TUSCALOOSA, Alabama — In what may be Cadillac Williams’ last game as Auburn head coach, his Tigers did what they’d done so many times over the past four weeks — fight.
Auburn was almost even in the second half against the Crimson Tide (14-13) and had the best rushing performance of the season, but Alabama’s rush in the passing game was too much for Williams’ team when the Tigers were 49-27 in the knees went 87. iron bowl.
Here are Auburn Undercover’s immediate takeaways from Auburn’s sixth straight loss at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Striking start quickly buried
After dropping 60 points overall in their last three trips to Tuscaloosa, the Tigers needed a quick start Saturday afternoon to gain confidence early on.
Auburn stopped his first defensive streak in plus territory, forcing an Alabama punt on fourth and 1 of 48. Robby Ashford climbed 25 yards, then a pass interference put Auburn inside the 30-yard line.
Ashford then took a designed run 24 yards to home and extended the ball over the goal line for the first points of the game. Auburn led 7-0 – the biggest lead in Tuscaloosa since 2014.
However, the cheering on the Tigers’ touchline was short-lived – 181 seconds to be exact.
Alabama returned to Jermaine Burton with a 52-yard bomb from Bryce Young, followed by a 5-yard scramble from Young to tie the game on a drive that lasted 2:01.
A quick three-and-out for the Tigers gave way to another Alabama touchdown on a 65-yard drive. Auburn running back Jarquez Hunter then fiddled with his own 48 by running into his own blocker. Roydell Williams went into the end zone four games later, and Alabama had accumulated 21 unanswered points in just 8:35 of play. It averaged 10.4 yards per game during the scoring run.
“Muffed” punt leads to larger half-time hole
Ashford, who had one of his better games of the season both in the air and on the ground, brought it back to a one-score game with a beautiful 20-yard touchdown pass to Ja’Varrius Johnson.
Auburn almost got the ball back, but Young converted a third and 19, and the Crimson Tide mounted their fourth straight touchdown drive.
A third and 17 on Alabama’s next drive was cut short by Keionte Scott, and the Tigers appeared to be getting the ball back with just under 3 minutes left at halftime, 28-14 behind.
However, Scott missed the punt for Auburn’s second turnover of the game. The call stood on the field, meaning there wasn’t enough video evidence to overturn, but a few angles of replay seemed to show clearly that Scott hadn’t touched the punt.
Regardless, the Crimson Tide improved to 14 points clear of Auburn Turnovers in the first half when Young Traeshon hit Holden for a 27-yard touchdown on a screen pass. Alabama went up 35-14 with 54 seconds until halftime.
Young completed 20 of 30 passes for 343 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Senior linebacker Owen Pappoe picked him up in the red zone on Alabama’s penultimate possession of the game, and the Tigers made a field goal after a long drive.
Auburn beat the Crimson Tide in the second half until Jahmyr Gibbs added a 24-yard rushing touchdown with a 1:48 left after Alabama’s recovered onside kick.
Ashford, game show is on
Turns out, all Auburn needed was a caretaker coach and an all-mixed offensive team for his best rushing performance of the season — and the best in recent Iron Bowl history.
The Tigers were successful on the ground all night, piling up 318 yards and surpassing their best 301 yards last season at Ole Miss in Week 7.
Ashford led early in the first quarter alone with 49 rushing yards. Using a combination of designed runs and scrambles, he had eight carries for double-digit mileage and finished with his second 100-yard rushing stride (121 yards) of the season.
Redshirt QB sophomore not only became the first Auburn player with multiple rushing touchdowns in an Iron Bowl since current coach Williams in 2003, but he rushed for the most yards by an Auburn since Tre Mason (164 yards) in Alabama. player’s 2013.
Tank Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter combined for 197 yards, with Hunter surpassing the century mark (134 yards) for the third straight year. Bigsby, who carried the ball just six times in the second half while Auburn rode Hunter’s hot hand, fell just 30 yards short of his second straight 1,000-yard season.
The Tigers’ rushing performance was their best in an Iron Bowl since 1983, when Bo Jackson had 256 alone yards and Auburn rushed for 355.
They were the fastest yards allowed by Alabama under Nick Saban.
Auburn Undercover will update this story. Stop by for more information.