Jessie will never forget time playing for Opp

Published 12:02 am Saturday, December 7, 2013

Even though he may have been a long way from home watching the game on TV, Tim Jessie found Auburn’s 34-28 win over Alabama last week as one of the greatest football games he’s ever seen.

Tim Jessie played five years for OHS. | Courtesy photo

Tim Jessie played five years for OHS. | Courtesy photo

Jessie, who was born and raised in Opp, played for the Bobcats varsity football team for five years. He started on the team in eighth grade as a running back and defensive back before moving to running back full time as a freshman.

After five at OHS, Jessie went off to play for Auburn under Tigers coach Pat Dye, who was in his second year as the team’s coach.

“Those were some special days,” Jessie said about playing at Auburn. “Especially coming there at the time at the beginning of the Auburn program, which was coach Dye’s second year, his first recruiting class.

“Everyone expected none of us freshmen to play,” he said. “It turns out that we did play. A lot of us played and we played well.”

One of Jessie’s teammates and roommate at the time was the great Bo Jackson. Jessie and Jackson are best friends and still remain close to this day. Jackson is Jessie’s son’s Godfather.

While playing at Auburn was great, being a Bobcat was something he’ll never forget, Jessie said.

“I enjoyed every moment of it as far as being a student and student-athlete,” he said. “I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed (playing) as well anywhere else. I really don’t.”

Jessie was drafted by the Chicago Bears in 1987, and went on to play for the Washington Redskins. Most of his playing time came in the Canadian Football League for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, where he played for eight years.

Jessie said it’s common in the CFL for a player to wait in the end zone when the opposing team attempts a field goal try.

He said he was hoping that Alabama coach Nick Saban didn’t realize what was about to happen before Chris Davis ran the ball back for the game-winning TD with no time left.

“Every time you kick a field goal, you put somebody back there,” Jessie said about the CFL’s use of a player in the end zone on field goals. “I don’t think Nick Saban even saw him back there, or you would’ve put a different kicking team out there. I think he was outcoached in that aspect.”

With Auburn’s win over the Crimson Tide, the Tigers advance to play fifth-ranked Missouri today in the SEC Championship in Atlanta.

Jessie said it’s going to be close for the first three quarters, but the Tigers’ physicalness will win out in the end.

“Auburn has the edge and they took it to Alabama,” he said. “That’s the reason why Alabama had a hard time because they couldn’t ware Auburn down. They got that depth as well as they got. That’s where the game will show up. I don’t think that Missouri is quite as physical as Auburn on defense.”

If Auburn wins today, then Jessie believes the Tigers should have a shot at playing in the BCS National Championship against Florida State, if the Seminoles beat Duke.

“That’s going to be a Hail Mary, who ever’s going to win that,” Jessie said. “We had some knock out, drag out games against Florida State when we played them. They took us to the wire, like the Alabama-Auburn game.”

Jessie still lives in Canada and has a son, Tim, and a daughter, Emilie.