1997 Championship Video Highlights
Yet another SEC Championship Game went down to the wire in 1997, when Tennesee defeated Auburn, 30-29.
Before a Georgia Dome Sporting Event record crowd of 74,896, the Vols came from a 20-7 second quarter deficit to defeat the Tigers on Peyton Manning's 73-yard TD pass to Marcus Nash early in the fourth quarter.
A defensive struggle ensued and the Vols were off to the FedEx Orange Bowl to play for the Bowl Alliance National Championship while the Tigers returned to Atlanta to play in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
The Vols got on the scoreboard first on a 40-yard TD pass from Manning to Peerless Price. However, that was all the scoring Tennessee could muster until a Jeff Hall 27-yard field goal midway through the second quarter.
In the meantime, Auburn accounted for 20 unanswered points, led by a 24-yard fumble return by Brad Ware and a 51-yard TD pass from Dameyune Craig to Tyrone Goodson. AU's Jaret Holmes also hit two field goals.
After the two teams traded touchdowns midway through the third quarter, Tennessee mounted its charge. Behind 27-17, UT scored on a 46-yard pass from Manning to Price. On the PAT attempt, Auburn's Quinton Reese returned the blocked kick for a two-point conversion to pull the Vols to within six, 29-23.
That set up the heroics on Nash's 73-yard TD reception from Manning and Hall's PAT that won the game for Tennessee.
The game's MVP was UT quarterback Peyton Manning, who completed 25 of 43 passes for 373 yards with four TDs and two interceptions.
Tennessee 7 3 13 7 -- 30
Auburn 13 7 9 0 -- 29
UT - Price 40 pass from Manning (Hall kick); 12:41 (1st)
AU - Holmes 30 FG; 10:25 (1st)
AU - Ware 24 fumble return (Holmes kick); 5:36 (1st)
AU - Holmes 48 FG; 1:27 (1st)
AU - Goodson 51 pass from Craig (Holmes kick); 14:12 (2nd)
UT - Hall 27 FG; 7:46 (2nd)
UT - Copeland 5 pass from Manning (Hall kick); 11:56 (3rd)
AU - Beasley 24 pass from Craig (Holmes kick); 6:14 (3rd)
UT - Price 46 pass from Manning (kick blocked); 1:06 (3rd)
AU - Reese PAT return; 1:06 (3rd)
UT - Nash 73 pass from Manning (Hall kick); 11:14 (4th)
Rushing: UT - Lewis (31-127); AU - Williams (6-8).
Passing: UT - Manning (25-43-2, 373 yards); AU - Craig (14-34-0, 262 yards)
Receiving: UT - Nash (9-126), Price (8-161); AU - Poor (3-98), Beasley (3-56)
Tackles: UT - Gaines (4-0=4); AU - Spikes (10-5=15)