10 quick thoughts on Auburn’s 48-45 win over Alabama.
Auburn 48, Alabama 45
10. If any other coached team ended up giving away a shot at a win by getting flagged for having 12 men on the field …
Can you imagine if Jim Harbaugh lost to Ohio State after a silly penalty like the one Alabama was nailed with that allowed Auburn to take a victory knee? Can you imagine if this was in the reverse, and the heat Gus Malzahn would take that was his team that did that? When it comes to The Process, there needs to be a big tweak.
9. Yeah, yeah, yeah, Alabama is hurt/young/whatever on the defensive side, but so is just about everyone else. Go back to the national championship blasting from Clemson, and this Tide program that’s been able to put together one of the most dominant defensive runs of all-time has totally lost its mojo on that side of the ball. That’s not going to sit well this offseason. However …
8. If Tua Tagovailoa doesn’t get hurt, Alabama probably wins this wild and wacky game and is still knee-deep in the College Football Playoff chase. That’s not to say Mac Jones wasn’t terrific – hitting 26-of-39 passes for 335 yards and four touchdowns, with 32 rushing yards – but the two interception returns for scores were a killer. The Butt Pick will go down in Iron Bowl lore for forever.
But enough about Bama …
7. Did Auburn throw two pick-sixes? No. Did it win the turnover battle? Yes, going +1. Did it get flagged less than Bama? Yes, 9 flags to the Tide’s 13. Did it take advantage of its opportunities? Anders Carlson went 4-for-4 on field goals with a 52-yarder as time ran out in the first half. Did Bama’s Joseph Bulovas bong his game-tying attempt off the upright? Yes. Did Auburn have 12 men on the field on the final punt? Nope.
6. Bo Nix didn’t have to be Tua Tagovailoa, or Mac Jones. He just had to keep the mistakes to a minimum and make the plays that were there. He only completed 15-of-30 passes for 173 yards with a score, but he ran six times for 44 yards and a touchdown … and no picks, and no pick-sixes.
5. It’s not like the Auburn defensive front did a whole lot, but Derrick Brown came up with seven tackles with 3.5 tackles for loss and decent pressure throughout, but the Tide D line didn’t do all that much, either, allowing 5.3 yards per carry with no sacks. JaTarvious Whitlow came up with 114 yards on 16 carries for the Tigers, and Najee Harris ran for 146 yards and a touchdown for the Tide.
4. This was almost the Jaylen Waddle game, and it still might be. To show off why this year’s Alabama receiving corps might just be the greatest in the history of college football, Waddle might be the team’s fourth-best receiver behind Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs and DeVonta Smith. Waddle only caught four passes … for 98 yards and three scores. He also returned three punts for 132 yards and a score.
3. Auburn always had an answer. Alabama came up with the bigger, splashier plays, and it moved the ball with far more ease – Auburn hadn’t allowed more than 24 points to anyone all year, and gave up that many by halftime – but it was never able to take any sort of control. From the pick sixes to the game-winning drive and the blasting touchdown run from Shaun Shivers, Auburn was able to hang around and then come through late. This team is good at that.
2. This is going to be a really, really interesting next month for Alabama. Watch out for all the superstar NFL talents to take the bowl game off – something the program hasn’t had to deal – and watch out for Bama to make a New Year’s Six bowl with a whole slew of young parts getting a shot.
The timing of when everyone declares will be important. The College Football Playoff committee will have to take into consideration who’s actually playing. Bama might have at least ten players skip the bowl – and the committee can factor that in and rank accordingly.
1. Auburn is going to get hosed. Of course it should be ahead of Alabama in all of the rankings, but it probably won’t be. It should go LSU, Georgia, Florida, Auburn, Alabama in the SEC pecking order, and anything else will be wrong.
Why does this matter? Alabama might just get a New Year’s Six bowl game, and Auburn might not. The Tigers will play somewhere fun no matter what, but it’s all gravy from here on …
Auburn beat Alabama and knocked it out of the College Football Playoff chase. Season made.