Tide, Tigers Reflect On Bama Domination
Alabama senior safety Rashad Johnson had never beaten the Tigers, and was a bit excited to finally do so in his final home appearance.
"My emotions are through the roof," he said. "I cannot really explain how it feels. It is just a great feeling. We did it in a first class manner with a shutout and were able to dominate the game. It means a lot to earn the shutout. We were just trying to get better every week. We practiced hard and were able to finish the game."
Johnson made five tackles, broke up a pass and recovered an Auburn fumble.
Now, he and his teammates must prepare for the Florida Gators in the SEC title game Saturday in Atlanta. "It's the next game, but just on a bigger stage," Johnson said. "We are going to approach it like any other game. We are going to meet on Monday and get set for Florida. They have a really fast offense and a stifling defense so we are going to have to work to get to where we want to be," Johnson said.
"It has been a long time since we have been able to do this," said senior quarterback John Parker Wilson, who didn't have his best game but still became the first Tide signal-caller since Jay Barker in 1994 to beat rivals Auburn and Tennessee in the same season. "It says a lot about our seniors and the leaders that we have. To come out and score all these points it feels good but we have a lot left that we have to do. We will learn from this game and get ready for the next one."
Wilson ran an offense that out-gained Auburn 402 yards to 170, including a 234-57 advantage on the ground. "We were able to make their defensive front pretty much give up by the way we were padding them," he said. "We were able to do it all game and it was working so we stayed with it."
Junior Glen Coffee ran for 144 net yards on 20 carries and scored from 41 yards out.
As always, he credited his front line. "They showed up like they do every game," Coffee said. "Running behind them doesn't really give us that much to do except hit those holes full speed and take care of the rest," Coffee said.
Massive nose tackle Terrance Cody made three stops, including one for a loss, recovered a fumble and was in on a sack. "We practiced all week about staying low," Cody said. "We knew they had a good offensive line. We came out with our intensity and were able to knock them back."
Though this was Cody's first Iron Bowl, its significance was not lost on the junior college transfer. He said, "It is big. It is especially big for the seniors. Before the game, all the defensive linemen all said that they were going to play this game for our lone senior on the line Bobby Greenwood. We played this game for him and came out there and played hard."
Said Auburn cornerback Jeraud Powers: "Its one of those memories that's always going to be in our head. It's going to be in our heads through every work out next year, and through every day of the off-season. I'm sure coach (Tommy Tuberville) is going to have signs up everywhere saying, ‘Remember this.'"
Tuberville knows all good things must come to an end, including a six-game winning streak against your cross-state rival. "All streaks must come to an end and our streak came to a halt tonight. We ran into a good football team. We needed them to make mistakes and they didn't and we needed not to make mistakes and we did. But that's what good football teams make you do is make you make mistakes," he said.
"They're very aggressive on defense and offense. They forced our hand, forced us to execute, forced our quarterback to throw the ball down the field. Got into space and weren't able to run that consistent and we weren't able to take advantage the first half. We had a little bit of field position.
"I want to thank our seniors. They've won a lot of games here and I just told them they've done a great job for Auburn. I hate for them to end on a note like this. It's been a tough year. I put them in a very tough situation with what I did this year starting out with offense. It's totally my fault. I made that mistake, It's not theirs. We just never recovered from it as the season went on, on offense.
"Defensively we gave up too many big plays. We knew they were going to run the ball. They made some good third down conversions in the first half that gave them opportunity.
"I think the blocked field goal at the end of the half was pretty key. We moved the ball and moved it down the field. But take nothing away from Alabama. They're a good team, We knew that going in. They're physical, they're big. (Alabama's) fifth year senior quarterback made some amazing third down throws, second down throws and that's what it takes to win games and win championships. Again, it was tough night for us.
"We could say, ‘Hey, they scored that many points on your defense,' but our defense was out there most of the night and we just weren't able to keep up with them on offense."
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