The Iron Bowl is usually one of the biggest games of the year and it is no different this year. Alabama at 11-0 and #1 and Auburn at 9-2 and ranked #6. The winner heads to the SEC championship and then a win there will most likely get them to the College Football Playoffs. At the end of each quarter I will have an update and breakdown of what I've seen. Go ahead and check out Chris Lathans post previewing the Iron Bowl and then follow along here.
First Quarter- Auburn: 7 Alabama:0
Not sure anyone is surprised by this score so far. Going into the game weather you were on the Auburn side or the Alabama side I think everyone expected this to be a very close game especially the first half. Auburn showed how good their offense can be on the 94 yard drive to start the scoring . Auburn needed to pull out everything they have on offense and on that drive they did a good job at mixing things up. Jarrett Stidham and Kerryon Johnson are the keys to Auburn winning this game and if they can keep up what they have done so far (besides the fumbled snap) then watch up Bama. I think Alabama has also done a good job so far at keeping Auburn where they want them however. Nick Saban is one of the best in game adjusters in the nation and if Alabama can be within a score or two going into the fourth quarter then watch out for Bama. One thing I think Auburn has going for them now is the crowd is making a big impact and has a lot of energy, if that can stay how it is then watch out. It should be interesting how that fumble affects the rest of the game as Auburn basically just lost 3 points there by turning it over. Based on what I have seen so far I expect this game to get fairly high in scoring, I think both teams get into the mid to high 20's and don't be surprised if the winner of this game is in the 30's.
Second Quarter- Auburn: 10 Alabama:7
Just when it looked like Auburn might go up two scores Alabama does what they always do and answer in a big way. The more I watch Jalen Hurts then more I realize how good he really is. When I say that I'm not talking about his skill and his ability because he is a slightly above average quarterback skill wise. What makes him special is his ability to make the right play at the right time. If its 3rd and 3 he will do enough to get 4, if its 2nd and 17 he wont try to get 20 yards, he makes the play to get 9 and then set up a manageable 3rd down and that is why he is so good. He also is the kind of guy who only makes 3 or 4 big throws a game but he does them exactly when he needs to just like the perfectly placed ball to tie the game up at 7. Like I mentioned, Alabama would make adjustments defensively and I think it's more that then Auburn slowing down offensively. Besides that one long touchdown pass the Auburn defense has looked sharp. If they can prevent the big play it will be tough for Alabama to score on them. I still think this game will get up into the 20's but it will be interesting to see how Alabama starts the second half since they get the ball first.
Third Quarter- Auburn:20 Alabama: 14
Alabama came out and did exactly what they needed to do, a quick touchdown drive to gain their first lead of the game. Auburn followed with a scoring drive but I think the fact that they had to settle for a long field goal was a win for Alabama. The Auburn defense did make a statement on the following drive by stopping Alabama quickly and getting the Ball back for their offense with descent field position. One thing about this Auburn offense is they can beat you in many ways, with Stidham and Johnson they are able to pass and run and hit the big play and grind a drive out. One thing to watch is Alabama on third down, they have yet to convert one this game even though they were inches away on that would be touchdown off the tipped ball. The botched field goal attempt evens things out from the Auburn fumble in the first quarter. So far each team has been able to respond this game will probably come down to who gets the ball last and could come down to a field goal to win it or even overtime.
Fourth Quarter- Auburn:26 Alabama: 14
That botched field goal was huge, not only did it cost Alabama 3 points but it gave Auburn the much needed momentum and descent field position that led to a touchdown to give them a two touchdown lead. One thing I have noticed this game is how good of a decision maker and athlete Jarrett Stidham is and that has been the story of Auburns offensive success today. Auburns defense has also proven themselves to the country today along with the game against Georgia and while Alabama did make some mistakes there a large part of the struggles that Alabama had most of the game was due to the pressure and ability of the Auburn defense. Alabama made too many mental mistakes in this game down the stretch and Auburn played nearly a perfect second half. There is a small chance that these two teams could see each other again and if that happens it should be a game for the ages.
Auburn looks like they could be the best team in the country right now but it will be interesting to see how the injuries affect them next week, most notably Kerryon Johnson who went down in the fourth quarter with an apparent shoulder/arm injury. If he can't go next week Auburn can still beat Georgia but will have a much tougher time especially against that good Georgia defense. Alabama did not look like Alabama today as they had many mental mistakes that cost them this game. Although the Crimson Tide lost they still have a shot at the College Football Playoffs but that will be explained in a later blog coming soon.