Auburn keeps epic Iron Bowl alive with ridiculous tipped touchdown catch to beat Georgia (GIF)

Nick Bromberg

Craziest play of the year? Craziest play of the year. Let's get right to it.

Trailing Georgia 38-37 and facing a fourth and 18 with 36 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall launched a pass with a faint glimmer of hope into the vicinity of three Georgia defenders and one lone Auburn receiver, Kendrick Lewis.

The ball was headed right towards safety Tray Matthews, who leaped to grab it. But so did Josh Harvey-Clemons, and the ball bounced off him, then Matthews and into the air and continued towards Georgia's end zone. So did Lewis, who looked up as he was behind the Georgia defenders and snagged the ball to run in for the go-ahead touchdown.

Let's not sugarcoat it. It was an ill-advised pass that in any other universe was destined end up in the arms of a Georgia defender or on the ground incomplete. But once it made its Bulldog bounce, gravity waited a split second to take over, long enough for Lewis to spy it. And put any Iron Bowl SEC West championship game spoiling straight into the hands of Alabama.

It's a play wild enough to overshadow the work of Georgia's defense and offense, namely Aaron Murray in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs fought back from a 20 point deficit in the final period, stifling Auburn's run game, and took the lead with 1:49 remaining on a Murray touchdown scramble on fourth and goal.

Had that stood, it would have been Auburn's time to pout about fate. Murray may -- or may not -- have been down before the ball cleared the goal line by a literal inch or two. The play was initially ruled a touchdown on the field, and replay angles were entirely inconclusive as Murray's lower body was obscured by the defenders around him. If you were a Georgia fan, he was in. If you were an Auburn fan, you were certain he wasn't.

And after the madness of Auburn's touchdown, Georgia still had another shot and improbably got to the Auburn 25 with eight seconds left, enough for two plays. But Murray's final two passes were incomplete, including when he was absolutely drilled on the final play and laid on the turf as Auburn streamed onto the field victoriously -- an appropriate metaphor for the seasons of either team.