Auburn’s season ended today in Tuscaloosa, with the Tigers falling 49-27 to Alabama in the 87th Iron Bowl.
The Tigers fought hard against a team playing only for pride, and despite getting down by four touchdowns early in the second half, they put together a bit of a comeback and made Alabama sweat. Robby Ashford scored two touchdowns, threw for another, and led a Tiger rushing attack that eclipsed 300 yards yet again. Meanwhile, Bryce Young threw for 343 yards and 3 scores as Alabama racked up more than 500 yards of total offense.
Auburn started the game a little off-kilter, with a false start penalty derailing the opening drive and resulting in a three-and-out. The Tiger defense forced Alabama to punt after just one first down, and that’s where the Auburn offense started to show off a bit.
A 25-yard Robby Ashford run got the drive in gear, and a key pass interference penalty kept it alive in Bama territory. Ashford then went around left end for a 24-yard scoring dive that put Auburn on top early in the first quarter.
That drive covered 80 yards in just 6 plays, but unfortunately Alabama answered. The Tide went right down the field on the ensuing possession, with Bryce Young scoring on a scramble from 5 yards out on third down. They followed that with touchdown drives culminating in a 10-yard Jase McClellan touchdown reception and a 5-yard Roydell Williams run, and Bama led 21-7 just one play into the second quarter.
Auburn recovered, though, and was able to find some footing. Jarquez Hunter started the next Tiger drive with a 19-yard gain, and then Ashford hit Koy Moore for 17 yards on third down a couple plays later. Auburn inched toward the Bama 20, and then Ashford hit Ja’Varrius Johnson on a beautiful throw in the corner of the end zone to pull Auburn within one score.
Robby Ashford’s beautiful touchdown pass for Auburn— Auburn Gold Mine (@AUGoldMine) November 26, 2022
The Tigers pulled within a 21-14 deficit, but the defense had struggled all game and continued to do so. Bryce Young led another scoring drive that was capped by a 32-yard touchdown to Ja’Corey Brooks, and Alabama led 28-14. After the Tigers had to punt, the defense forced a Bama punt, but Keionte Scott pulled back at the last second and Bama grabbed the ball thinking he’d muffed the punt. Officials ruled that it was Bama’s ball, and replay showed that Scott never touched it. However, the cal stood upon review and Bama scored on a pass from Young to Traeshon Holden soon thereafter to take a 35-14 lead at the half.
Alabama effectively closed the door with a scoring drive right after the intermission, and Jase McClellan scored his second touchdown of the day on a short burst to make it 42-14. Robby Ashford followed that with his second touchdown run of the day, though, and kept Auburn within distant range as he closed the gap to 42-21.
Auburn would add a pair of field goals late in the game to pull within two scores, and they attempted an onside kick with a little over two minutes remaining down 42-27. Alabama easily covered and returned the kick deep into Auburn territory, and Jahmyr Gibbs scored a late touchdown on a toss play to push the Tide ahead 49-27, and Auburn’s final drive fell short of the Tigers scoring gain.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Robby Ashford was fantastic in this game, playing hard through injury, and having his best game at quarterback. He didn’t have any turnovers, ran around the Crimson Tide defense, and was able to keep Auburn in it despite the defense having trouble stopping Alabama’s offense.
He went 11-23 through the air for 77 yards and a touchdown, but ran 17 times for 121 yards and 2 scores.
There’s a chance that the Tigers could end up in a bowl game at 5-7 with a high APR score, but it would take quite a few other teams losing and failing to reach bowl eligibility. As it stands now, the season is over.