Skip to main content

Fiction: I-A Playoffs: Auburn Carted Off as National Champions

Auburn 20, USC 17
Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville was carried off the field as undefeated and uncontested national champions, after defeating a shocked USC squad 20-17 on a last-second FG by K John Vaughn.

The Tigers got here by beating Utah 29-27, Louisville 24-0, and Michigan 24-21. USC got here by beating Boise St. 42-34, Iowa 31-0, and Georgia 37-21. (Michigan beat the previously-unbeaten Sooners 37-33 to set up their semifinal match with USC).

Billed as a high-scoring affair, the tough Tiger defense set the tone with 5 sacks of QB Matt Leinart, and a couple of interceptions, one of which was returned for a TD by J. Rosegreen. At the time it made the score 17-7 late in the 3rd quarter, but the Trojans came right back with a big drive, alternating big RB Reggie Bush rushes and QB Matt Leinart passes. Ultimately Leinart found WR Dwayne Jarrett in the end zone, cutting the lead to 17-14.

After a 3-and-out, the USC offense again drove the length of the field, but the national champion Tiger defense held firm, holding the Trojans to a FG to tie the game with 1:47 remaining. Then, in the defining drive of the game, Orange Bowl MVP Jason Campbell led a bruising drive, with 3 3rd-down conversions. With two seconds left, Vaughn lined up for the 37 yard field goal and nailed it.

After the game, coach Tuberville, who nearly lost his job at the end of last season, said, "I just wanted to win by one, that's all that counts. If you have to win with style points, you might as well throw out all the systems.''

This reporter couldn't agree more. And hopefully next year, I won't need to resort to fiction to find a true national champion. Hopefully we'll have one for real.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Nick Shafnisky Is Pushing Hard to Get To Play at the Next Level in Football

"Don't take anything for granted, just keep pushing."
Those are the words of QB Nick Shafnisky, told to The Whitehall-Coplay Press all the way back in 2013, about his preparation as a high school athlete.
And they seem to summarize the Whitehall, PA native perfectly, then as now.
Dubbed the "Male Athlete of the Year" by that publication, the article goes on about Shaf's many exploits at Whitehall high school - leading the Zephyr football team to a co-Lehigh Valley Conference title, becoming the first player ever in that conference to rush and pass for over 1,000 yards, and earning the league's co-MVP award as well.
He also was a member of the Zephyrs playoff basketball team, and for good measure also helped set a record for the 4x100 relay team as well.
At Whitehall, and at Lehigh, coaches pushed him, but it was his own hard work that helped make him the best athlete he could be.
This weekend, Shaf, like every eligible college football player, will be …

#TheRivalry Flashback: November 21st, 1987: Lehigh 17, Lafayette 10

Since becoming an undergrad at Lehigh back in the late 1980s, I first heard about the historic nature of the football team and "The Rivalry" through the stories that fellow students would share.

I did not attend the final meeting between Lehigh and Lafayette at Taylor Stadium, which was the final time a football game would be played there.

Those that did attend said that was that it was cold.

"I remember it being one of the coldest games ever," Mark Redmann recollected, "with strong Northwesterly winds and the temperature hovering around 20.  By the end of the game, the stands were half empty because most of the fans just couldn't take the cold.

"Fortunately, several of my fraternity brothers snuck in flasks to help fend off the chill."

Dominick Bragalone Goes Into Monster Mode As Lehigh Is One Win Away From Title

It has been a most unusual season for Lehigh.

Starting the year off at 0-5 and getting swept in their out-of-conference schedule, the Mountain Hawks were in danger of having their season go off the rails.

But two things have come together over the last five football games that have put Lehigh on the brink of back-to-back championships.

The first is the late blooming of the Lehigh defense, which kept battling every week since the low point of the September 30th loss to Wagner to do the job in four of their five Patriot League conference games. 

The second is the development of junior RB Dominick Bragalone into a bellcow running back, a back who has to be in the conversation for Patriot League offensive player of the year.

In five Patriot League games, Bragalone has run for 863 yards in 5 games, rushing for 11 touchdowns and adding two more receiving touchdowns as well. 

The South Williamsport, PA native certainly wasn't unknown before this week - after all, as a freshman and a sop…