Published August 9, 2012 - 1:45pm
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SDS is counting down the 10 most memorable games of 2011. This countdown will not include any bowl games, the SEC Championship, nor the national championship because they would obviously take precedence. Let’s stick to the regular season. After all, it is the best regular season in all of sports.
Game 7: Mississippi State at Auburn – Week 2
“The Game of Inches”
If you missed MSU-Auburn, you missed one hell of a football game that literally came down to inches. Auburn came in riding a sixteen-game winning streak dating back to the previous year, and Mississippi State was ranked and had high aspirations of gaining some momentum heading into the rest of the season. But the momentum stopped one yard short as time expired.
The score was tied at 14 heading into the half, as both teams traded punches in the first and second quarters.
Fast-forward to the second half and the teams traded points, much like the first half, but at a quicker pace.
Auburn finally held a slight and comfortable lead on MSU 41-27 with 14:03 left in the game.
MSU then scored on a Vick Ballard three-yard run to cut the lead to 41-34 with 4:51 left.
State was able get the ball back and drove it straight down the Tigers’ throats with time running out, but quarterback Chris Relf was tackled literally inches shy of the goal line as time expired.
Auburn escaped a victory and extended their lead to 17 games in a row.
Dan Mullen loved Relf’s confidence on the last play of the game even though he came up short.
“Chris made the call on the last play of the game,” Mullen said. “We gave him two choices (pass or run). I put it in his hands and he made the right call. I like that. I like that confidence.
“Chris said, ‘I feel great about this run call.’ It looked like he had it and the kid made a heck of an open-field tackle.”
Auburn backup safety Ryan Smith saved the day.
Final Score: No. 16 Mississippi State 34, Auburn 41
It was over when: Auburn hit and stopped Chris Relf at the one-yard line and time expired
Notable play: Backup safety Ryan Smith stops the bull rush of Chris Relf at the goal line to end the game
Uh-oh moment: MSU driving late and looking to score a touchdown to tie the game and put it into overtime
Notable stats: Chris Relf combined for 301 yards and one TD. Vick Ballard rushed for 135 yards and one TD, while Mike Dyer carried 18 times for 150 yards and two TDs