Business major

TJ Finley and Derick Hall show their reverence to Pat Dye ahead of Iron Bowl

Auburn starting quarterback TJ Finley and linebacker Derick Hall met reporters on Tuesday via Zoom while previewing the 86th Iron Bowl. The Tigers (6-5, 3-4) hope to end their first three-game losing streak since 2012, which ended Gene Chizik’s four-year tenure with the program.

Alabama (10-1, 7-1) make it to the SEC Championship Game no matter what happens at 2:30 p.m. Saturday on CBS. Finley, Hall and the rest of the Tigers can’t stop Alabama from making the trip to Atlanta and playing against No.1 Georgia. However, a win at Auburn could knock the Crimson Tide out of the college football playoffs. Finley looked ready to challenge a tough Bama team.

“I am calm and stable,” Finley said. “I like to live up to the occasion and things like that. At the same time, it starts with preparation, and I think as long as we prepare well, no matter how big the crowd is or whatever, what Alabama does, I think we’ll be fine.

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Hall is 1-1 in Iron Bowls. He was part of the 2019 squad that beat No.5 Bama 48-45 at Jordan-Hare. The defeat knocked Bama out of the CFP for the first time since the 2014 playoffs were created.

It also marked Alabama’s first time with two or more losses in the regular season since the 2010 season, when Auburn also beat Alabama in the Iron Bowl 28-27 at Bryant-Denny.

“I started this game. Really big, awesome, we got the job done. We won it, ”Hall told reporters. “You know, just having the fans and the team and the coaches and the whole Auburn family rushing out onto the pitch and celebrating together, I think it was pretty good to feel that vibe and bring everyone together. world after a victory like this. “

Auburn lost last year’s Iron Bowl as Finley wrapped up a season at LSU. Bama vs. LSU is a big deal; however, this is not the iron bowl.

“Here in Auburn, it’s an Iron Bowl. At LSU it’s just a rivalry game, but here it’s something much more special, ”Finley said. Being a part of it is an amazing experience. At LSU, I never paid attention to the schedules, traditions and rituals of other teams. When I came here and discovered the Iron Bowl, I was quite shocked that this game was so special. Just being able to get started in this game is an amazing experience, and I can’t wait. “

According to the school’s website, Finley is a business student, but the Iron Bowl encourages him to become a historian. Finley arrived in Auburn after last June when Auburn legend Pat Dye passed away. Louisana’s sophomore quickly learns of Dye’s legacy.

“I didn’t know anything about the Iron Bowl. Like I said earlier, I walked in and being freshman at Auburn again – being a new face – I had to do some research on that, ”Finley said. “I did some research and was told a few hours ago that Pat Dye had fought for the Iron Bowl to be moved from Birmingham – to be played at Auburn every two years and things like that. nature.”

Auburn is 10-5 at the Iron Bowls played at Jordan-Hare, the first being the 1989 game where Auburn beat an undefeated Alabama team.

“This is the first Iron Bowl here without him being with us,” Finley said. “It’s special – especially for some of our fans and the players who were there when he was here. It adds to that, it makes him even more special and even more a more important game.”

Hall has met Dye a few times. He told reporters about several conversations with the former coach and athletic director.

“Coach Dye, when I got into first grade he and I talked a lot. We talked a lot again last year, but obviously God called it home. Hall said. “So he’s in a better place now, but just the conversations we’ve had, he’s obviously – I mean, the guy for Auburn. Auburn loved him, and he loved Auburn, so it’s going to be pretty hard not to have him on the sidelines this year, but you know, it’s something we can hope and do for him.

Auburn is a 21-point underdog on most sports betting. The Tigers have lost a 28-3 lead over Mississippi State and a 14-point lead over South Carolina in straight weeks.

The offense was unable to score a touchdown against Texas A&M before losses to the Bulldogs and Gamecocks. As gruesome as the past three weeks have been for Auburn, a win over Alabama changes the outlook for the season with an opportunity to honor a legend.

“But I mean, Coach Dye, he’s the heart and soul of Auburn football,” Hall said. We miss him a lot, but the world goes on and it’s in a better place, so we have to keep moving forward.

Nubyjas Wilborn covers Auburn for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @ nwilborn19.