Nick Saban's Iron Bowl penny from daughter Kristen is the luckiest one of all | Goodbread

AUBURN − Alabama football coach Nick Saban received another lucky penny from his daughter, Kristen − a family tradition the two have shared since 2004 − ahead of the Crimson Tide's thrilling 27-24 victory at Auburn's Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday. He's won a lot of big games with her penny in his pocket, including some championships.

Some narrow wins.

Some fortunate wins.

But the one she put in her father's hand on Friday evening has to go down as the luckiest one ever. Saban isn't one for memorabilia or keepsakes, but that's a penny he should hang on to.

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Jalen Milroe's stunning touchdown pass on a fourth-and-goal from the Auburn 31-yard line, connecting with Isaiah Bond in the corner of the Auburn end zone in the game's final moments, took some luck, Saban conceded.

"I must admit you have to be a little lucky for it to work, but I'll take it," Saban said.

When Nick Saban acknowledges luck, you'd better believe luck happened.

The coach prefers leaving nothing to chance, and indeed, he said the game-winning play was one that the Crimson Tide practices on Fridays during its walk-through simulation of unusual situations.

But this was beyond unusual. This was desperation.

This was an Auburn crowd ready to explode, needing anything but a miracle touchdown to erupt with the glee of dashing its archrival's hope for a national championship. A Kick Six-style field-storming − and you can bet the AU administration would've been glad to write the check for the fine − was one breath from happening.

Until the breath was taken away.

The Crimson Tide (11-1, 8-0 SEC) can't count on any luck at all next week when it grapples with mighty Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. Every bit of luck it deserves, and maybe a little more, was burned in a 31-yard flash in Auburn's north end zone. Gone in a cloud of smoke that won't be floating over to Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium next weekend, but will instead smolder right where it struck for at least 365 days.

And Saban knows it.

"It's kind of a reality check. That's what I told the team afterward. Sometimes it's not a great thing when you don't play really good and win, even though it's great to win," Saban added. "… We've got to fix the things we need to fix, because we're going to play a really good team in the SEC Championship Game."

Yes, the two-time defending national champion Bulldogs will be waiting, at the very field where they absorbed their last loss to, of course, Alabama. It will take a lot more than luck to snap their win streak, which has now stretched for two full years.

But you can bet Saban will have a new penny at the ready anyway.

Practice week checklist

  1. Run defense. Auburn's run game, for the second year in a row, blew some big holes in the Crimson Tide's defensive front. Georgia will try to do the same, and with a significantly better offensive line than Auburn's to do it with.

  2. Penalties. Alabama was flagged eight times against Auburn, including three personal fouls. A repeat of that against Georgia would seriously undermine Alabama's chance of an upset win.

Tuscaloosa News columnist Chase Goodbread is also the weekly co-host of Crimson Cover TV on WVUA-23 and the Talkin' Tide podcast. Reach him at Follow on Twitter @chasegoodbread.

Tuscaloosa News sport columnist Chase Goodbread.
Tuscaloosa News sport columnist Chase Goodbread.

This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Nick Saban's Iron Bowl penny from daughter is the luckiest one of all