Auburn University found the football that Chris Davis was carrying when he scored the game-winning touchdown on the final play to upset top-ranked Alabama four days ago.
“We did get it back,” equipment manager Dana Marquez said in a telephone interview when asked about the football, which one memorabilia expert said could be worth as much as $100,000 if the Tigers win the national championship. “It was presented to our athletic director.”
Davis returned a missed field goal attempt 109 yards for a touchdown, lifting Auburn past rival Alabama, upending the two-time defending national champions’ chances of a third consecutive title while keeping its own hopes alive. Auburn entered the game an 11-point underdog and ranked fourth in the country. Davis dropped the ball after crossing the goal line, triggering a celebration that included fans storming the field at Auburn’s 87,451-seat Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Alabama Associate Athletic Director Jeff Purinton in a telephone interview said it’s unlikely that anyone at the university would try to claim the ball.
“I don’t think they would try to get the ball back,” he said.
Auburn spokesman Kirk Sampson in a Twitter post said the football would be displayed at the university’s athletic museum.
College football teams provide their own balls when their team is on offense or attempting a field goal. Because Alabama was kicking, the ball Davis ran back was provided by the Crimson Tide.
Marquez said the ball was retrieved by a ball boy amid the celebration. He said Auburn, unlike Alabama, marks its footballs so a particular ball can later be identified.
“You never know the historic value,” he said. The football, made by Nike Inc. (NKE:US), doesn’t have the Alabama logo on it, he said. Auburn footballs are affixed with the school’s logo, he said.
Brandon Steiner, founder of Steiner Sports Marketing, in a telephone interview said the ball could be worth $100,000 if the Tigers win the national title. Auburn is third in the Bowl Championship Series rankings behind Florida State and Ohio State.
The Tigers face No. 5 Missouri in the Southeastern Conference title game on Dec. 7 in Atlanta. They would probably need a loss from either of the top two teams to reach the championship game.
Steiner said the ball would be worth about $50,000 right now.
“It’s one of the great balls from one of the great games,” he said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Scott Soshnick in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at email@example.com