NEW YORK — Auburn University found the football that Chris Davis was carrying when he scored the game-winning touchdown on the final play of the game to upset top-ranked Alabama three days ago, the equipment manager said.
“We did get it back,” 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 their own hopes alive. Auburn entered the game ranked fourth in the country.
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.
Marquez said the ball was retrieved by a ball boy as fans flooded the field in 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., 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.