Bama Heads To SEC Championship Game

Alabama in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game is hardly a surprise. The Crimson Tide was the pre-season favorite to win the league title. But it is a surprise that the opponent Saturday in Atlanta will be Missouri, even though the Tigers will be making their second consecutive appearance in the game.

Alabama had clinched a spot in the game even before the Crimson Tide outlasted Auburn, 55-44, in Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday night. The Tide had won the SEC West when Mississippi State fell to Ole Miss Saturday. Missouri won tough games down the stretch to make Saturday’s game.

The conference championship will pit former Kent State teammates against one another, Alabama’s Nick Saban against Missouri’s Gary Pinkel.

Kickoff in the Georgia Dome for the SEC title game is at 4 p.m. EST (3 p.m. central time) with television coverage by CBS.

It will be Alabama’s ninth appearance in the SEC Championship Game. Bama is 4-4 in those contests.

Alabama improved to 11-1` this year. Alabama reached the 11-win plateau for the 18th time in school history. Under Saban the Tide has had six 11-win seasons (2008-09, 2011-14).

Alabama improved its all-time record against Auburn to 43-35-1. Bama has won five of the last seven games in the series and three of the last four.

The 99 points scored by the two teams was the most in the series history. The previous most was a 75-point game in 1969, Auburn taking a 49-26 win.

Auburn’s 630 total yards and 90 offensive plays are both records for Alabama opponents in a single game. Alabama and Auburn combined for an Iron Bowl-record 1,169 yards of total offense in tonight’s game, setting a new Iron Bowl record for combined yardage. Auburn had 630 total yards in tonight’s game while Alabama moved for 539 total yards. The previous record was 1,074 yards in 1969 (Auburn had 541, Alabama had 533).

T.J. Yeldon’s eight-yard tpouchdown run with 12:47 left in the first quarter was the fastest score in an Alabama-Auburn game since Auburn tailback Carnell Williams ran 80 yards on the first play from scrimmage in the 2003 game, scoring with 14:45 left in the first quarter. It was the quickest Alabama score since the 1996 game when Freddie Kitchens hit tailback Curtis Alexander with a 63-yard pass with 13:30 left in the opening quarter. And it was the fastest score in the Tide-Tigers game in Tuscaloosa.

Yeldon’s score also increased the Tide’s record of scoring in 181 consecutive games, most in program history. It was the 101st straight game for Alabama to score in the first half, which is the longest active streak in the nation.

The Crimson Tide defense has recorded a sack in all but one game this season (Florida) and added to its total with one from Xzavier Dickson and one from Jonathan Allen against Auburn. Alabama has 27 sacks on the season for an average of 2.25 per game.

Alabama has now won 16 consecutive games in Bryant-Denny Stadium, which is the longest home winning streak of any team in the nation.

Although both Alabama and Auburn had only two punts each in the game, the punters had other duties. Tigers punter Daniel Carlson (who averaged 41 yards on his two boots) also kicked 5-5 on field goals and 3-3 on extra points. Tide punter JK Scott, who had punts of 70 and 41 yards, was also the kickoff man and had eight of those on a busy night. Adam Griffith kicked off to start the game and pooched it out of bounds.

Captains for Alabama were linebacker Trey DePriest, safety Landon Collins, and offensive guard Arie Kouandjio.

Honorary captains were former Tide linemen and brothers, John Hannah, Charley Hannah, and David Hannah.

Prior to kickoff, Alabama recognized 24 seniors playing their final games in Bryant-Denny Stadium. They were:

Jerrod Bierbower (Dublin, Ohio), Leon Brown (Riverdale, Md.), Trey DePriest (Springfield, Ohio), Joshua Dickerson (Evans, Ga.), Xzavier Dickson (Griffin, Ga.), Jalston Fowler (Mobile), Daniel Geddes (Northport), Brandon Ivory (Memphis, Tenn.), Christion Jones (Adamsville), Harrison Jones (Germantown, Tenn.), Kyle Kazakevicius (Ocala, Fla.), Arie Kouandjio (Hyattsville, Md.), Wilson Love (Mountain Brook), Michael Nysewander (Hoover), Anthony Orr (Madison), Tyler Owens (Clay), Nick Perry (Prattville), Austin Shepard (Buford, Ga.), Blake Sims (Gainesville, Ga.), M.K. Taylor (Oxford), Brian Vogler (Columbus, Ga.), DeAndrew White (Houston, Texas), and Jarrick Williams (Mobile)

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