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A First for Bowden: Auburn Doesn't Win : SEC: Tigers settle for 23-23 tie with Georgia when field goal goes wide.

November 13, 1994|From Associated Press

AUBURN, Ala. — Matt Hawkins had waited almost four years for this chance: tie score, a few seconds left in the game, victory only one straight kick away.

He knelt beside the net where he practices his kicks on the sideline as his Auburn teammates moved into position to bail out the nation's longest winning streak Saturday night.

When Hawkins finally trotted onto the field with 13 seconds to play, the third-ranked Tigers were tied with Georgia 23-23, and 44 yards away were the goalposts that would decide if Auburn's two-year fantasy continued for another week or ended at 20 victories.

One chance to be hero or goat. The kind of moment a kicker lives for.

"I wasn't worried about it. I went in thinking God's will will be done no matter what happens," Hawkins said. "Unfortunately, things did not turn out the way I had hoped."

Hawkins' kick had plenty of distance, but it sailed about three feet wide.

Auburn Coach Terry Bowden threw his arms up, thinking the kick was good. Then he clasped his hands on top of his head when he realized the winning streak was over.

While several thousand Georgia fans celebrated at the opposite end of Jordan-Hare Stadium, most of the remaining 84,214 sat in stunned silence.

It had been nearly two years since their team didn't leave the field a winner, and they didn't know how to react.

"This feels like a loss for us," Bowden said.

The Tigers, 9-0-1 overall and 6-0-1 in the Southeastern Conference, squandered a chance to put the Bulldogs (5-4-1, 3-4-1) away in the second half, then came to regret it when Eric Zeier threw two touchdown passes to overcome a 14-point deficit.

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