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Tigers Weather the Tide

If Auburn commissions a commemorative video of last Saturday's
9-0 victory over Alabama, which put the Tigers in the SEC
Championship Game against Florida, it ought to bring in the
Weather Channel as the coproducer. The front that dumped sleet
and rain on Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa turned the Iron
Bowl into the Mud Bowl, the ideal venue for Auburn junior
tailback Rudi Johnson (below), who rushed 13 times for 47 yards
in the final quarter and was the main reason that the Tigers held
on to the ball for more than 12 of the final 15 minutes (and
nearly 38 minutes overall). Johnson finished with 37 carries for
130 yards, only five fewer than Alabama produced.

In the fourth quarter Auburn received some rousing news on the
sideline: In similarly miserable conditions some 75 miles west of
Tuscaloosa, Arkansas had upset Mississippi State 17-10 in
overtime. The Bulldogs, who had defeated the Tigers 17-10 on Oct.
7, would have been one win from gaining the SEC West championship
with a victory. Instead, 9-2 Auburn clinched the crown by beating
Alabama. When Mississippi State's loss was finally announced over
the public address system as the Tigers celebrated on the field
after their game, the 10,500 Auburn fans in the Crimson Tide's
home stadium roared.

If the air in Tuscaloosa seemed especially chilly to the home
side--"I've never in my life been that cold," said Alabama
receiver Antonio Carter--it was only appropriate for a team that
closed out the failed (24-23) tenure of coach Mike DuBose with a
3-8 season. None of the visitors complained. As Auburn coach
Tommy Tuberville said, "The weather was conducive to what we

--Ivan Maisel