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November 25, 2012
Players said they fought 'til the end
AUBURN -- Bryant-Denny Stadium has four large video screens in the corner of each end zone to display the quarter, time remaining in the game and most importantly, the score.
No Auburn player seemed to notice them during the game.
Not at the end of the first quarter when the deficit was only 14, not at halftime when the score had jumped to 42-0 and not at the end of the game as Auburn walked off the field to a strong gathering of Alabama fans mockingly chanting "Chizik" repeatedly as they filed into the tunnel.
"(The coaches) told us not to worry about the score, and as a team we didn't," sophomore defensive tackle Angelo Blackson said. "We just went out there and played football."
But what goes through a player's head when the score is 42-0 against his school's arch-rival?
"At that point, you try not to look at the scoreboard, and you play for pride," senior defensive back T'Sharvan Bell said.
"It's a pride thing," Blackson said. "We know those guy would have put 100 on us if they could."
"You have to keep going," junior linebacker Jake Holland said. "You're out there because you love the game. You have to have pride in your team and in the 'AU' that you wear."
Auburn's pride was tested in one of the most lopsided Iron Bowls ever. The 49-0 shutout was one touchdown shy of eclipsing the 55-0 mark set by Alabama in 1948.
Auburn staked claim to the worst record during the AP Poll era by a team two years removed from a national championship.
Auburn became the first team to finish seventh in the SEC West.
Auburn finished the final three SEC games with a combined halftime score of 112-7.
To top it off, Auburn was serenaded with chants of "Rammer Jammer" from approximately 100,000 Alabama fans during the closing seconds of the game.
A vastly difference scene from how they left Bryant-Denny two years ago.
In the face of a similar situation, sophomore offensive lineman Chad Slade pulled inspiration from that landmark victory.
"Two years ago, they were down 24-0 and came back," Slade said. "If you're down a lot to none, you have to keep working hard and pushing hard. You never know what's going to happen"
Anyone who kept the channel on CBS long enough saw what happened in the second half. The last 24 minutes of the game were scoreless for both sides with Alabama's second team running against many of Auburn's starters. At that point, Nosa Eguae said it was simply about finishing as strongly as possible.
"When you step on that field, you look each other in the eyes and say, 'We're going to fight this thing to the end,'" Eguae said.
At the end, Chizik told his team he was proud of the fight they showed all season.
"He just told us to keep our heads up," Blackson said. "It's what we sign up for. It's part of the game. You sign up to win; you sign up to lose. Nobody gave up."