Craig Knows About the Iron Bowl Rivalry Game

Dameyune Craig has played in the Iron Bowl and on Saturday he will be involved again as the wide receivers coach for the Auburn Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.--When the 10-1 and fourth-ranked Auburn Tigers take on undefeated and number one Alabama on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium it's going to be a big game for everyone involved, but for Auburn assistants Dameyune Craig and Rodney Garner it's going to be even more special after both came back to their alma mater to coach the Tigers.

While Garner has been on the Auburn sidelines as a coach in this rivalry, this will be the first time for Craig in the Iron Bowl since running off the Jordan-Hare Stadium field in 1997 a winner in one of the craziest games ever in the series.

With a berth in the SEC Championship Game on the line and trailing 17-6 with just 4:20 left in the third quarter, things looked dire for the Tigers. However, Craig and the Tigers wouldn't be denied during the quarterback's senior season.

It started with a Fred Beasley touchdown run following a 72-yard drive. A Jaret Holmes field goal with nine minutes left cut the Alabama lead to just two, but when Auburn punted the ball with less than three minutes remaining in the game it looked like Atlanta was gone with the wind.

That's when Martavius Houston made one of the most memorable plays in Auburn history. On third and eight Alabama quarterback Freddie Kitchens threw to old high school teammate Ed Scissum on a screen pass, but Houston was waiting. His hit dislodged the ball with Quinton Reese falling on the fumble at the 33. With 15 seconds left Holmes connected on a 39-yard field goal for a thrilling 18-17 victory.

Auburn comes into this year's Iron Bowl game off a very similar circumstances when it looked like defeat was imminent against the Georgia Bulldogs before Ricardo Louis' improbable touchdown catch gave the Tigers a 43-38 win.

With every week and every win the regular season has been building to a potential big finish and now the time is almost here. Craig said it's a moment he can hardly wait for, but he knows when it gets here he and the team will need to be ready.

"I think I have been preparing since I left Auburn to be in this game," Craig said. "This is one of the main reasons I came back to Auburn, to have the opportunity to coach in the Iron Bowl and to help this team climb back to the top.

"I've got to control my emotions," the coach said. "This won't be about the kids, it will be about me controlling my emotions and keeping myself intact. It's like the old days when we had the off-week before we played the Iron Bowl."

Kickoff is set for 2:40 p.m. CST on Saturday and the game will be televised on CBS.


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