Anyone who knows anything about the Iron Bowl series knows that often the games are won by unknowns. Sure, if you’re a player for either team you do your part. But these games are won because all on the team step up and play.
So was the case in 2002.
The unranked Auburn Tigers came into Tuscaloosa in 2002 licking their wounds. The previous weeks loss to Georgia placed their SEC West titles hopes virtually out of reach and dropped their conference record to 4 wins and 3 losses. More importantly the Tigers were to play without their starting running backs and fullback who were injured. Not too many were giving the Tigers a chance in the game.
Alabama on the other hand was in prime position to represent the SEC West in the title match. They had trounced LSU the week before and brought only one conference loss into the game. Additional motivation for the Tide was the fact that they had never beaten Auburn in Tuscaloosa. Alabama was confident they would win their second straight game over their in-state rival.
The only problem for the Tide was an unknown freshman running back Tre Smith. Smith was getting his first career start for the Tigers, starting in place of the injured Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown. Auburn’s starting fullback was also injured and tight end Tommy Trott had been converted to full back to block for Smith. There wasn’t a beat writer alive who thought it would work. But it did. Smith rushed for 126 yards on 25 carries. Auburn led 17-0 at halftime.
The rest is history as they say. Alabama didn’t get the expected victory. Not only did Auburn remain undefeated in Tuscaloosa, this win marked the first time an unranked Auburn team had beated a ranked Alabama team. You can check out the recap for the details. The game even made a recent top 10 list of wins celebrating Tommy Tuberville’s 10th season as Auburn Head Coach.
We’re counting down the previous six straight Auburn wins over Alabama this week leading up to the 2008 Iron Bowl. Next up: 2003, a cadillac goes crazy.