BamaOnLine.com is handing out position marks for seventh place in Alabama after its 49-27 win over Auburn.
In what may be his last appearance as a player at Bryant-Denny Stadium, Bryce Young completed 20 of 30 passes for 343 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. He also carried five times for 48 yards and a score. The junior had 10 completions of 17 yards or more and two carries of 14 yards or more.
Errors came in the form of the aforementioned interception, which came on a pass destined for tight end Cameron Latu in the fourth quarter and on a miss by running back Jahmyr Gibbs, which was open on a lane route out of the backfield in the third. B+ here.
A resurgent Gibbs made his first appearance in six quarters, producing teams highs in carries (17) and rushing yards (76). His 23-yard touchdown streak to cap the point was UA’s longest carry of the game. Gibbs also caught two passes for eight yards.
An injury sustained in the final game of the first quarter didn’t stop Jase McClellan from returning to action. The junior finished the game with 44 rushing yards and one of UA’s four rushing touchdowns. McClellan also caught a pass for 10 yards.
Roydell Williams also found the end zone on Saturday, whose only kill of the game covered five yards and aimed for a goal. The touchdown was Williams’ third in the last four games. Other B+.
Led by Jermaine Burton and Ja’Corey Brooks, who combined for 163 yards and a touchdown, five different wide receivers had 27 receiving yards or more in the game. Burton’s 52-yard reception in the first quarter was his longest of the season. As for Brooks, his last touchdown grave was his seventh in the SEC game during the 2022 campaign.
In addition to explosive plays with Burton and Brooks, Young also faced Latu, Traeshon Holden, Kendrick Law and Robbie Ouzts for completing 17 yards or more. Law and Ouzts solidly blocked Brooks from smoke screens. The errors included drops from Latu and Brooks, and penalties against Burton (holding) and Brooks (interfering with offensive passes). B+.
Significantly improved protection from an Auburn pass rush that broke seven sacks in the 2021 Iron Bowl. For the game, the Tigers went without a sack, recording only three lost tackles and two quarterback rushes. Alabama’s 173 rushing yards on Saturday were the most against an FBS opponent since the Oct. 8 Texas A&M game.
Tyler Booker rotated in the game as a left and right guard. He teamed with Tyler Steen to open a hole for Williams on his touchdown run in the second quarter. In addition to allowing a quarterback to rush in the first quarter, Booker gave up a tackle for loss and was later flagged for a hold in the second quarter. JC Latham’s final penalty came on ice midway through the fourth. Other B+.
line of defense
Alabama opened the game in its big nickel front, with Jaheim Oatis, Tim Smith and Byron Young making the starts. From there came Jah-Marien Latham in the cheetah pack. Speaking of depth, it was DJ Dale who came up with a recovery of a Jarquez Hunter fumble late in the first quarter. Dale was also one of three UA linemen to record quarterback hurdles in the game, joining Young and Jamil Burroughs.
All three of Oatis’ tackles in the game were solos, including one by AU quarterback Robby Ashford that didn’t turn a win. Young was pinned by an Auburn tight end on Ashford’s first goal run of the game. While 318 rushing yards doesn’t reflect well on the frontline for an opponent, Alabama probably would have been better served going with more base defenses than it has been doing. C here.
By the time that area came into play, Auburn had rushed 261 yards through three quarters.
Much like the front, the second tier didn’t get much help from a plan that often outperformed UA on the perimeter and failed to position itself on the inside. That’s not to dismiss the mistakes in detection and technique, though, as there was also a one-on-one where the Alabama linebackers were simply beaten. When an offense that sees passing as the absolute last resort still averages 7.4 yards per carry, there’s plenty to blame.
Positives: In his probable departure from Bryant-Denny, three tackles for loss and two sacks from Will Anderson; five quarterbacks rushing from the outside linebacker position as a whole; and 17 total tackles from inside linebackers Deontae Lawson and Henry To’o To’o, who, while suffering a facial injury, was briefly replaced by Shawn Murphy in the third quarter. Other C.
When a touchdown save tackle is high on the list for a defense, that tells you what a day it was. Kudos to safety from Demarcco Hellams for keeping Hunter’s long run from ending up in the end zone in the third quarter. Hellams also had UA’s lone pass break in play.
Elsewhere, Eli Ricks sniffed a sack of Ashford on Auburn’s second possession before being flagged for pass interference on the next snap. When it came to missing Ashford, Ricks had company as Brian Branch had his own on Ashford’s first touchdown run of the game. Branch was also hit for a touchdown pass in the second quarter before being flagged for a face mask penalty in the fourth quarter – while two of his teammates stood by and watched as he struggled to make a tackle.
If you’re looking for positives: Auburn missed out on a third down conversion in the last five tries of the game; Ashford averaging 3.35 yards per pass attempt; and tackles for losses from Ricks and Branch must suffice. C.
Another mixed bag here started with a solid stop by Law against Hunter on the game’s opening kickoff. It’s been a little bit of everything from there, including a fumbling recovery by long snapper Kneeland Hibbett; a save by Will Reichard on a second-quarter kickoff; Penalties to Law (stopping on a punt return), Turner (backblock on a kickoff return), and Quandarrius Robinson (offsides on a kickoff); and a muff of an Auburn punt by Kool-Aid McKinstry that resulted in a 12-yard loss. C.
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Contact Travis Reier via personal message or on Twitter (@travisreier).