Let’s get this one over with...
And here’s what Gus said afterward...
In the offseason, there are some things that need to change, but one thing that can’t be fixed in a single year is the talent gap between Alabama and the rest of everybody. They’ve got five stars to burn at every position, and last night the difference in their receivers and our defensive backs was absolutely incredible. Tua had time to throw and he tossed easy lobs to wide open guys all night long. Once they made the catches, old-fashioned Greg Knox “Tiger Yards” were in full effect, and three of those second-half touchdowns were the result of a catch and run play, while the other was a fantastic snag in the end zone from Henry Ruggs over a defender.
Auburn got outplayed after halftime by a long margin, but the first half had some things to look at. Since the Tigers only gained 283 total yards, and since we probably just want to get this one over with, we’re not going to pick Offensive and Defensive Players of the Game, and just recognize good moments.
Auburn WR Ryan Davis with the TD pass as the Iron Bowl stays close.pic.twitter.com/GmvLU89Xpi— Sporting News (@sportingnews) November 24, 2018
If he hadn’t been targeted later in the game, resulting in a super unfortunate personnel loss for the Tide next Saturday against Georgia, Ryan Davis may have finished with more than just 4 catches for 15 yards, but he still does have this touchdown pass that cut the lead to just 17-14 late in the second quarter. Stan White even called it on the radio before the ball was snapped, and it worked to perfection. These were the kinds of trick plays that Gus needed to run to pull the wool over Nick Saban’s eyes.
I’m going to say the best of the bunch in the trick play category from a pure play-calling standpoint was the fake field goal where Malik Willis threw to Anders Carlson to try and convert. Despite failing to reach the line to gain, it was a great play design, and had Carlson not run right into the waiting arms of a defender, it’s likely a legendary play call. We wouldn’t have won, but it would’ve made Saban super mad and that in itself is always hilarious.
As far as defensive players go... well, it wasn’t pretty. Auburn managed just one sack and two tackles for loss, with Deshaun Davis getting in on the sack and notching 1.5 of those TFLs on his own. His effort in his final Iron Bowl was pretty good, but there were still times when everyone got worked.
I would like to highlight this effort from Big Kat Bryant, though:
Kudos to Big Kat Bryant for maintaining his composure here...— Boosky (@sheabooskyy) November 25, 2018
Like the tweet says, good job not getting up to try and wreck that dude for a pretty outlandish play. However, I actually would have loved Big Kat to take that dude to task for that action. We can whine all we want about targeting and rough play and things like the clip above, but I’d much rather have everyone bitching about us doing that while we win, than us having to resort to those actions when we lose. Remember Nick Fairley? Dominating and rough-housing? It was awesome. Alabama had two lines full of maulers, actual brawlers that weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty, and that shows. I want our defensive line to be starving dogs ready to kill and eat anything. That’s a mentality thing, and Auburn’s got the talent to make it happen.
Otherwise, the defense did not play well, and let up huge plays galore. Alabama gained 500 yards on 59 plays and only needed to hold the ball for 25:23 to put up 52 points. This ain’t your daddy’s Tide. It’s not good.
There are a ton of changes needed from Auburn before they’re ready to compete on a consistent level with Alabama, and we’ll be looking at what needs to happen on the Plains as we head into the offseason. War Eagle.