Crimson Conclusions: Alabama vs. Auburn


In Crimson Conclusions, we break down the Alabama Crimson Tide’s last game. This week, it’s the 29-13 win over Auburn in the Iron Bowl.

The second-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide defeated hated rival, the Auburn Tigers, 29-13 on the back of yet another gritty, dominating performance by Heisman frontrunner Derrick Henry. The beastly back ran for nearly 300 yards on a school record 45 carries in a game in which the Auburn defense never managed to slow him down, especially in the fourth quarter.

Auburn managed to keep the game close by forcing the Alabama offense to kick field goals instead of score touchdown for much of the game, but other than one big, and bizarre, touchdown pass never really got on track offensively either.

Henry Beasts
Derrick Henry carried the ball 46 times for 271 yards and one touchdown in what may have been the gutsiest performance of an unbelievably gutsy season for the junior tailback. Auburn never really managed to stop Henry and, in fact, the only thing that really managed to hamper them at all was some very questionable play calling at times and some bonehead penalties amongst the offensive line. Several times in the game, Kiffin seemed to outthink himself with his play calling despite Auburn never being able slow the massive running back up. The offensive line struggled in pass blocking at times as well and to combat that, Kiffin called several bootlegs and sprint outs for Jacob Coker which the Auburn defense seemed to be waiting for.

Finally, in the second half Kiffin seemed to realize that there was nothing Auburn could do to stop Henry and continued to feed him. You can argue that running Henry as much as Alabama has but at the same time, he is unquestionably the Tide’s biggest weapon and Alabama is committed to running him until someone proves they can stop him. Coker managed to make a few plays in the game including a gutsy touchdown throw to ArDarius Stewart, but the passing game was far too inconsistent in the game with Coker making some bad throws and a few drops from pass catchers as well. Henry’s fourth quarter was something special with two late drives that were very reminiscent to the game-clinching drive Henry had against LSU earlier this season. If it wasn’t for a very questionable spot on a fourth down Auburn likely would have never even got the ball back.

Griffith Comes Up Huge
Adam Griffith may be officially able to wash the taste out of his mouth from the disastrous “kick six” from 2013 after tonight’s Iron Bowl. Griffith converted all five his field goal attempts including a 50-yard field goal and other than Henry, he was the most consistent aspect of the game for the Tide. For a kicker that has been the definition of inconsistent in his career, he is really putting together an impressively consistent second half of the season.

Nov 28, 2015; Auburn, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide place kicker Adam Griffith (99) kicks a field goal against the Auburn Tigers in the send quarter at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

Defense Holds On
Auburn managed to put together a few nice drives in the first half, but the Alabama defense held on and forced Auburn to kick field goals. Auburn’s biggest play of the game was the 77-yard touchdown catch by Jason Smith in the third quarter on a tipped pass that looked eerily similar to the 70+ yard TD catch Ole Miss managed on a tipped pass. That play went for 77 yards and a score. For the rest of the game, Auburn managed just 183 yards on the other 59 plays in the game. That is just 3.1 yards per play, a far cry from the 600 yards Auburn hung on the Alabama defense last year.

Auburn couldn’t muster more than 100 yards rushing in the game either and went either three-and-out or four-and-out six times in the game. Auburn quarterback Jeremy Johnson never looked comfortable in the game while in the pocket, and ran for -18 yards on the ground. The biggest issue Alabama had on defense may end up being the injury to linebacker Denzel Devall who injured his knee in the second half. After Gus Malzhan ran his mouth on Auburn being able to drop 60-points on Alabama, this was a nice response by the Alabama defense. It may not have been the most dominant win, in terms of the scoreboard, but it was a solid, business-like outing for the Tide.

SEC West Champions
With the win, the Alabama Crimson Tide secure its second consecutive SEC Western Division crown and heads to the Georgia Dome to face the twelfth ranked Florida Gators for a shot at the BCS Playoffs on the line.

Jake Coker: 17/26, 179 yards, 1 TD; carries, 13 yards

Derrick Henry: 46 carries, 271 yards, 1 TD
Damien Harris: 1 carry, 2 yards; 1 catch, 4 yards

ArDarius Stewart: 8 catches, 81 yards, 1 TD
Calvin Ridley: 6 catches, 90 yards
Richard Mullaney: 2 carries, 4 yards

Geno Matias-Smith: 8 TKL, 1 FF
Marlon Humphrey: 6 TKL
Reuben Foster: 6 TKL, 1, PBU, 1 QBH
Reggie Ragland: 5 TKL
Jonathan Allen: 5 TKL
Ryan Anderson: 4 TKL, 1.0 TFL, 2 QBH
DJ Pettway: 3 TKL
A’Shawn Robinson: 3 TKL
Eddie Jackson: 2 TKL, 1.0 TFL
Cyrus Jones: 2 TKL, 1 PBU
Rashaan Evans: 2 TKL
Jarran Reed: 2 TKL
Maurice Smith: 2 TKL, 1.0 TFL, 1.0 sack, 1 PBU, 1 FR
Keith Holcombe: 1 TKL
Tim Williams: 1 TKL, 1.0 TFL, 1.0 sack, 2 QBH
Denzel Devall: 1 TK, 1 QBH
Dillon Lee: 1 TKL
Minkah Fitzpatrick: 1 TKL, 1 PBU, 1 QBH

JK Scott: 3 punts, 48.3 YPP, Long: 50 ayrds
Adam Griffith: 5/5 FGs, Long: 50 yards, 2/2 XPs
Richard Mullaney: 1 KOR, 10 yards
Damien Harris: 1 KOR, 30 yards
Cyrus Jones: 1 PR, 3 yards

Next: Iron Bowl: Butthurt Auburn Radio Announcers Are Butthurt

The Alabama Crimson Tide faces the Florida Gators next week in the SEC Championship live from the Georgia Dome.