Throughout my four years as a student at Auburn University, I witnessed first hand what it means to be a member of the Auburn Family. The Auburn Family always supports, always encourages and always cheers.
I was spoiled my freshman year. Our football team was not expected to be anything remarkable, and I expected just another football season with wins and losses. Boy was I wrong. As each game came and went, we were still undefeated. It was amazing.
Our team and fans rolled in to the infamous Tuscaloosa, Ala., and were ready to beat the defending National Champions and so far undefeated Crimson Tide. It was not an easy 60 minutes. However, thanks to the incredible Cam Newton (and Lutzenkirchen) we pulled it out and won the game. Excuse me, we won the Iron Bowl.
Although I was sad to not make the trip out to Glendale, watching the game in Auburn was just as exciting. I gathered with all of my closest friends and watched the Tigers beat the Ducks. Not even one minute after the game, we were headed to Toomer’s Corner. It was truly a winter wonderland. Actually, it was prettier.
I had never experienced such excitement, and I never thought I would be this proud to be a student at Auburn University.
The hype continued throughout the spring and summer, and another football season came and went. Nothing could compare to the 2010 season. We won and lost, however, we still showed up to every game and left with a positive attitude.
This is when the dark cloud comes over Jordan-Hare.
2012 was a hard year.
It was my junior year, and I had gotten into the swing of being a college student, and I was enjoying every second of it.
We lost, we lost and we lost. We ended the football season with a 3-9 record. However, I saw a side of Auburn that I loved. I knew it was there, but this really brought it out. The Auburn Family. It really does exist. Throughout this season, Auburn fans became closer than ever. We all still showed up to all of the games and supported the team. Yes, the season was a heartbreaker, but we didn’t give up.
They called it Auburn’s worst season since 1950.
The 2012-2013 school year ended up turning around. The university hired Coach Gus Malzahn, and the nation’s largest spring game crowd packed in Jordan-Hare to see Malzahn’s first game.
It was my senior year. I did not want a repeat of the previous season. I was interested to see what the 2013 season would be like. I honestly did not have a clue. Auburn entered the season unranked, and I didn’t really expect us to ever be ranked.
The won our first few games, which was exciting. Then we lost to LSU, but in the second half of the game, we looked GOOD. We never gave up. That game turned things around.
After returning to Auburn from Baton Rouge, we won, and then we won some more.
Growing up in Georgia, I had high expectations for the game against the University of Georgia. I wanted to beat them so bad.
After a stressful game, there it was: The Prayer in Jordan Hare. It was a dream. Seriously. I have never seen Jordan Hare so excited, so loud and so alive. Now, everyone was focused on Alabama chanting “We want Bama” over and over again.
I went home for Thanksgiving break, along with the rest of the student body, to prepare for the Iron Bowl. It was nerve racking. They were out to get us, and we knew it. They were scared of us, and we knew it.
The game went back and forth, and I knew we could pull it out if time worked in our favor. We were tied up and Alabama begged for one more second so they could kick a field goal and win the game (keep in mind they had already missed two and had one blocked). Well, this back fired on little ole Nick Saban. A miracle. That’s truly what it was. Chris Davis ran the ball back to score and win the game. He really ran it back.
It was the best last football game in Jordan Hare that I could have ever imagined. Nothing could ever compare to the feeling.
Everyone on the field after the game: that was the Auburn Family. You could just feel it. It was a feeling I will never forget.
My four years at Auburn were some of the most historic years the university, and the country, has seen. We won a national championship in 2010, had one of the worst seasons in 2012 and had the best comeback in college football history one year later in 2013. It is hard to put all of my feeling into words.
I do know I will never forget those moments, or any moment I have had while a student at Auburn. I am sad to go, but I know I’ll be back. I could not have asked for more out of my college experience.
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