Alabama Football celebrates a 49-27 Iron Bowl win, but the game wasn’t all positive for the Crimson Tide. The Alabama defense put on a smashing performance against a disabled, one-dimensional Auburn offense.
Despite knowing the Tigers would have to lean on the run, Bama’s ground defense was gutted by 318 yards (7.4 yards per carry). This was easily the worst game of the year for Alabama’s running defense. His worst game to date was when he allowed 185 yards on a 5.4 YPC against LSU.
The Iron Bowl was also Auburn’s best game of the year in terms of running the ball. A Tiger offensive run-heavy all season, surpassing the 250-yard mark six times, posted season-highs in yards and yards-per-carry against the Alabama defense.
Alabama Football Defensive Line: F
No other class is worth considering when a defense allows for more than 300 rushing yards. The Bama defense allowed two 100-yard rushers while Jarquez Hunter ran wild for 134 yards and quarterback Robby Ashford rallied for 121 yards and two touchdowns. Tank Bigsby added 63 yards for Auburn.
Freshman Jaheim Oatis had three tackles to lead the Alabama defensive line. DJ Dale was around the ball all night. The senior nose guard recovered from a fumble to force the only turnover on the Auburn offense of the night. Dale also had a stripsack that was negated by a penalty and added a quarterback in a hurry. Junior Jamil Burroughs has notched a hacksack and haste.
Alabama Football Linebackers: D+
Though Alabama’s linebackers are equally responsible for lacerations in running play, the group was disruptive and impactful at least at certain points in the game. The ‘backers accounted for the majority of Alabama’s eight tackles for loss and eight quarterback rushes.
Deontae Lawson started as the weakside linebacker and led the team with nine tackles while middle linebacker Henry To’o To’o had eight stops and a half sack.
The Iron Bowl was one of the best performances of the season for Alabama’s trio of Edge Rushers. Will Anderson Jr. was a jump obsessed man, recording five tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks and a few rushes. Sophomore Dallas Turner added a tackle for loss and two rushes. Junior Chris Braswell had a sack and a rush for Alabama Football.
Barring one postseason appearance, Will Anderson Jr. will finish the season with an SEC-leading 17.0 tackles for loss and an SEC-leading 10.0 sacks. He also unofficially leads the nation in quarterback pressure.
During his career in Alabama, Anderson Jr. averaged 204 tackles, 59 tackles for loss (10th in college football history) and 34.5 sacks (5th in college football history). His career TFL and sack numbers are both unofficial SEC records.
Alabama Football Secondary: B
On paper, the Alabama high school was elite, giving up just 77 passing yards on a 47 percent completion rate. Shockingly, however, those were far from the worst numbers of the season for Auburn quarterback Robby Ashford.
The seemingly abysmal completion percentage was actually one of Ashford’s best against the SEC competition. Given the opposition, Alabama football fans would have liked to have seen this second game a little better and perhaps forced Ashford into a turnover or two.
Brian Branch had eight tackles, including a tackle for loss, to lead the unit. Safety DeMarcco Hellams had six tackles and one pass resolution while fellow safety Jordan Battle added five tackles. Kool-Aid McKinstry and Eli Ricks got the corner starts.
Alabama Football Special Teams: A
Alabama’s special teams were mostly quiet that game, which is good. Will Reichard did not attempt a field goal and Alabama had no returns to speak of. James Burnip averaged 45.3 yards on his three punts and long snapper Kneeland Hibbett caused a controversial turnover when he recovered a muted punt.
Though 2022 was a disappointing year for defense, special teams and the entire program, Alabama football ends its regular season with a 10-2 record and an outsider chance of making the college football playoffs. Worst-case scenario, Alabama should appear in a New Years’ six-bowl game.