The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Iron Bowl, Alabama 49, Auburn 27

Nick Saban made a reference to Pop Warner’s youth league during his post-game press conference Saturday night at Bryant-Denny Stadium. He paid tribute to Auburn, who successfully performed plays that he and the Alabama Crimson Tide had not seen in a long time.

Meanwhile, there was a Pee Wee football reference from Cadillac Williams in what may be his final appearance as Auburn caretaker manager. After the 49-27 loss, he spoke about what an incredible experience it had been and mentioned the coaches who had inspired him.

This for a game in which teams had 491 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns.

Well, as the saying goes, you never know what to expect when these two teams meet in the Iron Bowl rivalry.

Saban’s reference needs some context, though, so here’s what he said:

“Tell you what, Auburn did a great job with the running game,” he said. “They created some edges. Some of the games they played – when I was 10 years old we played the single wing. You guys don’t even know what the single wing is. But that was my first football ( offensive)…I was the quarterback in the single wing. But the quarterback doesn’t do anything in the single wing except block. Some of the plays they ran with the quarterback I hadn’t seen since Pop Warner. And you play well and are difficult to defend. Their quarterback played an excellent game from a run standpoint, and they executed.

“It’s like playing Wildcat when the running back is in the backfield and someone has to cover for the quarterback unless he’s a quarterback good enough to run. And then they also created some wildcat situations. So they really attacked us on the edges and cracked and blocked us well on the edges. We practiced against some of these things. We sometimes didn’t execute it as well as we would have liked, but they also created some advantages for themselves.”

Tigers freshman quarterback Robby Ashford had 17 carries for 121 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He became the first Auburn player since Williams in 2003 to score two touchdowns in the Iron Bowl.

player of the game: Quarterback Bryce Young averaged 391 yards and four touchdowns on the night, including 343 yards on 20 of 30 that went through the air, moving past John Parker Wilson (7,924 yards) for second in Alabama’s career-passing tally Yards list at 8,035. Young trails only AJ McCarron, who finished with a record 9,019 yards as a three-year starter.

game of the game: Alabama’s longest play was Jermaine Burton’s 52-yard deep reception, which set up the Crimson Tide’s first touchdown, but the 27-yard touchdown reception from a screen for junior wide receiver Traeshon Holden was executed well and timed called. He could have walked the entire length of the field.