With Sean White out, we knew Auburn's QB situation was going to be questionable. It turned out to be a question of who was going to play QB on any given play.
The first half looked much like the Clemson game, with the first few drives involving swapping QBs on almost every single play. It was frustrating, and it obviously wasn't working, as the Tigers struggled to gain any yards. They were kept in the game only by special teams, the defense, and Daniel Carlson.
Auburn jumped on the board first after a defensive stop when Stephen Roberts ran a punt to just outside the Alabama 20. Auburn's first offensive drive of the game was indicative of the way the rest of the game would go, though, as the Tigers couldn't get anything going and resorted to a Carlson field goal.
Alabama quickly tied it up and took a lead later with a touchdown. Two Carlson field goals (helped by multiple Auburn interceptions, including two by true freshman Daniel Thomas) had the score 10-9. Alabama added a FG before the half to go in with the 4 point lead.
Auburn's defense was gassed by the second half, as they were on the field for somewhere around 2/3 of the game. Alabama QB Jalen Hurts had the first rushing touchdown on the Tigers since the Texas A&M game in the 3rd quarter.
Auburn turned to John Franklin III full-time in the late 3rd quarter, but in spite of a good deep pass to Eli Stove, the Tigers never could convert a touchdown. Franklin's deep ball may be pretty, but his intermediate passes were perhaps indicative of why he hasn't been playing.
Not even Carlson had a great night, as he missed two field goals for the Tigers. You have to think those misses will affect his chances at the Groza Award.
For Auburn, there are going to be plenty of questions as we head into the silly season of college football. I do not think Gus Malzahn will be going anywhere unless he chooses to take another job. More on that tomorrow, but honestly tonight went about as I expected given the QB situation. There are definitely questions, though, and a lot of the future will depend on the QB situation next season and the offensive coordinator/QB coach. We'll see where things go.
Auburn finishes the regular season 8-4 and - believe it or not - still with an outside shot at being the 2nd best team in the SEC depending on how a few other games tonight play out. We'll have to wait a few weeks for the bowl destination, though, with the way the SEC divvies out the bowls under the current agreement.