He’s a miracle worker and a hometown hero. This is one of those sports stories where a player becomes famous after doing something remarkable on the field, not only to pull off a miraculous victory but also to change the course of the season.
We’ll always remember Chris Davis catching Alabama’s missed field goal attempt in the Iron Bowl and then returning it back more than 100 yards for a game-winning touchdown. So now, after having successfully pulled off the top play of the year, he’s become a household name around college football. He delivered perhaps the greatest ending to a game in FBS history, and since then Davis has become an overnight celebrity on campus. He made it to the cover of the Sports Illustrated and got standing ovations from students when he walked into geology and finance classes.
He was fascinated by the moral support around campus. Fans were expressing their gratitude for a man who was part of Auburn’s turnaround and greatly responsible for the Tigers success. It’s true that Davis was in the greatest rivalry game in college football the bigger Auburn hero. If it wasn’t for Davis, the Tigers likely wouldn’t be here playing for a national title, but now they are clearly in position to win it all and celebrate in Pasadena.
Losers no longer, Auburn and Davis are the epitome of miracles in sports and the masters of the impossible. It’s hard to believe Auburn went 3-9 and winless in the SEC, and suddenly turned it around with a season that has landed the Tigers in the national championship game Monday night at the Rose Bowl against Florida State. This year saw the emergence of the Tigers in the Southeastern Conference under new head coach Gus Malzahn, who has the brightest offensive mind for football.
Meanwhile, Davis is the heart and soul of the Auburn program, just like his coach. He was part of the Auburn team that won a national championship in 2010, and still was around when the program had a miserable season. He missed the BCS title game against Oregon on the opening kickoff after suffering a high ankle sprain as staying healthy was his toughest hurdle throughout his career at Auburn. During his sophomore season, Davis battled shoulder and ankle injuries, then suffered a concussion as a junior.
But now, since the Tigers never gave up and continued their improbable run, Davis is trying to embrace the moment as there is unfinished business — one win away from a national title. This year it is Auburn that has taken us by surprise, mainly because this is a team that believes in themselves. This year it is Davis and even teammate Ricardo Louis, who have taken us by surprise, mainly because they had a positive attitude and came back stronger and bigger than ever after the firing of their championship coach.
Everybody remembers the game that Louis hauled in a 73-yard touchdown Hail Mary pass from Nick Marshall in desperation to beat Georgia. It was a season full of the unexpected and improbable, as we all know, and Davis and Louis had the two miracle plays that changed everything. When Davis sat at a podium, he tried to talk about his life and that game-winning 109-yard return that took the nation by storm. When he was 2 years old, two men in Birmingham shot his father.
With all due respect, the Birmingham City Council passed an Iron Bowl resolution paying homage to Davis. He’s treated like a celebrity back in Alabama, and people are constantly coming up to him for autographs and photos. I think he’s clearly the top defensive back and one of the best punt returners in the land. The truth is, he’s a dangerous player when he catches the ball and takes off with it.
On paper, Florida State is the favorites and better team. But I believe in miracles and Auburn’s turnaround has been nothing short of remarkable. If the game is close, the Tigers will find a way to win. The Tigers are defined as the team of dynasty, but I’m starting to believe they are the team of miracles. Luck or not, the Tigers deserve to be here. In fairness, Auburn beat the defending champions Alabama and proved to the world it is arguably the best team in the SEC.
Hey, maybe we’ll see another miracle from Davis.
It’s hard to imagine it happening ever again.
You never know.