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Auburn completes remarkable comeback to beat Alabama

It was a comeback for the ages in the Iron Bowl.

Auburn wouldn't let a 24-point deficit on the road against the defending national champion derail its title dreams.

The No. 2 Tigers, led by Cam Newton, beat No. 11 Alabama 28-27 on Friday afternoon in Tuscaloosa, keeping its unbeaten season and shot at the BCS national title alive.

Auburn trailed 24-0 with 5:09 to go in the first half before mounting a stunning comeback.

Newton hit Emory Blake for a 36-yard score to close the gap to 24-7 at halftime. Newton hit Terrell Zachery for a 70-yard touchdown early in the third quarter to pull Auburn to within 24-14. Newton added a 1-yard touchdown run about 10 minutes later and the Tigers trailed 24-21. Alabama added a field goal to take a 27-21 lead into the fourth quarter.

Newton completed the comeback by hitting Philip Lutzenkirchen with a 7-yard pass to make it 28-27 with 11:55 remaining in the game.

From that point, Auburn's defense shut down Alabama. Alabama couldn't convert a fourth down in the closing seconds to seal the win for Auburn. At that point, A.J. McCarron had replaced Alabama starting quarterback Greg McElroy, who had been knocked out with a concussion.

Newton, the Heisman Trophy front-runner, didn't have a great day running the ball, rushing for just 39 yards on 22 carries. But he showed off his arm, completing 13 of 20 passes for 216 yards and three touchdowns.

The real story of the game was Auburn's defense, which couldn't stop Alabama in the first half. The Crimson Tide had 379 yards of total offense in the first half and just 67 in the second half. For most of the first half, Alabama looked liked the No. 2-ranked team going for a national title.

McElroy finished 27 of 37 for a career-high 377 yards and two touchdowns. Julio Jones had 10 catches for 199 yards and a touchdown. Most of this was done in the first half.

Auburn (12-0, 8-0 in the SEC) now is one win away from playing for the BCS national championship in Glendale, Ariz., on Jan. 10. The Tigers play South Carolina for the SEC title next Saturday.

Alabama (9-3, 5-3) is likely looking at the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1 against a Big Ten team.


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