The 88th Iron Bowl was quite a game. An Alabama Football comeback, accomplished with gutsy style. An Auburn Tigers team that battled hard enough to win, but in the end did not have enough. It will go down as one of the greatest Iron Bowl finishes ever – at least in the minds of Alabama football fans.
Auburn deserves credit for becoming a different football team in the space of a week. Though, there is little doubt that Auburn spent all of its New Mexico State practice week, working on the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Making Auburn’s resolve even more effective was Alabama stopping itself with penalties. Two first-half Crimson Tide touchdowns were wiped out by penalties. Defensively, Alabama left Auburn receivers open for a couple of big plays. For much of the game, the Crimson Tide defense appeared to not understand how to stop Payton Thorne’s running. The Tigers almost rode Jarquez Hunter and Damari Alston to a victory. The two combined for 178 yards. Hunter averaged 6.6 yards and Alston averaged 8.5 yards.
After the game, Nick Saban opened his post-game review by saying,
"Do I really need to say anything?"
He was right. The game was almost too much for a complete and concise review. Check out some of Saban’s comments below or scroll down for the full post-game video.
- “Our players really stepped up. Got a couple of stops on defense, which we really didn’t play great all day… But we overcame adversity …”
- “This game today speaks volumes about these guys and about the competitive character they have to keep fighting”
- On the final touchdown pass, Saban said the Tide practices that play every week, and “Jalen made a great throw, but IB got himself into position where there was room to throw it.. It was a great catch. It was a great throw … I must admit that I think you have to be a little lucky for it to work, but I’ll take it.”
For those who missed the post-game, on-field interviews, check out the video below.
Alabama Football and ‘All To Play For’
As Nick Saban said after the game, the Crimson Tide has much to improve on before taking on Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. Character and determination will take a team only as far as its performance allows.
The Bulldogs will offer a far tougher challenge. But in a way, having to fight back in Auburn might aid Alabama’s preparation for an opponent that can punish the kind of mistakes the Crimson Tide made in Auburn.
Note: Game stats provided by Stat Broadcast
Jalen Milroe passed for 284 yards against Auburn and was the Tide’s leading rusher with 107 yards.