The Anatomy of a Miracle
From the situation Auburn faced to the play itself, Nick Marshall-to-Ricardo Louis to beat UGA in 2013 was improbable in every single sense.
So far in the 13 For ‘13 series, we’ve stuck to parallel timelines for the current college football schedule and the 2013 Auburn Tigers. In Week 5 of 2013, though, the Tigers were going through a much-needed off week to retool their plans after a loss at LSU.
Because Auburn plays Georgia this weekend, we’re jumping ahead in our story to the 2013 edition of the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry. You already know what’s coming.
WR Ricardo Louis (Auburn Athletics)
If you’re an Auburn fan, you undoubtedly remember Nick Marshall’s deflected game-winning 73-yard touchdown pass to Ricardo Louis in the final minute of the Tigers’ 2013 win over Georgia.
What you might not remember, though, were all the various attempts to name one of the most memorable plays in Auburn football history.
The winner, for the most part, was “The Prayer at Jordan-Hare.” It was repeated the most in stories after the play, and it’s even the title of the Wikipedia page for the 2013 Auburn-Georgia game.
There were other attempts. Dan Wolken tried a few others, including “The Hail Aubie” and “The Saint Louis Arch.” AL.com cartoonist JD Crowe went with “The Immaculate Deflection” and “Tip to My Lou.” Mark Schlabach offered “The Inaccurate Reception. An online poll also included “Tip, Georgia, Tip” and “Nick of Time.”
But the best name for the play was coined within seconds of it happening.
At this point in the storybook season, Auburn was 9-1, having reeled off six straight wins since the rainy loss at LSU. A win over Georgia — who was making a second straight visit to Auburn due to a reset in SEC scheduling — would set up a winner-take-all Iron Bowl for the right to go to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game.
Auburn jumped all over Georgia, going up by 20 points late in the second quarter and later reestablishing that same lead early in the fourth quarter.
Then the next five drives went like this: Georgia touchdown, Auburn 3-and-out, Georgia Touchdown, Auburn 3-and-out, Georgia touchdown.
After Aaron Murray scored* on fourth-and-goal from the 5 with 1:49 left, Georgia was ahead by 1. The Tigers’ 20-point lead had evaporated in a little more than 10 minutes of game time.
Auburn’s red-hot run was about to get hosed down by rival Georgia in humiliating fashion. The Tigers got a tough first down on the ensuing drive before going backwards on a pass to Sammie Coates, an incompletion to Trovon Reed and a sack on third-and-long.
With 36 seconds left, it was fourth-and-18. Out of the shotgun, Marshall stepped up in the pocket and launched a deep ball to Louis.
It was the wrong read. It was the wrong throw. It was the wrong play by Georgia.
It was an Auburn touchdown.
As the late Rod Bramblett said on his legendary call of the play, it was a miracle.
And there really is no better word for it. From the situation Auburn found itself facing to all the moving parts inside the play itself, every piece of Marshall-to-Louis came together to create something that was nothing short of a football miracle.
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