James Jones column: Alabama survives Iron Bowl on “Milroe Miracle”

Published 7:37 am Monday, November 27, 2023

Last weekend, I said quarterback Jalen Milroe was the key to Alabama winning the Iron Bowl against Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Not only did Milroe deliver for the Crimson Tide, but he also became an instant legend.

Milroe and Isaiah Bond connected on a 31-yard touchdown pass with 32 seconds left, leading Alabama to a 27-24 victory.

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The play is known by Alabama fans as the “Milroe Miracle.”

In the Selma Times-Journal’s weekly Pigskin Picks, I picked Alabama to win (My late mother always told me to pick Alabama football no matter what).

Deep down, I knew it would be difficult for Alabama to win at the Loveliest Village on the Plains.

I told family and friends that I wouldn’t be shocked if Auburn won the game because the Tigers had a home-field advantage. They did not listen, always falling for the records and statistics.  Records are always meaningless in the Iron Bowl and this year was no different.

Everyone knows what happened 10 years ago when Auburn won the contest known as the “Kick Six,” in which a missed field goal return for a touchdown was the difference.

Of course, Auburn fans and national media ran the Tigers 34-28 victory into the ground.

Even Alabama head coach Nick Saban wondered if the Crimson Tide could get a breakdown on the Plains.

“There’s been some weird stuff happening here, and this is the first time I can remember it going in our favor,” Saban joked at the Press conference. “It’s a great win for our team. It’s a great win for our state. It’s a great win for our fans. But for next week, we have to do better.”

Milroe, who finished 16 of 24 for 259 yards and two scores. with 107 rushing yards, said the desperation play taught him a valuable lesson. “Never give up,” Milroe said. “Always fall back on your training. It’s all about mental toughness. That’s what is going to get you through a game. Not one quarter, two quarters, three quarters. It’s going to take all 60 minutes. That’s exactly what took place.”

As long as Saban is coaching Alabama, the Crimson Tide always has a chance.