Phillips relives '57 title

By Chuck Leonard  - bio | email

ALEXANDER CITY, AL (WTVM) - Auburn fans are elated the Tigers are getting a shot at the national title, especially since the team has been in a similar position in the past. Auburn went undefeated in 1993 and 2004, but never got a chance at the big game. That's why the memories of 53 years ago are so precious.

Yes, Auburn's looking for its second national title.  The 1957 team has already been there, and Jimmy "Red" Phillips was glad to be a part of it. Phillips, an All-American from Alexander City, Al, remembers a great season getting even better.

"We got very little publicity up until I believe we played in Columbus, Georgia. We beat Georgia, then I heard on the radio going back that Oklahoma had gotten beat by Notre Dame, and they started mentioning our name as the number-one team." Phillips caught the only touchdown in that Georgia game, despite an injury. "The week before, we played Mississippi State up in Birmingham, and I broke my collar bone. I spent all week going to Dr. Hughston in Columbus, and he got me ready for the game, and I caught that touchdown."

An undefeated season ended with a 40-0 whitewashing of arch-rival Alabama. Phillips is retired from the insurance business and lives on Lake Martin. We chatted with him on the eve of the BCS Championship game and he appeared nervous. "I'm scared to death of Oregon, and hope the Auburn team gets their motor running early, and everybody doesn't leave it to Cam (Newton) to do the job."

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