Saban: The Responsibility Is Mine

No one, not even Nick Saban, could find a way to put this year's Iron Bowl into perspective. A game billed as the biggest Iron Bowl ever ended in the most improbable way imaginable, and Saban was as shocked as the rest of us.

"That's the first time I've ever lost a game like that," Saban said. "It's the first time I've ever seen a game lost that way."

It was the return of a missed 57-yard field goal, 100 yards officially but more like 109 in reality, that gave Auburn the 34-28 win as time expired.

The shocking return was only made possible by a series of coincidences. First, three failed field goals by Cade Foster left the game close, and Saban lacking confidence in his regular kicker. Second, it took an instant replay review to determine that a fraction of a second remained to play in the fourth quarter after it looked like time had expired. Then there was the decision to attempt the field goal, which depended in part on which way the wind was blowing.

"Griff makes them in warm-ups from 60 yards," Saban said of kicker Adam Griffin, who was called on to make the attempt. "And we had the wind in the fourth quarter, so I thought there was a realistic chance we would make it."

Instead, Auburn's Chris Davis fielded the short field goal and raced down the Auburn sideline.

"It just looked like we didn't have anybody out on the right sideline," Saban said. "We saw they put a return guy back there and we told everybody we've got to fan out and cover.

"It's not a great way to lose a game."

Saban said he told his team after the game that he was proud of their competitiveness and their improvement over the season.

"I still think we have one of the best teams in the country," he said. "Everybody knew what was out there in front of us. We just didn't play like it today."

Saban credited the Auburn rushing attack. You have to have tremendous discipline against them, he said.

Saban also addressed the decision to go for a fourth down in Auburn territory instead of trying another field goal in the fourth quarter. Saban said that Foster's three misses were a factor. He said that his offense had been good on short yardage all year, too, and he thought the percentages weighed in favor of going for it.

In closing Saban said what one would expect any coach to say about the miscues and decisions that allowed Auburn to pull off the stunning win.

"That responsibility is mine."

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