Independence Bowl



Auburn 32

Army 29


Auburn Fight Song


SHREVEPORT, La. (Dec 31, 1996 - 21:30 EST) -- Auburn quarterback Dameyune Craig was shocked, yet not surprised by what he saw in the fourth quarter of the Independence Bowl. Craig had 440 of his school-record 447 yards by the end of the third quarter, when the Tigers (8-4) led No. 24 Army by 25 points and had scored on six of nine possessions. But the Cadets then scored 22 fourth-quarter points, and missed a chance to send the game into overtime only after J. Parker missed a 27-yard field goal with 29 seconds left.

"We came out and pretty much controlled the game, but they are the military, and they never gave up," Craig said after Auburn's 32-29 victory. "You have to feel proud to have a group like this defending your country." Craig threw for two touchdowns and ran for one as Auburn avoided its first three-game losing streak since 1981. He was 24-of-40 for an Independence Bowl-record 372 yards, and also ran for 75 yards.

The failed Army comeback provided an eerie reminder for the Tigers, who lost their last two regular season games late. Georgia scored on the last play of regulation and then beat Auburn 56-49 in four overtimes, and Alabama scored in the final minute to win 24-23. "In a year where it seems like you have been snakebit, you just start to think that bad things may happen," Auburn coach Terry Bowden said. "A win like this does not make up for some of the close losses, but it makes for a lot more positive offseason."

It looked as if Army was content to send the game to overtime when, facing third down from the 10, Parker came on to try a field goal with 33 seconds left. He had made 17 straight from inside 30 yards. "We were not thinking about taking a second shot at the end zone," Army coach Bob Sutton said. "We would have been happy going into overtime. That is why we didn't throw one more time."

Ronnie McAda, the Army quarterback who didn't thrown an interception all season, threw a 30-yard TD pass to Rod Richardson with 1:27 left in the game. Bobby Williams, who also ran for two touchdowns, scored the 2-point conversion to get the Cadets within three points. Army had failed on an earlier onside kick, but Matt Rogers recovered the second to set up Parker's late field goal attempt.

Auburn scored on four of its first six possessions to build a 20-7 halftime lead. The Tigers fumbled inside the Army 5 on both of their other first-half possessions in a game sponsored by Poulan Weed Eater. After finally being forced to punt the first time it had the ball in the second half, Auburn scored two more touchdowns that proved decisive. On a fourth-and-6 from the Army 33 midway through the third quarter, Craig went back to pass. Army linebacker Ben Kotwica blitzed hard from the outside, but Craig sidestepped him and ran untouched around the left end for a touchdown.

"Seeing the Auburn offense was like seeing a flash. They were all over the field," Kotwica said. Auburn had 533 yards against an Army defense that was ranked among the nation's top 10, allowing just 256 yards per game. That was more than the 507 Syracuse, the only ranked team Army faced, had in a 42-17 victory.

Rusty Williams ran for an 18-yard TD on the next Auburn possession to make it 32-7. That capped a four-play drive ignited by Craig's 49-yard pass to Robert Baker. Army responded by going 80 yards, Demetrius Perry scoring on a 12-yard run with 12:44 left. The Cadets got another chance when Tom Mullins intercepted Craig's pass and raced 66 yards to the Auburn 17. Four plays later, Bobby Williams scored on a 1-yard run to make it 32-21.

The victory gave coach Bowden his 100th career coaching victory - 36 coming in four years at Auburn.

Craig set the tone for the game with a 48-yard pass to Tyrone Goodson and a 14-yard run on the first two plays. But the Tigers, who drove to the 1, had to settle for Jaret Holmes' 39-yard field goal after two plays lost 13 yards and Craig threw an incomplete pass. On Auburn's second drive, Craig completed four passes for 77 yards, including a 30-yard touchdown pass to Goodson for a 10-0 lead. Craig later found Willie Gosha, who had a bowl-record 10 catches, for a 7-yard TD that extended Auburn's lead to 17-0 with 12:17 left in the first half. Holmes kicked a 49-yard field goal with 3:15 left, ending a 15-play drive that covered 44 yards.

Army finally got on the board when Bobby Williams scored on a 3-yard run with 1:15 left in the first half.


The Auburn defense had just enough to hold off Army.


Army quarterback Ronnie McAda.

Auburn quarterback Dameyune Craig.


Tyrone Goodson gets Auburn's first touchdown.


Bobby Williams started Army's comeback with a TD.

Army's Ron Thomas.


Auburn receiver Willie Gosha scores in the second quarter.


Attendance- 41,366

Scoring Summary

First Quarter
AU- FG Holmes 31
AU- Goodson 30 pass from Craig (Holmes kick)

Second Quarter
AU- Gosha 7 pass from Craig (Holmes kick)
AU- FG Holmes 49
Army- B. Williams 3 run (J. Parker kick)

Third Quarter
AU- Craig 33 run (pass failed)
AU- R.Williams 18 run (pass failed)

Fourth Quarter
Army- Perry 12 run (Parker kick)
Army- B.Williams 2 run (Parker kick)
Army- Richardson 30 pass from McAda (Williams run)

Individual Statistics

Army- B.Williams 12-82, Perry 19-81, McAda 12-44, Brizic 8-29, Hewitt 5-21
AU- Craig 13-75, R.Williams 12-72

Army, McAda 10-16-148
AU- Craig 24-40-372

Army- B.Williams 3-74, Richardson 2-59, Thomas 2-14
AU- Gosha 10-132, Baker 5-104, Bailey 4-39, Goodson 2-78, Cooper 2-15