Former Auburn star David Langner, of “Punt Bama Punt” fame, dies at 62
AUBURN, Ala. -- Former Auburn football player David Langner, who starred in one of the most memorable games in Iron Bowl history, has died. He was 62.
Auburn teammate Mac Lorendo said Langner died early Saturday morning after battling cancer.
Bill Newton blocked two punts in the final minutes of the 1972 game with previously unbeaten Alabama, and Langner returned both for touchdowns.
The Tigers won 17-16 in what became known as the "Punt Bama Punt" game.
"David Langner was one of Auburn's greats who will be remembered by generations to come," Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said. "He was a fierce competitor who fought cancer as hard as he fought any opponent he faced."
Langner had retired from the car business in Tuscaloosa last November. He told The Associated Press in late 2013 that people still brought up the game daily and "it's just been part of my life since that day."
"He was very grateful of the fact that he had been in the right place at the right time, that he had something about him that people would remember forever," Lorendo said.
Langner, an All-Southeastern Conference defensive back, also preserved the victory against Alabama with an interception.
The 1972 Auburn team dubbed "The Amazins" went 10-1 and finished the season ranked fifth in the AP poll.
Langner had blocked three punts on Auburn's freshman team in 1970 and returned one for a touchdown. He is still Auburn's career record holder with 287 interception return yards, including 108 yards in a 1971 game with UT-Chattanooga.
His 12 career interceptions is tied for fifth in Auburn history.
Lorendo's father, Gene, recruited Langner when he was Auburn's offensive coordinator partly because he was so competitive, if undersized.
"David backed down from nothing and no one," Mac Lorendo said. "That was one of the reasons my dad recruited him."