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Auburn tops Tide to stay unbeaten
Published November 21, 2004
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Jason Campbell looked every bit the Heisman Trophy contender and Auburn played like a national championship contender - at least in the second half.
The Tigers' 21-13 victory over Alabama ended as a survival contest instead of a hoped-for statement game, and left coach Tommy Tuberville lobbying for his team.
"This is the Iron Bowl and that's what it should be like," Tuberville said. "People will say, "They struggled,' and most people who vote haven't been at this game before."
Still, the question is will an impressive final 30 minutes be enough to cancel out a 6-0 halftime deficit and lackluster start in the minds of poll voters. The Tigers were tied for No. 2 with Oklahoma in the Associated Press Top 25, but third in the BCS standings behind second-place Oklahoma, which beat Baylor 35-0, and Southern California.
Again, Tuberville had strong opinions: "We should be the top one - but we'd take two."
"When we were down, no one panicked or pointed fingers," said tailback Carnell Williams, whose 44th touchdown run broke Bo Jackson's school record.
"We weren't concerned," said Campbell, who passed for most of his 224 yards after halftime and finished 18-of-24.
But the nation's top scoring defense ran into a little trouble late. Alabama drove 84 yards on 11 plays in the final minutes, scoring on Spencer Pennington's 18-yard pass to D.J. Hall with 1:26 left. Courtney Taylor recovered the onside kick for the Tigers, who ran out the clock.
They completed their first perfect regular season since 1993, when the team was on probation.