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A VERY BRIEF HISTORY OF THE IRON BOWL

AN IRON BOWL PRIMER
FROM ASSORTED AUBURN UNIVERSITY PRESS RELEASES AND AP REPORTS

The Iron Bowl is named for its traditional Birmingham home and birthplace, Birmingham, Alabama.  Birmingham sits atop vast deposits of iron ore, hence the nickname. 

Alabama leads the series, 38-32-1.  At Auburn AU leads, 6-2, at Tuscaloosa AU leads, 6-0. At neutral sites UA leads, 30-19-1 (6-1)*, at Birmingham UA leads, 28-17-1 (6-1)*, at Montgomery, AL Tied, 2-2.
*Birmingham games counted as neutral site until 1988 when ticket allocation changed.

AUBURN OWNS TUSCALOOSA
The first Iron Bowl was played at Birmingham's Lakeview Baseball Park on Feb. 22, 1892, resulting in a 32-22 Auburn victory.  Only 450 people were on hand to witness that historic moment. 

On Nov. 30,1893, Auburn again trounced Alabama in a 40-16 rout.  Attendance was 3,000 at Montgomery's Riverside Park. Auburn scored seven touchdowns and received $350, while Alabama received $250.

On Nov. 29, 1894, Alabama upset Auburn in an 18 - 0 game in front of 3,000 at Montgomery's Riverside Park. On Nov. 23, 1895: Auburn won convincingly, 48-0 in Tuscaloosa, for first-year head coach John Heisman.

Nov. 17, 1900,  Auburn scored nine touchdowns in the 53-5 victory in Montgomery.

On Nov. 15, 1901: Auburn won again, 17-0, in Tuscaloosa.

On Oct. 18, 1902: Birmingham's West End Park was the site for the 23-0 Auburn victory.  

Another upset was brewing on Oct. 23, 1903 when Alabama won 18 - 10 at Montgomery's Highland Park.  

The second game at Birmingham's West end Park saw another Auburn victory IN 1904.  Auburn won that game29 - 5.

Another victory at West End was elusive for Auburn on  Nov. 18, 1905. A record crowd of 4,600 attended the Alabama 30-0 victory. It was the biggest crowd to ever witness a football game in the city. 

The next meeting on Nov. 17, 1906 saw another Alabama victory at the the Birmingham Fair Grounds.  Alabama won that game 10 - 0, although the game was played under protest by Auburn, who claimed that Alabama was playing an ineligible player.  This was the first in a history of violations, scandals, and accusations against Alabama that still exist today. 

The next game on Nov. 16, 1907 ended in a 6-6 tie, this was the last game to be played between the two schools for the next 41 years.

AU-UA: THE 41-YEAR BREAK
Auburn and Alabama did not play for 41 years, from 1908 through 1947. There are two common misconceptions about the reason for the 41-year lapse. The first is that a fight broke out after a 6-6 tie in 1907 and caused both schools to discontinue the series. The second is that the state legislature got the two schools back together. Neither is true.

Auburn and Alabama quit playing because of money and officiating. Auburn wanted a northern umpire for the 1908 game, Alabama wanted a southern umpire. Auburn wanted to bring 22 players and allow $3.50 per day for expenses. Alabama wanted to bring 20 players and allow $3 per day for expenses. The two schools could never reach an agreement on these items and they became the bone of contention for years. After a period of time, scheduling became a problem.

The two schools quit playing in all sports. They renewed their athletic rivalry - the rivalry off the field never quit - in 1948 after actually "burying the hatchet" in Birmingham's Woodrow Wilson Park.

In the winter and spring of 1948, Auburn president Dr. Ralph B. Draughon and Alabama president Dr. John Gallalee decided the disagreement had gone on long enough and agreed the series should be renewed after doggedly fighting what they considered interference into their internal affairs by the state legislature. Several cities, including Montgomery and Mobile, were considered for the game site. Birmingham was chosen because it had the largest stadium in the state, 44,000-seat Legion Field.

Alabama won that renewal game, 55-0, in 1948. The Tide was a prohibitive favorite the next year, too, but Auburn pulled off one of its biggest upsets ever, 14-13, and one of the nation's great football rivalries was reborn.

PUNT BAMA PUNT
To Auburn people, one of the most incredible Auburn-Alabama games came on Dec. 2, 1972. A few days before the game, Alabama head coach Bear Bryant incited the rivalry when he told reporters that he would rather, "beat that cow college once than beat Texas 10 times." That set the stage as second-ranked Alabama brought a 10-0 record into Legion Field to meet the ninth-ranked Tigers, who were 8-1.

For the entire game, Bama's defense held the Auburn offense in check. With 5:30 remaining in the game, 16-point favorite Alabama held a seemingly insurmountable 16-3 lead. The Tigers, perhaps fueled by Bryant's remarks, came roaring back for one of the best finishes in Auburn-Alabama history. Auburn's Bill Newton blocked two Alabama punts and David Langer ran both in for touchdowns as Auburn came back to win 17-16. Newton and Langer will forever be remembered by Auburn fans for their play in the now famous "Punt Bama Punt" game.

THE 1980'S: THE NEW CHAPTER
Though Alabama dominated the series through the 60s and 70s, the rivalry reached new heights in the 80s as the average margin of victory was a mere 6.4 points. Some classic battles were waged in the decade.

Two games that epitomize the series came in 1985 and 1986. Auburn won the 1986 meeting on a Lawyer Tillman reverse into the endzone with 32 seconds remaining to down Bama 21-17. Alabama won the 1985 game, 25-23, on a 52-yard Van Tiffin field goal as the clock expired.

A historic new page was added to the rivalry in 1989 when Alabama came to Auburn's Jordan-Hare Stadium for the first time. The game was held on Dec. 2, 1989, exactly 17 years after Auburn's 1972 miracle win over the Tide. Just like the 1972 meeting, Bama came into the game with a 10-0 record and a No. 2 ranking. Before a Jordan-Hare Stadium then-record crowd of 85,319, Auburn ended Alabama's national title hopes with a monumental 30-20 victory.

SETTING A SACKS RECORD
In 2005 in Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn set a new school record by sacking Alabama quarterbacks 11 times. Auburn record five sacks during the first quarter alone while holding Alabama to minus-17 yards of offense in the period. Seven different players had at least half a sack for Auburn, led by 3.5 sacks from Stanley McClover.

 

 

 

 

 

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