Auburn Tigers wide receiver Ricardo Louis (5) scores the game-winning touchdown against the Georgia Bulldogs at Jordan Hare Stadium. The Tigers defeated the Bulldogs 43-38. Photo: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports
AUBURN, Ala. - Bring on an Iron Bowl for the ages - by a miracle.
After one of the most stunning fourth-quarter collapses in Southeastern Conference history, No. 9 Auburn ultimately delivered the biggest shock of all, beating Georgia 43-38 on a 73-yard touchdown pass from Nick Marshall to Ricardo Louis with 25 seconds left.
PHOTOS | Auburn defeats Georgia, 43-38
The play, which occurred and 4th-and-12, will forever be part of Auburn lore as two Georgia defensive backs - Josh Harvey-Clemsons and Tray Matthews - collided trying to break up the pass. Instead of falling incomplete, it deflected high into the air and into the arms of Louis, who then went untouched into the end zone as Jordan-Hare Stadium shook.
It was just the latest improbable sequence in a year where Auburn has won six games by a touchdown or fewer and put itself in position to win an SEC West title. One season after finishing 3-9 and going winless in the SEC, that accomplishment will be on the line Nov. 30 when the 10-1 Tigers host No. 1 Alabama.
Those dreams appeared crushed when Auburn's 20-point lead early in the fourth quarter evaporated and Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray reached the end zone on a 5-yard touchdown run with 1:49 remaining, giving the Bulldogs a 38-37 lead.
Though Auburn dominated most of the game, scoring on seven of its first nine possessions, it seemed red zone difficulties (settling for four field-goal attempts, three of which were made) and a deteriorating defense were going to come back to haunt the Tigers.
Instead, players and coaches rushed the field as Murray's last-gasp into the end zone was deflected and fell incomplete, continuing Auburn's charmed run.
Murray finished 33-for-49 for 414 yards and two touchdowns. Auburn controlled the clock for nearly 35 minutes and racked up 566 total yards, including 322 on the ground.