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Countdown to kickoff: Back in ‘85, Van Tiffin kicked his way into Alabama lore

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One of the greatest Iron Bowls ever played will never be forgotten.

University of Alabama Crimson Tide Photo by Alabama/Collegiate Images via Getty Images

The 1985 Alabama football team was the best coached by Ray Perkins, in the third of his four years. Only two close, heartbreaking losses to Penn State and Tennessee kept the Tide from an unbeaten record heading into the Iron Bowl, where they would face a game Auburn team featuring superstar RB Bo Jackson, who would go on to win the Heisman.

Jackson had a big day against the Tide, finishing with 142 yards and two TDs despite playing through a nagging thigh injury and cracked ribs. However, it was teammate Reggie Ware who scored to give Auburn a one point lead with under a minute left in the game.

On the Tide’s final possession, QB and future Alabama head coach Mike Shula led an improbable drive to get the Tide into field goal range, but only after he took a terrible sack that seemed to extinguish any chance at a comeback (where have we heard this before?) The field goal unit rushed onto the field for a 52-yard attempt, which legendary kicker Van Tiffin sent through the uprights and into the history books. It was Tiffin’s fourth made field goal of the 25-23 victory, which is remembered as one of the best Iron Bowls in series history.

Van instantly became an Alabama legend. He would go on to All-American honors in 1986 and, some 30 years later, would be followed to The Capstone by son Leigh who helped Nick Saban to his first national title in Tuscaloosa.

Take a moment to relive that iconic final drive below. Only 85 days to kickoff, folks.

Roll Tide.