Julio Jones said after the game, "We took them a little lightly in the first quarter."
"I mean, we came to play ball, but we just underestimated them a little," he said.
Give Auburn credit. They played a heckuva game and earned at least a little respect to carry them through the off-season. Remember 36-0 last year? That's about what I expected to happen this year.
Instead, it took an amazing fourth quarter drive -- The Drive -- to win. (And a defensive hold as the clock ran out.)
The Drive -- Greg McElroy completed 7 of 8 passes.
The Drive -- Julio Jones caught four passes.
The Drive -- Bama converted three 3rd down plays.
The Drive -- McElroy to Roy Upchurch for the touchdown with the world's biggest decoy, Terrence Cody, at fullback to indicate a running play.
That The Drive featured the pass is a sign of the times in college football. Auburn loaded the box to play the run all night, forcing McElroy to pass. As Nick Saban pointed out, McElroy didn't make all the right decisions during the game, but he made all the right decisions on The Drive.
For Bama, though, it doesn't matter how they got it done. 26-21. Bama wins. The Dream lives on!
I heard reporters asking Bama players after the game if the closeness of the game Saturday proves that the "state championship" is still important. I laughed.
Of course it's important. You have to crawl before you can walk.
There was no prolonged celebration on Pat Dye Field at Jordan-Hare Stadium after Rolando McClain batted down Auburn's Hail Mary attempt on the last play of the game. The players didn't take laps around the field. I didn't see any players running all over the field with a cheerleader's flag. Most of the guys shook hands with the Auburn players and jogged off the field giving a salute to the Tide cheering section as they did so.
It was almost as if there's more celebrating to come this season. Again, remember last year when that wasn't the case?
It's time for the Tide to sprint through the finish. Florida awaits. Auburn was just a stepping stone where it's might have been a stumbling block.
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