Alabama Football: Defensive Report Card vs Auburn


Alabama football is celebrating a 49-27 Iron Bowl win, but the game wasn’t all positive for the Crimson Tide. The Alabama defense put on an underwhelming display against a handicapped, one-dimensional Auburn offense.

Despite knowing that the Tigers would have to lean on the run, the Bama ground defense was eviscerated to the tune of 318 yards (7.4 yards per carry). This was easily the worst game of the year for Alabama’s run defense. Its previous worst outing was when it allowed 185 yards on 5.4 YPC against LSU.

The Iron Bowl was also Auburn’s best game of the year in terms of running the ball. A Tiger offense that has been run-heavy all season, eclipsing the 250-yard mark six times, racked up season-highs in yards and yards per carry against the Alabama defense.

Alabama Football Defensive Line: F

No other grade is worth consideration when a defense allows 300+ rushing yards. The Bama defense allowed a pair of 100-yard rushers, as Jarquez Hunter ran wild for 134 yards and quarterback Robby Ashford accumulated 121 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Tank Bigsby added 63 yards for Auburn.

Freshman Jaheim Oatis had three tackles to lead the Alabama defensive line. DJ Dale was around the ball all night. The senior nose guard recovered a fumble to force the Auburn offense’s only turnover of the evening. Dale also had a strip sack that was negated by a penalty, and added a quarterback hurry. Junior Jamil Burroughs notched a hack-sack and a hurry.

Alabama Football Linebackers: D+

Although the Alabama linebackers are equally responsible for the gashing that took place in the run game, the group was at least disruptive and impactful at certain points in the game. The ‘backers accounted for the majority of Alabama’s eight tackles for loss and eight quarterback hurries.

Deontae Lawson got the start at weakside linebacker and led the team with nine tackles, while middle linebacker Henry To’o To’o had eight stops and a half-sack.

The Iron Bowl was one of the best performances of the season by Alabama’s trio of edge rushers. Will Anderson Jr. was a man possessed from the jump, tallying five tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, and a couple hurries. Sophomore Dallas Turner added a tackle for loss and two hurries. Junior Chris Braswell had a sack and a hurry for Alabama football.

Barring a postseason appearance, Will Anderson Jr. will finish the season with an SEC-leading 17.0 tackles for loss and an SEC-leading 10.0 sacks. He also unofficially leads the nation in quarterback pressures.

In his Alabama career, Anderson Jr. has totaled 204 tackles, 59 tackles for loss (10th in college football history) and 34.5 sacks (5th in college football history). His career TFL and sack numbers are both unofficial SEC records.

Alabama Football Secondary: B

On paper, the Alabama secondary was elite, giving up just 77 passing yards on a 47-percent completion rate. Shockingly, however, these were nowhere near the worst numbers of the season for Auburn quarterback Robby Ashford.

The seemingly-abysmal completion percentage was actually one of Ashford’s best against SEC competition. Given the opponent, Alabama football fans would’ve liked to see this secondary play a little better, and maybe force Ashford into a turnover or two.

Brian Branch had eight tackles, including a tackle for loss, to lead the unit. Safety DeMarcco Hellams had six tackles and a pass breakup, while fellow safety Jordan Battle added five tackles. Kool-Aid McKinstry and Eli Ricks got the starts at corner.

Alabama Football Special Teams: A

The Alabama special teams were mostly quiet in this game, which is a good thing. Will Reichard did not attempt a field goal, and Alabama did not have any significant returns. James Burnip averaged 45.3 yards on his three punts, and long snapper Kneeland Hibbett came up with a controversial turnover when he recovered a muffed punt.

Next. Offensive report card vs Auburn. dark

Although 2022 has been a disappointing year for the defense, the special teams, and the program as a whole, Alabama football finishes its regular season with a 10-2 record and an outside chance to back its way into the college football playoff. At worst, Alabama should appear in a New Years’ Six bowl game.