To celebrate the kickoff of the 2011 football season, here’s a picture from every week of Auburn’s championship 2010 season.
Kodi Burns, quarterback turned receiver, scores the first touchdown of the season against Arkansas State, beating the visiting Indian-Red Wolves 52-26. The obscuring shaker just adds to the atmosphere:
A thing of beauty is a joy forever.
After gunning down Arkansas and running over LSU, the season definitely took on a special feel. Up next was Ole Miss, who were just a mascot-less speed bump in the way of a juggernaut. Ole Miss was looking for a Halloween surprise, dressing up as a football team (albeit in new, gray unis) but Auburn took the win in Oxford 51-31. Cam Newton caught a touchdown pass from Kodi Burns. The Tigers were showing themselves to be:
But on the day when Auburn earned the right to go to Atlanta, the Tigers’ offensive line deserved special recognition. Guys like Cameron Newton, well on his way to the Heisman Trophy, wouldn’t have accomplished all he did on the field without these guys:
And the same shot, as told by AUHD:
It was simultaneously the biggest choke ever by Alabama and the largest comeback by Auburn, as the Tigers finished their regular season a perfect 12-0 after the 28-27 victory.
In a year full of tremendous efforts, Antoine Carter may have saved the season on this play, shifting the momentum of the game inexorably into Auburn’s favor:
Some time after this a deranged individual would prove his poor decision making and self-worth by poisoning the trees at Toomer’s Corner.
Half of Auburn was in Atlanta for the SEC Championship game against South Carolina. More of us were in the new Auburn Arena to watch a simulcast. The Tigers played their most complete game of the season, proving themselves a force while winning their first SEC Championship since 2004. Auburn thumped Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks 52-17. More than a few of us grew misty-eyed when the score became 49-14 and we realized these Tigers would have a shot at football glory.
That night I wrote “For 1983, 1993 and 2004. For 270,000 alumni. For every coach and player from Shug to Gene. For Auburn and for ol’ API.”
The state’s newspapers the next day:
A month later Auburn faced Oregon in Arizona and brought home the national championship after Mike Dyer’s run:
… which was exhausting, and Wes Byrum lined up behind senior backup quarterback Neil Caudle to cinch the win:
Kodi Burns, the quarterback who so famously and selflessly said he’d move to wide receiver, unifying the team behind eventual Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton, scored the first touchdown in the season and the first touchdown in this game. From September through January, this team was a joy to watch.
And then there was the final celebration of the year at Toomer’s Corner:
War Eagle, and let’s kick off 2011.
Kenny graduated from Auburn at the turn of the century. He worked in newsrooms across the region and then earned a master’s degree at UAB. He met and married a Yankee, who declared her Auburn allegiance at her first home game. She’s now on the faculty at Auburn. He’s finishing his PhD at Alabama and teaches at Samford University. See him online at www.kennysmith.org and @kennysmith.