Freshman Bo Jackson scored from a yard out on fourth down, ending a 67-yard drive with 2:26 left and giving Auburn a 23-22 victory today, its first over Alabama since 1972.
The victory set off a wild celebration, during which Auburn fans tore down one goal post and Auburn's team returned to the field from its dressing room to join in the fun.
"This is the truth: I'd rather beat anybody in the world but Coach (Bear) Bryant," said Pat Dye, second-year coach of the Tigers. " . . . There's no way I'll ever be able to repay him."
Dye, a one-time Alabama assistant, is the first former pupil to beat Bryant since 1970.
Auburn, headed for the Tangerine Bowl, scored nine straight points in the last quarter to give Alabama (7-4) its third straight loss in a season for the first time since 1957, the year before Bryant became coach.
Auburn began the winning drive on its 34. Jackson kept it going by diving for a first down at the Alabama 42 on fourth down.
Quarterback Randy Campbell threw a 16-yard pass to Mike Edwards at the 30, and a pass interference call on Stan Gay, who had appeared to have an interception, gave the Tigers a first down at the nine. Jackson got eight yards on a pass from Campbell, then hurdled the last yard.
Alabama had two more chances, but Bob Harris intercepted a fourth-down pass and the Tigers held the last time with 13 seconds left.
Alabama, which gained more yards than Auburn, trailed, 14-13, at the half -- the first Auburn touchdown set up by Tim Drinkard's 60-yard run with a fumble, the second by Harris's interception. In the third period, Alabama took a 22-14 lead as Paul Carruth scored from eight yards out and Peter Kim kicked his third field goal of the game.