Photo courtesy of Auburn athletics
Josh Heupel may be off to Knoxville, but UCF believes it has found its man in Gus Malzahn.
The former national championship winning offensive coordinator turned head coach took the job in Orlando this past week. Malzahn had spent the previous seven years as Auburn head coach after beginning his college head coaching career at Arkansas State.
We cap a 2-part series, looking at Malzahn’s best wins as a head coach. Here are the top five:
5. Tigers Rally Past A&M in a Shootout
(24) Auburn 45, (7) Texas A&M 41
Oct. 19, 2013
In a contest where both teams tallied more than 600 yards and 40 points, Auburn found a way to rally past reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel and No. 7 Texas A&M in College Station. The Tigers trailed 34-24 early in the fourth quarter, but pulled in front on touchdowns runs by quarterback Nick Marshall and running back Cameron Artis-Payne. After Manziel scored a touchdown to put Texas A&M back in front, Tre Mason capped a 13-play, 75-yard drive with a 5-yard touchdown run with 1:19 to play. The Aggies reached the red zone on the game’s final drive but turned it over on downs. Marshall finished with 336 total yards and four total touchdowns in the win.
4. Auburn Ends Bama’s Playoff Hopes
(5) Alabama 45, (15) Auburn 48
Nov. 30, 2019
During Nick Saban’s tenure at Alabama, there’s been no tougher place to play than Jordan-Hare Stadium. After five straight College Football Playoff appearances, the Crimson Tide saw that streak come to an end at the hand of Auburn to cap the 2019 regular season. In a contest that featured nine lead changes, Shaun Shivers put Auburn ahead for good with an 11-yard touchdown with 8:08 to play. After a time-consuming drive, Alabama kicker Joseph Bulovas missed a tying 30-yard field goal with two minutes remaining. The Crimson Tide never saw the ball again. Zakoby McClain and Smoke Monday each returned interceptions for touchdowns in the victory.
3. Tigers Blast Top-Ranked Georgia
(1) Georgia 17, (10) Auburn 40
Nov. 11, 2017
Gus Malzahn beat the nation’s No. 1 team on more than one occasion during his time at Auburn. The most recent came in the “Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry” in 2017. Auburn dominated Georgia with 488 yards to just 230 for the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs scored first, but Auburn answered with 30 straight points to turn it into a rout. Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham accounted for four touchdowns while Kerryon Johnson rushed for 167 yards in the victory. The Tigers sacked Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm four times.
2. The Prayer at Jordan-Hare
(25) Georgia 38, (7) Auburn 43
Nov. 16, 2013
The 2013 Auburn Tigers had every characteristic of a team of destiny. The regular season closed with two improbable wins. Against rival Georgia in mid-November, the contest looked in the bag as the Tigers led 37-17 early in the fourth quarter. In less than an 8-minute span however, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray accounted for three touchdowns to give the Bulldogs a 38-37 lead with less than two minutes to play. On the ensuing drive, Auburn faced 4th-and-18 from its own 27-yard-line with 36 seconds remaining. Down to one play, quarterback Nick Marshall heaved one down the field into triple coverage. Georgia’s Tray Matthews jumped for the interception, but was unable to secure it as the ball bounced into the hands of a streaking Ricardo Louis, who took it the rest of the way for a 73-yard touchdown. The win propelled Auburn into the top 5 and kept its SEC title hopes alive.
1. Auburn Kick-6s No. 1 Alabama
(1) Alabama 28, (4) Auburn 34
Nov. 30, 2016
The SEC West crown and a shot at the national championship hung in the balance as the clock showed one second remaining at Jordan-Hare Stadium on the final day of November 2013. With the scored tied 28-28 in the 2013 installment of the Iron Bowl, Alabama sent kicker Adam Griffith onto the field to try a 57-yard field goal for the win. Griffith’s kick fell short and was fielded in the back of the end zone by Auburn’s Chris Davis. Davis took the kick up the middle before heading to his left. With the help of a couple key blocks, Davis was able to stay in bounds near the sideline as he went the distance for the game-winning touchdown as time expired. The Tigers had clinched the SEC West and would go on to win the conference title and earn a spot in the BCS National Championship.
Mike Ferguson is the managing editor for Fifth Quarter. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. Follow all of Mike’s work by liking his Facebook page.