2013 was an absolutely thrilling season in the Southeastern Conference, and the league took on more of an offensive identity, with several more shootouts than expected. Defense took a backseat to high-flying offenses, and many points were scored.
And because shootouts were much more prevalent, it led to incredible games along the way. SDS will count down the SEC’s top 10 games, and we finish with No. 5 – No. 1:
5. Auburn 59, Missouri 42
Date: December 7th
Buzz: It was only fitting with the SEC’s offensive identity in 2013 that the SEC Championship became a shootout. Auburn and Mizzou combined for 101 points, 53 first downs and 1,211 total yards. However, the two biggest numbers that stand out are Auburn’s 545 total rushing yards and Tre Mason’s 304-yard, four-touchdown performance. No matter what Missouri tried on defense, Auburn ran right through them and put on a show. In fact, that single performance boosted Mason to New York for the Heisman ceremony.
4. Georgia 44, LSU 41
Date: September 28th
Buzz: What a game! If you like two future NFL quarterbacks carving up young, inexperienced secondaries, this was the game for you! Georgia’s Aaron Murray threw for 298 yards and four touchdowns, while LSU’s Zach Mettenberger threw for 372 yards and three touchdowns. Both teams traded scores, and LSU even pulled ahead of Georgia with 4:14 to play. Then, Aaron Murray took UGA on a six-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Justin Scott-Wesley. Georgia’s defense didn’t make many plays all day, but they got pressure on Mett on the final drive and held Jeremy Hill to under 100 yards. That was ultimately the difference. What a game!
3. Auburn 43, Georgia 38
Date: November 16th
Buzz: The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry delivered one of the best games of the entire college football season. Auburn came out guns a blazing and took a 37-17 fourth-quarter lead before Aaron Murray went off. Murray led Georgia to three straight scores, including a five-yard touchdown pass to Rantavious Wooten, a 24-yard touchdown pass to Arthur Lynch and a five-yard, head-splitting touchdown run by Aaron Murray for the go-ahead 38-37 score. It looked like it was over with Georgia in sole possession of the lead and all the momentum. Then, the unthinkable happened. On 4th and 18 from their own 27-yard line, Nick Marshall dropped back and threw up a prayer 73-yard pass that tipped off two Georgia players and landed gracefully in Ricardo Louis’ arms for the lead with 25 seconds. In what would be some programs’ best play in history, it wasn’t even the best play in the month for Destiny’s Darlings, the Auburn Tigers. What a thriller!
2. Alabama 49, Texas A&M 42
Date: September 14th
Buzz: Had you told me back in September that there would be a better and more thrilling game than Alabama-Texas A&M, I would have said you were certifiably crazy! We knew by the outcome of Alabama-Texas A&M, the SEC’s mantra of ‘defense’ would take a back seat in 2013. Johnny Manziel accounted for 562 total yards and five touchdowns, and he didn’t even get the win, more so because he had two INTs, including a pick-six. That’s because Alabama’s offense sliced through Texas A&M’s defense like hot butter, putting up 568 yards, and AJ McCarron delivered a 334-yard, four-touchdown performance on college football’s biggest stage for the week.
1. Auburn 34, Alabama 28
Date: November 30th
Buzz: Did you think No. 1 would be any other game? There was so much hype and build-up for this year’s Iron Bowl like none other. And, boy, did it deliver! It was the best ending to any college football game I can remember, and that includes the ‘Band on the Field’ game between Stanford and Cal. Alabama seized a 21-7 lead in the second quarter and had all the momentum before Auburn ran it right down Alabama’s throats for the score just before half, and they did the same thing in the third quarter to tie it at 21 right after halftime. AJ McCarron’s 99-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper was unbelievable, and yet, it will be forgotten because of Auburn scoring two touchdowns in 30 (30!) seconds. Nick Marshall hit Sammie Coates on the 39-yard touchdown pass, and Chris Davis’ ‘Kick-Six’ will forever be remembered by everyone, not just in the state of Alabama. Just the circumstances leading up to the kick, with Alabama begging for one second back on the clock, and Davis taking that one second and crushing dreams with it. Incredible! Auburn clinched the SEC West, ultimately winning the SEC Championship, and they will play FSU for all the marbles…all because of a tipped Hail Mary against UGA and a Kick-Six against Alabama.
Photo Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports