Sure, Chris Davis’ gutty decision to take the missed 57-yard field goal by the Crimson Tide in the back of the end zone 109 yards for the stunning winning touchdown ranks as the play of the season, perhaps of the decade and maybe even in all of NCAA football history. But the victory that has turned the BCS upside down has to be credited to Malzahn, who had his team ready and confident of getting the victory that no one thought would be possible.
The Tigers fans weren’t sure if Malzahn, when he got the job last December, could get the job done at Auburn even though he was the top assistant in 2010 while helping the team to the national title. His tenure at Arkansas State molded his head coaching skills so that he was able to be the man the Tigers would need. When he took the job, Malzahn said he appreciated the faith the Auburn administration and search committee had in him as the person to turn the program at Auburn around and back to national prominence.
The run that Davis made will put his name in the minds of NCAA football fans for a long time. But it was his run that also confirmed the fact that Malzahn was the man to get the job done for Auburn and give the Tigers a chance to be national powers again.
Malzahn actually didn’t need to beat Alabama to prove what an outstanding coach he is. He had already proved it. But the stunning win over Alabama gives further credence to that observation. At least for this season, Malzahn has definitely out-coached Nick Saban.