop Auburn in its tracks. There weren't any faulty plays called or foolish errors committed this time around, both teams could see the light at the end of the tunnel, but only one could finish on top.
It was a battle, a struggle, to finish the game. At the end of the third quarter, the Crimson Tide still trailed the Tigers by two. But that wasn't how it wanted to finish the game. The fourth quarter opened up to a quick touchdown run by Sims. Alabama was finally ahead.
But still Alabama wanted more. The fourth quarter of the 2013 Iron Bowl had plagued them for an entire year. There was only revenge on the minds, and that's what they went for.
Alabama scored two more touchdowns in the forth quarter, solidifying its victory. By the time Auburn had the ball back, the Tigers would need three touchdowns to win. With just over 3:45 left, Auburn couldn't make the plays they needed to try to win.
The Tigers scored one touchdown before the game was over. At the end of it all, both teams had scored a combined total of 99 points, a record-breaking feat.
It was the best of times for Alabama, as well as the worst of times. It was also the same for Auburn, who had a year to revel in its victory.
The Iron Bowl trophy is safely tucked away in the heart of Tuscaloosa. It will stay there for a year before the next revenge game. Auburn is already counting down the days.
Caroline Gazzara is a junior at the University of Alabama majoring in Sports Journalism. Her passions are Alabama athletics and soccer. Follow her on Twitter: @CarolineGazzara