Alabama Rolls Big In Win Over AU
Alabama finished regular season play undefeated and now moves into post-season championship games.
Alabama is 12-0 and will attempt to extend its record of 21 SEC championships when Bama meets Florida in the SEC Championship Game in the GeorgiaDome in Atlanta next Saturday. Kickoff will be at at 4 p.m. EST (3 p.m. central time) with national television coverage by CBS. Bama is 8-0 and champion of the SEC Western Division. Florida, 11-1 after its win over Florida State Saturday, is 7-1 in the SEC and champion of the Eastern Division.
The winner of the SEC Championship Game is expected to go to Miami for the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 8. The loser in Atlanta next week will make it into the BCS series, representing the SEC in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on Jan. 1.
Auburn, a pre-season top ten team, suffered its seventh loss (that's five on one hand and two on the other for those in the Auburn camp who count on their fingers). At 5-7 overall and 2-6 in SEC play, the Tigers' season is over.
One run that grew the greatest cheer of the night came after the game ended. Alabama Coach Nick Saban, who always makes it a point to salute Bama fans after road games, made a jaunt around three quarters of the field to take note of the role of the crowd in Crimson Tide success.
In the third quarter, Auburn had more lost fumbles leading to Alabama touchdowns (two) than first downs (one). Auburn's Brad Lester fumbled a handoff on the second offensive play by the Tigers in the second half and Bama's Rolando McClain recovered it at the Auburn 39. On first down, Crimson Tide quarterback John Parker Wilson connected with Nikita Stover for a touchdown. Even though Leigh Tiffin's extra point kick was blocked, Alabama had a 16-0 lead.
Bama extended that margin to 22-0 shortly after Auburn's next possession. Near midfield, Auburn quarterback Kodi Burns fumbled the snap and it was recovered by Bama's Terrence Cody at the Auburn 45. Wilson connected on a third down screen pass to freshman tailback Mark Wilson, who went 27 yards to the Auburn 22. Moments later on a third-and-six, Wilson found freshman wide receiver Julio Jones for 15 yards and a first-and-goal at the three. Ingram got two yards on first down, then Cody came back on offense as a lead blocker for Ingram, whose touchdown made it 22-0. A pass for a two-point attempt failed.
Alabama didn't have a fast start, although the Crimson Tide was clearly dominant in every area from the beginning.
It took Alabama a couple of efforts to get field position switched after Auburn got the opening possession and moved into Alabama territory. Auburn was punting away from the Crimson Tide's Javier Arenas and the first rugby-style kick from the Tigers went to the Bama seven. Alabama couldn't move.
Things didn't look great for Alabama when Auburn downed a punt at the Bama four for the Tide's second possession starting point. But Glen Coffee had three runs to get the ball out to the 23. A John Parker Wilson pass to tight end Travis McCall gained nine and then Coffee ripped off 16 to the Alabama 48. Wilson connected with Darius Hanks for 17 yards to the Auburn 39. The Tide had to go for it on a fourth and inches and made it for a first down at the Auburn 28. A few minutes later, facing a similar situation at the Auburn 19, Alabama Coach Nick Saban elected to get points. Tiffin came on and was good on a 37-yard field goal. The kick came on the last play of the first quarter as Bama had run off 7:36 and taken a 3-0 lead.
Alabama's second scoring drive didn't take so long. Auburn still wasn't going to punt to Arenas and Clinton Durst's try went only 21 yards before going out of bounds at the Alabama 35. After a holding call gave Bama one first down, Wilson connected with Julio Jones, who made an excellent catch, for a 15-yard gain to the Auburn 41. Auburn had been stacking its defense on Alabama's left side, and the Tide went to the right (short) side of the field, away from the stack. Coffee bounced outside and was untouched on his 41-yard touchdown scamper. When Tiffin kicked the extra point Alabama had a 10-0 lead. The drive had officially been 65 yards in four plays and took just 1:38.
Bama had a couple of poor offensive series later in the second qurter. Auburn had its most impressive offensive performance in a two-minute drive just before halftime. The Tigers moved 49. yards in nine plays and with five seconds had to settle for a field goal try. New placekicker Morgan Hull was perfect on a 40-yard try, but it didn't count. Saban called an Alabama timeout just before the snap. On the do-over, Bama defensive end Bobby Greenwood blocked the kick to end the half, Alabama leading 10-0.
After the two Auburn fumbles led to quick Bama touchdowns and a 22-0 lead midway through the third quarter, Alabama was clearly in control.
Bama made it 29-0 before starting the fourth quarter. Starting at its 50, Coffee--who had 20 carries for 144 yards--ran it four times for a first down at the Auburn 34. Ingram then took over with runs of 13, 7 and then the final 14 for the touchdown. Tiffin kicked it to 29-0 with just over two minutes to play in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the game was finally turned over to back-up players and they padded the Bama lead. The final touchdown came with 2:49 to play. On a third-and-six, number two quarterback Greg McElroy connected with freshman wide receiver Marquis Maze, who made a nice over-the-shoulder catch in the end zone for a 34-yard touchdown. Tiffin kicked the final point of the game.
A look at the statistics shows Bama's domination of Auburn. Alabama had 21 first downs to eight by the Tigers. Bama had 50 rushes for 234 yards, Auburn 30 rushes for 57 yards. The Tide completed 10 of 18 passes for 178 yards, Auburn 9-23 for 113 yards. Alabama's total offense was 68 plays for 412 yards, Auburn's 53 plays for 170 yards. Alabama had one fumble (a center-quarterback exchange), but did not lose it and did not have a turnover. Auburn lost three fumbles.
Bama came into the game as the least penalized team in the SEC and the team with greatest time of possession in the conference. Against Auburn, Alabama had only one penalty for only four yards and Bama dominated time of possession, 35:37 to 24:23. Alabama was good on six of 15 third down conversions and two of three fourth down tries. Auburn was good on 4-14 third downs. Alabama scored on all three trips into the Red Zone. Auburn never reached inside the Alabama 20.
Individually, Coffee had 20 rushes for 144 yards and one touchdown, Ingram 15 carries for 65 yards and two touchdowns. Wilson completed 8-16 passes for 134 yards and one touchdown, McElroy 2-2 for 44 yards and a touchdown. Jones had three receptions for 36 yards.
On defense, Brandon Fanney was i.n on eight tackles, and Javier Arenas, Justin Woodall and Rashad Johnson five each.
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