TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Nick Saban has had his fair share of scratches on the football field.
He was knocked over by Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts in the Sugar Bowl a few years ago. He took a Gatorade bucket to his head in the national title game at the Rose Bowl and was caught in the middle of a tackle once or twice during A-Day.
On Saturday, Saban arrived at the post-game press conference with visible evidence of an Iron Bowl touchline encounter. CBS reported that the Crimson Tide coach was smashed in the face by a player’s shoulder pad, leaving a nasty cut on his left cheek.
“You should see the other one,” Saban said. “I took one of the hardest hits in the entire game. Unlike some of our players who had to go into the medical tent…like I always say, they don’t make them like they used to.”
Break out the tin horn
Alabama’s defense has held seven opponents under 100 rushing yards. Ole Miss won the most (191), but Auburn had 318 on Saturday, including 133 in the first half. The Crimson Tide struggled to keep Jarquez Hunter and quarterback Robby Ashford at bay. Both rushed for 100 yards, which is the first time Alabama has allowed it since 2020 (Snoop Conner 128, Jerrion Ealy 120). It’s also the first time since 2011 that Alabama has allowed more than 300 rushing yards (Georgia Southern, 302). Some Bama fans may remember as the “Tin Horn Game”. For those unfamiliar, Saban referenced that game four years later in a press conference before playing Charleston Southern, stating that Georgia Southern “ran through our ass like s—through a tin horn.”
The student section in Alabama was excited when the Killers’ song Mr. Brightside, a fan favorite, played over the sound system. This enthusiasm carried over into the next two tracks. The crowd roared and Auburn was flagged for consecutive false starts.
Lay down the law
Freshman receiver Kendrick Law has seen an increase in playing time over the past few games. His career-long 39-yard reception in the second quarter couldn’t have come at a better time. Facing third and 19th, Law caught a Bryce Young pass over the middle for the first down. Law had two catches for 52 yards.
Crimson Crane returns
Ja’Corey Brooks hauled in a 32-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter to put Alabama 28-14 ahead. He broke out the Crimson Crane celebration, which was a staple of last season’s Crimson Tide. Brooks caught four passes for 76 yards.
Long snappers don’t get much attention unless they make a mistake. Kneeland Hibbett showed off his quick reflex skills on a punt return. Auburn returnee Keionte Scott mishandled the kick, which bounced straight up. Hibbett made a bouncing hold for the recovery to give Alabama the ball back into Auburn territory. Alabama scored a touchdown a few games later.
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that must hurt
Any questions about tight end Cameron Latu’s health were answered in the fourth quarter. Latu, who was out last week with an ankle injury, caught a pass and rolled over Auburn defender Jaylin Simpson with an 18-yard pickup a few yards down. Simpson took a few seconds before getting up, but then sat back down on the turf to wait for the practice staff before ending the game.
Back in action
After missing last week’s game, Latu (ankle injury), running back Jahmyr Gibbs (ankle injury) and cornerback Eli Ricks (concussion record) were all back in action on Saturday. All three started. Left tackle Tyler Steen (sprained ankle) missed the second half of last week’s game but was a starting XI against Auburn.
The Crimson Tide seniors were recognized before the game. The group has two SEC championships and one national title on their résumé with a 46-6 record in the last four years. The seniors honored were Jordan Battle (DB), Bret Bolin (WR), Darrian Dalcourt (OL), DJ Dale (DL), Emil Ekiyor Jr. (OL), Tyler Harrell (WR), DeMarcco Hellams (DB), Grant Krieger (WR), Cameron Latu (TE), Jaylen Moody (LB), Gabe Pugh (SN), Kendall Randolph (OL/TE), Will Reichard (PK), Jackson Roby (OL), Tyler Steen (OL), Henry To ‘oTo’o (LB) and Byron Young (DL).
Game captains for Alabama were quarterback Bryce Young, linebackers Will Anderson Jr. and Henry To’oTo’o, and kicker Will Reichard… Alabama’s 35 points in the first half is the second-highest (ULM) of the season (42 points vs . Utah State) … Anderson has 61 tackles for losses over the course of his career, which puts him past Wallace Gilberry for second all-time in Alabama, only behind Derrick Thomas (68) … Alabama has won 10 or more games in a season 44 times, inclusive last 15 seasons under Saban… Kick-off temperature was 64 degrees and cloudy… Attendance announced was 100,077… Match officials: Ken Williamson, umpire; Michael Moten, referee; Stephen Ray, chief judge; Mickey Bryson, linesman; Daniel Gautreaux, Field Judge; Sean Petty, judge; Michael Watson, Rear Judge; Joel Menkhoff, center judge.
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