College football season is well within reach!
With less than 100 days until kickoff, we here at Team Speed Kills are introducing a brand-new, quotidian countdown series to help you prepare for the first slate of college football action on August 26th.
In this series, we will post a daily SEC-related fact and/or story that corresponds to the number of the day in the countdown. Hopefully, you’ll find this series enlightening and entertaining. If you do, click that ‘share’ button we all know and love. If you do not, quit lying to yourself.
85: The ‘85 Iron Bowl
The year is 1985. While you get the Bowling for Soup song stuck in your head, you’ll also be sure to remember when the Chicago Bears jived to the Super Bowl Shuffle, a song that was famously made after their perfect record vanished at the hands of the Miami Dolphins (Now that’s arrogance).
The 1985 college football season was a hell of a ride, especially in the SEC. The Tennessee Volunteers, aka the Sugar Vols won their first SEC Championship in 16 years under head coach Johnny Majors and delivered a mollywhopping to the Miami Hurricanes in the Sugar Bowl (Hence, ‘Sugar Vols,’ obviously).
Unsurprisingly, a lot of the attention would be shined squarely on the state of Alabama. The Auburn Tigers picked up much of that shine, toting a bruising, powerful, spectacular running back with them for their ride. His name? Ah, some guy named Bo Jackson. You’ve probably heard the name before.
Jackson finished that ‘85 campaign with 1,786 yards, 16 touchdowns and 1,859 total yards from scrimmage in one of the best seasons in college football history. Bo had FOUR games in which he tallied at least 205 rushing yards and THREE where he picked up at least 240. 290 (!!) were racked up in Auburn’s opener, a number that is amazingly not #1 in Auburn history (That goes to Curtis Kuykendall, who somehow ran for 307 yards against Miami in 1944. Tre Mason eclipsed the mark too in the SEC Championship Game in 2013, rushing for 304 yards against the Missouri Tigers... and that’s the end of that discussion).
We could spend lots of time talking about Bo and the 1985 Heisman Trophy-winning season that he had. For now, that comes on another day. Now, we’ll talk about a game that happened in late November in Birmingham.
The 1985 Iron Bowl was one of the most famous games in the rivalry’s history. It’s up there with the ‘Kick Six,’ Auburn’s monumental comeback in 2010 in Tuscaloosa and #PuntBamaPunt in the pantheon of greatness, to be sure. As is Van Tiffin’s, at least in T-Town.
Legion Field, the site of the very first SEC Championship Game, played host to this edition of the Iron Bowl. It was a pretty dramatic tussle between the two rivals, and 23-22 Auburn was the score with 57 seconds to go in the game. Mike Shula and the Tide had to gear up and scoot down the field with efficiency to keep their nine-game winning streak over the Tigers intact.
Drive down they did. March and march and march they did down Legion Field, as the window for a victory widened with each yard collected. Time, however, was not exactly on their side. With six seconds to go, receiver Greg Richardson skated out of bounds to stop the clock and set the stage for kicker Van Tiffin...
The rest, well, is history.