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Nick Saban

Why did Nick Saban thank God for Alabama’s victory in the Iron Bowl?

Alabama head coach Nick Saban on the sideline during the 2023 Iron Bowl versus Auburn.
John David Mercer - USA Today Sports

Alabama fans have moved onto Saturday’s matchup against Georgia in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game, but they remain in awe about how the Iron Bowl versus Auburn finished.

Crimson Tide supporters have seen crazy things go in the Tigers’ favor at Jordan-Hare Stadium; however, something different happened at Pat Dye Field. An answered prayer occured for the Tide as quarterback Jalen Milroe found wide receiver Isaiah Bond for a 31-yard touchdown with 32 seconds left in regulation. Alabama grabbed a 27-24 lead and stunned Auburn fans in victory by the same score. It was not a pretty game for the Tide, but Nick Saban’s resilient bunch found a way to win. Alabama improved to 11-1 and has an opportunity to secure its ninth SEC Championship of the Saban era. The 72-year-old spoke to reporters on Monday to start preparation for the Bulldogs. Saban spent Sunday morning church, unveiling his gratitude to God.

RELATED: Did Auburn commit a penalty before bad snap by Alabama in Iron Bowl?

“When I went to chuch yesterday, the first thing I said was ‘Thank God what could have happened did not happen,'” Saban said.

“I think in reviewing this game, we got a little reality check. One of the things we wanted to do was channel our energy and passion into positive execution on the field. I think when we did that we played well, but there were times when we did not and it was very costly. The reality check comes in with taking the good parts and building on them and getting other things corrected.”

Alabama’s marquee play on 4th and 31 surprised everyone, including Coach Saban. 

Auburn thought it had Alabama’s season spoiled and national championship hopes over, but Milroe and Bond had other ideas in the latest significant play of Iron Bowl history. Saban knows the Tide cannot afford another game of self-inflicted mistakes with a miracle at the end, yet he appreciates when something good happens for his team. People have made jokes about even God is an Alabama fan, but it felt real last week. The Tide turns its focus to a showdown with Georgia at Mercedes-Benz Stadium this week.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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