1972 Alabama-Auburn: Punt Bama Punt!
by Kavin Caruso
It was Saturday December 2nd, 1972 in Birmingham, Alabama where Alabama met Auburn. In this rivalry game, known as the Iron Bowl is one the most storied rival game. Alabama going into the game was 10-0, number 2 in the nation. Auburn being 8-1, number 9 in the nation was a 16 point underdog. This game was later known as “Punt Bama Punt.” Bear Bryant the legendary coach at Alabama was having a great season, Ralph Jordan the Auburn coach was also having a dandy season in 1972. Pat Sullivan won the Heisman trophy in 1971 while playing for Auburn.
This game was played at Legion Field, where it was a neutral field for both schools. In the first quarter, neither teams scored, in the second quarter Alabama got on the board with a Steve Bisceglia’s 3 yard touchdown run. The extra point was blocked, so Alabama led 6-0. Later in the second quarter, Alabama’s Bill Davis made a 29 yard field goal that made it 9-0. In the 3rd quarter, Auburn didn’t score again; Alabama did get a touchdown by Wilbur Jackson. He scored a 5 yard touchdown run to make it a 16-0 lead.
Now the 4th quarter starts and drama will begin. Auburn’s David Langer converted two block punts into touchdowns in the 4th quarter. Auburn did score on a Gardner Jett’s 42 yard field goal early in the 4th quarter. Then Alabama offense couldn’t do anything, and then Alabama’s Greg Gantt punt was blocked by Bill Newton with 10 minutes to go in the game. David Langer waited for the ball and caught it and ran for 25 yards for a touchdown. All the sudden its now 16-10! Uh OH!! It’s now a ballgame.
Alabama again had the ball and still couldn’t do anything. Alabama lines up for the punt, Greg Gantt the punter, his punt is blocked again! Bill Newton and David Langer blocked the punt and Langer ran 20 yards for the touchdown! With the extra point, Auburn now leads 17-16. That would be the final score of the game. That would be Alabama’s worst upset in this storied rivalry game.
Alabama finished the season at 10-1. They did win the SEC Conference and went on to play in the Cotton Bowl. They would lose to Texas and finished 10-2 and ranked number 7 in the top 25. Auburn on the other hand finished with a 9-1 record. They played in the Gator Bowl and beat Colorado.
Auburn finished the season at 10-1 and ranked number 5 in the top 25. So this game became known as “Punt Bama Punt” in the later years after this game was played.