Auburn threw absolutely everything they had at Alabama, and the Tigers came up short in quadruple overtime in a 24-22 loss to finish the season at 6-6.
What began as the best defensive effort that Auburn has produced in years, maybe ever, turned into a white-knuckle cliffhanger in the closing moments of the fourth quarter as Alabama scored its only touchdown of regulation with :35 left to play to send us into overtime. The two teams matched each other through three frames before Auburn missed the two-point conversion at the top of the fourth extra period, and the Tide converted on a pass from Bryce Young to John Metchie.
Auburn controlled the game for nearly a full 60 minutes, shutting Alabama out through the first three quarters and change, and sacking Bryce Young seven times during regulation. Meanwhile, the Tigers utilized every opportunity available to them to take a 10-0 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Things didn’t start in a rosy manner for either offense, as the two teams combined to open the game with ten consecutive punts before either side made any headway on offense. With 9:02 remaining in the second quarter, Auburn came after an Alabama punt and partially blocked it. Ja’Varrius Johnson picked up the ball and started to return it, only to get hit by Jameson Williams, who was flagged for targeting and kicked out of the game. Auburn started at the Tide 39-yard line, and went to work. T.J. Finley converted a 3rd and 13 situation on a jump ball to Demetris Robertson, and then found Kobe Hudson on a swing pass, where Hudson scampered into the end zone for the first score of the game.
Leading 7-0, Auburn’s defense continued to play well, holding Alabama scoreless through the first half. Out of the intermission, the Tide took the ball and Bryce Young promptly threw an interception on third down to give Auburn fantastic starting field position. The Tigers drove into field goal range and converted a 33-yard field goal to put Auburn ahead 10-0.
Alabama failed on fourth down on its next two possessions as they started to make a little headway on offense, and the Tigers gave up a golden opportunity when Finley threw an interception near midfield early in the fourth quarter. Alabama took that chance, drove 46 yards in 7 plays, and converted a 30-yard field goal from Will Reichard to get on the board with 8:44 left in the game.
Auburn’s next two drives ended in punts, both downed at the Alabama 2-yard line, but the second drive should’ve run the clock down near an impossible amount for Alabama to score. Tank Bigsby ran for 8 yards on 2nd and 10, but was dragged out of bounds to stop the clock, saving the Tide about 40 seconds of clock. Alabama got the ball with 1:35 to play and drove right down the field, with Bryce Young throwing the game-tying touchdown to Jacorey Brooks from 28 yards away with :35 left. Auburn kneeled out the clock to take the Iron Bowl to overtime for the first time ever.
In the extra frames, Alabama scored a touchdown first on a pass from Young to Slade Bolden, but Auburn answered with a Finley touchdown strike to Landen King to tie the game at 17-17. In the second overtime, Ben Patton converted a 49-yard field goal to momentarily put Auburn up 20-17, but Will Reichard answered with a 37-yard kick to extend the game.
With the new overtime rules, the third period began a back and forth of two-point conversions, and Alabama got the ball first. Young found Metchie to convert the first attempt, and Auburn had to answer trailing 22-20. Finley tossed a throwback to John Samuel Schenker, who slipped a tackle and rumbled into the end zone to tie the game at 22-22.
In the fourth overtime, Finley’s pass to Shedrick Jackson was too high and a bit late, and it was broken up, and Young hit Metchie at the pylon for the game-winning conversion on the very next play. Alabama won 24-22 to take the 86th Iron Bowl.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
The entire Auburn defensive line was fantastic, even if they ran out of gas, but the man who controlled things all game long was Derick Hall. He finished with 3 sacks along with 6 overall tackles and was a huge part of the great defensive performance.
Other than that, Roger McCreary was fantastic all game long as well, even if he did give up the game-winning conversion in overtime. He broke up 4 passes and finished with 7 total tackles.
Auburn awaits its bowl destination, as the Tigers finish the regular season at 6-6.