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Another in the "Auburn Can't Win" series
The 1963 Auburn team started the season unranked but climbed to a number 5 national ranking after beating traditional power Ga Tech to keep an unbeaten string alive. They followed that win with a loss to unranked Miss State and a win over unranked Georgia to head into the Iron Bowl against sixth ranked Alabama as a decided underdog. Auburn's last win over Alabama was 1958.
Auburn's strength that year was in the running of QB Jimmy Sidle. Behind Tucker Fredrickson and Larry Rawson's blocking, Sidle was on pace for a record setting year. Early in the game Sidle went down with an injury and so did Auburn chances. Or so it seemed. Little used back up Mailon Kent stepped into the huddle and directly contributed to Auburn's two scores in an unlikley 10-8 victory.
From an old Phillip Marshall Column:
After being Auburn's starting quarterback in 1962, Kent had sustained a partially torn medial collateral ligament shortly before the 1963 season. By the time he was healthy enough to play, Jimmy Sidle was on his way to an All-America season. To this day, Sidle remains the only quarterback in SEC history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season.
Kent, a senior, had played a few snaps against Florida State and a few snaps against Georgia as Auburn confounded the experts by winning of its first nine games. As the annual game against Alabama, also 8-1, neared, the talk was of a duel between Sidle and Alabama's Joe Namath.
But fate smiled on Kent on Nov. 30, 1963.
"On second down, we had the wind and the ball about midfield," Kent remembers. "Eddie Vesperille hit Jimmy and about three or four of them fell on top of him. They knocked the breath out of him."
Offensive coordinator Buck Bradberry turned to Kent and told him to go into the game and keep the offense moving.
"It was freezing cold and I hadn't even warmed up," Kent says. "No matter. Kent threw a 12-yard pass to Bucky Waid for a first down. That set up Woody Woodall's 32-yard field goal that gave Auburn its first points and first lead against Alabama since 1958.
Side returned, but when Auburn faced third-and-goal at the Alabama 8 in the third quarter, Kent got the call again. He hit Tucker Frederickson for a touchdown and Auburn won 10-8.