Jonathan Jones (above) led the Tigers in tackles in his final game at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Auburn, Ala.--Senior Day did not go as the 17 Tigers who were honored on Saturday would have hoped, as Auburn fell to the Alabama Crimson Tide 29-13 on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Tigers’ goal heading into the SEC regular season football finale was to keep the game close going into the fourth quarter.
“We talked all week about getting in the game and into the fourth quarter, and finding a way to win,” Coach Gus Malzahn said after his team’s loss. “We were right there and just didn’t make the plays to win the game, and they (Alabama) did.”
A major reason that Auburn kept it close for the majority of the game was the impressive play of the defense. Coordinator Will Muschamp’s group forced Alabama to kick five field goals while only scoring one touchdown until the final minute of the contest.
“We knew it was going to be a battle from the beginning,” said cornerback Jonathan Jones. “In the end we weren’t able to make plays. They are a good team. We came up short in the end.”
Jones, a Carrollton, Ga., native, brought everything he had to the Iron Bowl. The senior finished the game with 11 tackles, eight of those being solo tackles, and one pass deflected.
“On both sides of the ball we came to play,” Jones said. “The game was close and in the end we didn’t find a way to win.”
There were a missed chances for the defense on Saturday, including a potential pick six for senior safety Blake Countess in the second quarter and a couple of chances at sacking Crimson Tide quarterback Jacob Coker on Alabama’s touchdown drive in the third quarter.
“We had opportunities we have to take advantage of,” Jones pointed out. “We weren’t able to (today).”
Even though Auburn’s defense performed well, Alabama running back Derrick Henry had a career day, rushing for 279 yards and one touchdown on 46 carries. Henry outgained Auburn’s offense on the day 271-260.
“He’s a good back, obviously,” Jones admitted. “He just keeps pounding and keeps pounding. We knew they were going to run the ball. I think they ended up running him almost 50 times.”
Ending the regular season on a sour note with a .500 record was not the way Jones and his teammates envisioned how the year would unfold.
“We had some ups and downs,” Jones said after his final game at Jordan-Hare Stadium. “This is obviously not where we wanted to finish. I think as seniors we wanted to leave (the program) better than we found it, and I think we’re heading in the right way, especially defensively. We were getting better throughout the season. Hopefully the young guys take it over next year and keep it moving.”
The 6-6 Tigers will find out their bowl destination next Sunday, but the focus after this edition of the Iron Bowl will be on the “what-ifs” that Auburn has faced this season.