Thankfully, the game was at least quick. It needed to be for this to be somewhat stomach-able. Alabama did what it wanted from the start in the 85th Iron Bowl and beat Auburn 42-13 in Tuscaloosa today, improving to 8-0 on the season, and dropping the Tigers to 5-3 overall.
Mac Jones threw five touchdown passes, with Devonta Smith catching two of those scores along with 171 yards. On the flipside, Bo Nix had a rough day with constant pressure in his face, throwing for two picks and leading only one touchdown drive. The Auburn defense gave up a few big plays, and with injuries on the offensive line and at tailback, the Tigers were at a disadvantage all afternoon.
The first quarter began with Auburn taking the ball, and immediately starting behind the sticks. A holding penalty on a poor return forced the Tigers’ first possession to begin at their own 8-yard line. Both sides traded punts on their first possessions, and Auburn’s second drive moved the ball a bit more, flipping the field so that the Tide had to begin their second drive at their own 22. Four plays later, Devonta Smith ran by Smoke Monday and Mac Jones found him on a pump fake for a 66-yard score to give Alabama a 7-0 lead.
Auburn’s third drive went just 11 yards, and the Tide went to work again through the air. After passes of 26 yards to Devonta Smith and 25 yards to Najee Harris, Jones found John Metchie for a 7-yard touchdown to build a 14-0 advantage. The Tigers answered with a 12-play, 51-yard drive that included third down conversions to J.J. Pegues and Anthony Schwartz. After bogging down, Anders Carlson came in and connected on a 47-yard field goal to cut the margin to 14-3 with 8:51 left in the half.
Alabama answered, and took just five plays to find the end zone again, this time on a 24 yard toss from Jones to Jahleel Billingsley. Both teams traded punts again, and Auburn got the ball back trailing 21-3 with a chance to cut into the lead as the half ended, but a 45-yard drive was snuffed out by Bo Nix’s first interception of the day with just seconds left in the half.
In the third quarter, Alabama opened with the ball, but the Tigers forced a punt after a short drive, and put together a nice possession of their own, going 47 yards in seven plays and adding another Anders Carlson field goal. Now, with the lead trimmed to 21-6, Alabama went back to the air, taking just three plays before Jones hit Smith for a 58-yard scoring jaunt. After another Auburn punt, Alabama tacked on a 39-yard Najee Harris touchdown run to increase the lead to 35-6. One more Tiger punt led to the Tide’s final touchdown of the afternoon, with Jones hitting Metchie for their second score on a third and long. That touchdown put the lead at 42-6 early in the fourth quarter.
Auburn finally found the end zone on a 12-play, 96-yard drive in the middle of the fourth quarter, ending in a Bo Nix 1-yard touchdown run to account for the final 42-13 margin.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Don’t know if anyone deserves to have this honor, but we’re going to give it to a guy who showed us something, even if it was late. Mark Antony-Richards came in at tailback late in the fourth quarter and ended up being Auburn’s leading rusher with 14 carries for 57 yards. He wasn’t going against Alabama’s backups, either, but he was running by Dylan Moses and others.
PLAY OF THE GAME
There’s nothing that comes to mind, especially when it comes to plays that matter. Jaren Handy’s big old sack on Bama’s next wunderkind quarterback late in the game was fun, but otherwise we’re picking between a bunch of meaningless 10-12 yard runs.