It was a heck of a game for Auburn defensive back David Langner, who returned two Bill Newton blocked punts for touchdowns before he intercepted a pass from Alabama quarterback Terry Davis to seal a 17-16 victory for the Tigers at Birmingham's Legion Field on Dec. 2, 1972.
The game, affectionately known as "Punt Bama Punt" by Auburn fans, will go down as one of the biggest games in Auburn's football history.
Legend has it that weeks earlier, Alabama head coach Paul "Bear" Bryant was quoted saying, "I rather beat that cow college than beat Texas 10 times," referring to his cross-state rival Auburn, then led by head coach Ralph "Shug" Jordan.
Alabama entered the game ranked second in the Associated Press poll and was a 16-point favorite against the ninth-ranked Auburn Tigers. The Tide was set to face Texas in the Cotton Bowl and was in contention for another national championship.
The Crimson Tide held a 16-0 lead with 10 minutes remaining in the contest. Auburn would drive to kick a field goal and make the score 16-3.
Auburn's defense held Alabama, forcing the Tide to punt. Newton blocked his first Greg Gantt punt, with Langner running 25 yards for the Tiger touchdown to make the score 16–10.
Later in the game, Alabama found itself in another punting situation, and like the time before, Newton blocked the punt, and Langner returned it for a touchdown. The extra point gave Auburn the lead, which held on for the 17-16 win.
It would be another decade until Auburn defeated Alabama again.
Langner passed away in 2014.
Jeff Poor is the executive editor of 1819 News and host of "The Jeff Poor Show," heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile's FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.
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