Auburn fans react to Alabama receiver Ja’Corey Brooks’ dramatic fourth-quarter catch. Photo by the author.
By Terrance Turner
Nov. 27, 2021
They hadn’t scored all game. Their standout wide receiver Jameson Williams had been ejected in the first half, due to targeting. They were down 10-0. They had the fewest points they’d ever scored under head coach Nick Saban. They had less than 30 seconds left.
Yet somehow, the Alabama Crimson Tide prevailed. Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, starting in his own end zone, threw one pass after another — some hit, some missed. But with just 24 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Young connected with wide receiver Ja’Corey Brooks for the touchdown. Brooks extended his arms to make the catch, and as he crash-landed to the ground, he maintained possession.
The TD was upheld after review, and the Tide kicker drilled the all-important extra-point to tie the game. Instead of go for it with the time remaining, Auburn simply took a knee and let the clock run out. They’d come so close to beating Alabama — quarterback TJ Finley had located receiver Kobe Hudson for a touchdown in the second quarter, and backup kicker Ben Patton had added a field goal in the third quarter. Now, they were tied — and headed to overtime.
The Iron Bowl has never gone to overtime. But tonight, there were four overtimes. And after the 10-1 Crimson Tide nearly lost in regulation to the 6-5 Auburn Tigers, the Tide fought their way to a thrilling overtime finale.
Auburn won the toss. They deferred. Alabama went first. Young found Bolden for a 6-yard score, but injured Auburn quarterback TJ Finley found tight end Landen King for a 5-yard score (on 3rd and goal). That marked the end of the first overtime. The two teams traded field goals in 2nd OT: a 49-yard kick from B. Patton, and a 38-yard kick from Will Reichard. But at the end, both teams were still tied at 20. By rule, in triple overtime, both teams must attempt only two-point conversions.
In triple overtime, Young threw a quick slant to receiver John Metchie III for a two-point conversion. Auburn did the same; Finley hooked up with tight end John Samuel Shenker, who ran 10 yards in to the end zone for the conversion. Still tied at 22, the two teams headed into their fourth overtime.
Auburn was unable to convert. Finley’s pass to receiver Shedrick Jackson was incomplete and nearly intercepted. Within 30 seconds, Young had thrown a dart to Metchie (again) for the game-sealing two-pointer. Alabama won in quadruple overtime, 24-22.
“It was crazy. It was crazy,” Young said after the game. “Throughout all the ups and downs, even after that last drive, I have so much faith in my guys, my confidence never wavered.”