In the 2022 edition of the Iron Bowl, Alabama fans experienced something unusual this season.
A dominant offensive performance.
The Crimson Tide, who drew heavy criticism from fans and former players for not being up to their standard, did so on Saturday when they won a blowout against Auburn.
Perhaps the biggest clue to the change in performance came from the game plan put together by offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien. O’Brien had drawn a lot of criticism this season but appeared to open the playbook early in the game with an emphasis on run-pass options and movement.
This allowed quarterback Bryce Young to get back to his old self and play on offense rather than pulling a rabbit out of his hat to move the sticks. Young was dominant all night, completing passes to eight different receivers and pushing the ball down the field for big plays, which was another strange sight for Crimson Tide supporters.
Wide receiver Jermaine Burton, who had a number of good plays towards the end of the season, continued his performance in today’s game. Burton and Young connected in the first half on a 52-yard reception that was one of the game’s greatest plays. Young also saw big passes to Ja’Corey Brooks for a touchdown and freshman Kendrick Law, who picked up a key first down early.
One of Young’s few mistakes in the game came in the fourth quarter when he threw a late interception to linebacker Owen Pappoe.
The same dominant performance couldn’t quite be claimed from defense as the Tigers’ unique running style shredded Pete Golding’s unit. Led by quarterback Robby Ashford and running back tank Bigsby, Auburn rushed for over 260 yards on the night that included some bad tackles and angles from the Crimson Tide.
Despite the stormy charge, the unit was able to hold the Tigers to 27 points on the night, which was comfortable enough to secure the win. The group was led by linebacker Deontae Lawson, who had 9 tackles that night when he received the call to start before the matchup.
Alabama now awaits the College Football Playoff rankings Tuesday, with its postseason chances slim but surprisingly still intact after tonight.
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Patrick Dowd is a reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77