Playing under the first-ever team rankings by the inaugural College Football Playoff Committee, #3 ranked Auburn faced #4 ranked Ole Miss in cool blustery weather in Oxford, Mississippi, Saturday and the game proved to be a classic 35-31 victory for the Auburn Tigers in the tradition of the rugged SEC West Division.
The atmosphere was electric from before the kick-off and the on-field exploits of both teams kept fans on the edges of their seats right down to the final play. There were miscues by both teams, some turnovers, and a game-ending and simultaneously tragic season-ending tackle/fumble at the goal line on Ole Miss standout wide receiver, Laquon Treadwell, which allowed Auburn to claim the victory and move on in the CFB PLayoffs.
The Ole Miss defense, considered by many as one of the very best in the nation, had permitted no more than 20 points per game in their previous 10 outings and enjoyed a 10 point lead in the third quarter. But Auburn QB Nick Marshall (15/22 for 254 yards and 2 TD’s) kept his tigers battling back.
Although plagued by an uncharacteristic 13 penalties for 145 yards, the Tigers managed to overcome and preserve a much-needed and well-earned victory to earn Game of the Week Honors as part of the United States Sports Academy’s Game of the Year Award.
The “World’s Greatest Outdoor Cocktail Party” left the highly favored #11 Georgia with a humbling loss to Arch-rival Florida 38-20 to come in second place in the Game of the Week balloting. And TCU’s improbable last-play FG giving them a 31-30 victory over West Virginia in Big 12 competition was named third best game of the week.
A national panel of experts chaired by Jack Lengyel, the former athletic director at the United States Naval Academy and coach who resurrected the Marshall University football program, selects the weekly winner of the Academy’s College Football Game of the Year Award. The eminent panel consists of former and legendary coaches and sport administrators, such as Vince Dooley, Mike Lude, and Dr. Dick Young.
Each week’s winner is considered for the award honoring the best College Football Game of the Year at the end of the season. Past winners include such memorable games as Appalachian State over Michigan in 2007, Texas Tech over Texas in 2008, Alabama over LSU in 2011, and Auburn over Alabama in 2013.
With the new FBS four-team playoff instituted this year, the promise of many more memorable games is assured.
Daniel Moore, the American Sports Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) 2005 Sport Artist of the Year, is commissioned by the Academy each year to create a painting honoring the selected College Football Game of the Year. The Academy, also known as America’s Sports University, donates the painting and $5,000 to the general scholarship fund of the annual winner.