Well, if you didn’t watch this, you missed one of the best National Championship games in CFSL history. And that’s saying something, because we’ve seen some really good ones. For the fourth straight season, an SEC team has won the National Title, and ever since we went to conferences it’s been all SEC teams taking home a title. This game was one where Auburn was supposed to be written off, wasn’t supposed to stand a chance, and yet we found ourselves needing overtime for this to have a resolution. So let’s examine this by quarter.
Talk about your defensive showdowns. These two teams were exchanging punts as if you’d exchange presents at Christmas. The first quarter was scoreless, nobody could put up points, and there was only a drive or two where either offense crossed midfield. There was a point around the middle of the first quarter where Auburn corner LaRoi Sanders dropped an interception, and that hurt. Auburn had a drive into the redzone where ultimately they were stopped on a fourth and one instead of taking the points, that took place in the closing seconds of this quarter. So we ended the first quarter with Texas starting a long drive, but scoreless all around.
Texas then got down to the goalline, Tatum runs, fumbles, Auburn recovers and then they drive the length of the field. Where at about the midway point, Billy Carter had a nice run off the edge set up a Griffin Jelkic run to put Auburn on the board. Seven points for the Tigers, nothing for the Longhorns. Then, Griffin Jelkic and Ray Tatum spent the remainder of the quarter turning the ball over or leading drives that would stall out. Ultimately, though, that one touchdown looked crucial especially since with a little more than a minute to go, Auburn kicker Friar Cook missed a field goal which left things at 7-0 going into halftime.
This is the quarter where everything began to really go south for Texas. Texas opens the half with a pick six by Tatum, as safety Rian Chambers put Auburn ahead 14-0 early. But, Ray Tatum led the Longhorns down the field where he responded with a touchdown pass to tight end Jackson James, making it 14-7 still early in the third quarter. Auburn’s follow up drive stalled out inside the Texas ten, where Cook was able to deliver on his second field goal which made it 17-7, still an Auburn lead.
When the fourth quarter opened, there was a 10 point deficit for Texas. But that would quickly be erased, courtesy of Ray Tatum connecting with receiver Ray Conely for six. It became a milestone as Conley tied the single season record for touchdown receptions but it was a three point game, 17-14. Then, with just under four minutes, Texas has a pick six courtesy of corner Terrence Top who put the Longhorns up 21-17. Auburn would then drive the length of the field, and Jelkic would put one in the back of the endzone for receiver Cross Ferry III to put Auburn ahead 24-21. Then, with just over a minute, Tatum drove the length of the field to put Texas in field goal range where kicker Gunner Graham would deliver. 24-24, overtime we go.
Auburn started with the ball, had a nice drive going until Jelkic threw the interception to the linebacker Pluto Ross. Fortunately for Auburn, they chased Ross down but Texas still would have possession. They stalled out, and then Gunner Graham walked out to deliver the game winner. 27-24, Texas wins the title.
In all, this game had everything you could want, offensive plays that made you leap, defensive plays that did the same, tension, excitement, and a game for the ages that will be heralded as one of the greatest for seasons to come. The game is still on Twitch, if you haven’t seen it, what are you doing?