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Why does Auburn say War Eagle? Here's the answer from Auburn University

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Alabama Auburn Football

Auburn's eagle named Nova flies down onto the football field before an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

A popular thing for Auburn fans to yell and say to each other is "War Eagle." 

It's been a popular phrase for Auburn University supporters for more than 100 years, according to Auburn University. 

The phrase's origin goes back to Auburn's very first football game in 1892. 

It was an Auburn vs. Georgia football game in Atlanta in 1892, and Dr. George Petrie was the Auburn football head coach. 

Why do they say War Eagle at Auburn? 

Alabama Auburn Football

Auburn mascot Nova, a golden eagle, flies over Jordan Hare Stadium prior to the start of an NCAA college football game against Alabama in Auburn, Ala., Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Here is the War Eagle history on the Auburn University website

"The most popular legend about the battle cry dates back to the first time Auburn met Georgia on the football field in 1892 and centers on a spectator who was a Civil War veteran. In the stands with him that day was an eagle the old soldier had found on a battlefield during the war. He had kept it as a pet for almost 30 years.

"According to witnesses, the eagle suddenly broke free and began majestically circling the playing field. As the eagle soared, Auburn began a steady march toward the Georgia end zone for a thrilling victory. Elated at their team's play and taking the bird's presence as an omen of success, Auburn students and fans began to yell “War Eagle” to spur on their team. At the game's end, the eagle took a sudden dive, crashed into the ground, and died.

"But the War Eagle battle cry lived on to become a symbol of the proud Auburn spirit. Whenever Auburn people gather, the battle cry “Warrrrrrr Eagle!” is almost certain to be heard. It has been a part of Auburn's spirit for more than 100 years.

"Since the first War Eagle, there have been seven others throughout Auburn's history that have served as a symbol of the Auburn spirit and kept alive the legendary battle cry." 

Also, Auburn defeated Georgia 10-0 in that 1892 contest.  

Erik Hall is the digital sports editor at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. You can find him on Twitter @HallErik.

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