Bama dominates the Iron Bowl

November 27, 2016 at 3:18 am Leave a comment

Truth be told, Alabama didn’t even play that well against Auburn. The Crimson Tide were sloppy and made plenty of mistakes.

Nevertheless, the Crimson Tide still crushed the Tigers 30-12 in the annual Iron Bowl, wrapping up a perfect 12-0 regular season and an unblemished 8-0 run through the SEC. ‘Bama is going back to the conference title game.

Offensively, Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts threw a pair of interceptions. Ball security was an issue a handful of times. Coordinator Lane Kiffin slanted a little too heavily toward the pass — maybe because new full-time LSU coach Ed Orgeron was blowing up his phone — before returning to more ground-and-pound after intermission.

But considering what this iteration of coach Nick Saban’s defense can do, the offense can afford to muck it up here and there.

Alabama held Auburn to 172 total yards, with almost a third of them coming on a 55-yard pass from John Franklin III to Eli Stove. But the Tigers never got anywhere near the end zone and settled for a quartet of Daniel Carlson field goals.

Carlson was 3-of-3 on field-goal attempts in the first half, although his offense — Auburn didn’t produce a first down until the 6:19 mark of the second quarter — had very little to do with it. A 58-yard punt return from Stephen Roberts and both interceptions of Hurts gave the Tigers some short fields to score points.

Getting back to Hurts and Co. on offense, the Crimson Tide ended up throwing for 298 yards and running for 203 more.

Throug the air, ArDarius Stewart (below) was the primary target with 10 receptions for 127 yards and a touchdown. He even completed a 12-yard pass off some trickeration when Kiffin dug a little deeper into his playbook.

On the ground, ‘Bama spread the wealth liberally. Tailbacks Bo Scarbrough, Damien Harris and Joshua Jacobs combined for 169 yards on 31 attempts, with all of them averaging 5.2 yards per carry or better — each had a run of at least 20 yards, too. Hurts added 37 yards and a pretty TD, when he simply beat the Tigers to the pylon.

The irony is that Auburn played tremendous defense for large stretches of this game yet still gave up a season-high 30 points.

Make no mistake about it: The Tigers are incredibly gifted defensively. Montravius Adams is a beast in the middle. Carl Lawson is a force off the edge. Daniel Thomas picked off Hurts twice as a freshman playing in his first Iron Bowl.

However, Auburn was a three-and-out waiting to happen on offense, which eventually took a toll on its defense. Quarterbacks Franklin and Jeremy Johnson — coach Gus Malzahn went back to his rotating ways out of pure desperation — completed just 6-of-17 throws. Even a healthy Sean White would have been overmatched.

Kamryn Pettway, likely a first-team All-SEC selection at running back for 2016, was held to 17 yards on 12 carries. The Tigers, the conference’s leading rushing offense at almost 300 yards per game, had just 66 on 26 tries.

Malzahn’s game plan was so hopeless that he even tried a fullback pass from Chandler Cox on a fourth-down conversion attempt late in the game. Said pass, like the Tigers’ chances of winning, was easily intercepted.

While ‘Bama only registered one sack at Bryant-Denny Stadium, its defense managed six additional tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Jonathan Allen — the top candidate for Defensive Player of the Year in the league — had two. Butkus Award contender Reuben Foster was credited with four quarterback hits.

One quick glance at the box score, and it appears to be just another Tide-style curb stomping of an inferior opponent.

They had almost four times as many first downs. They had more than three times the rushing yardage. They had more than twice the passing yardage. They had a time-of-possession advantage of better than 2-to-1.



Entry filed under: Alabama Crimson Tide, College Football, Male.

Alabama owns LSU. The Crimson Tide is the Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer in this rivalry and the Tigers are the nail. “I don’t think the stage is too big for him at all”, Saban said about Hurts. We struggled to pass protect. While it wasn’t Fournette’s night by any stretch, it was a showcase performance for a multitude of draft prospects on the Alabama defense. Fournette, whose 2015 Heisman Trophy hopes faded when he was held to 31 yards on 19 carries in Tuscaloosa a year ago, had 35 yards on 17 carries. Rawleigh Williams ran for 148 yards and two TDs for the Razorbacks. Also consider that, on a day in which No. 4 Texas A&M and No. 11 Florida lost to unranked opponents on the road, Alabama coach Nick Saban kept his team focused enough to beat a resurgent LSU team in an extremely hostile environment. “His “want to” to have success against Alabama is as high as any other player I’ve seen and so is our team”. The Crimson Tide gained just 323 yards, an fantastic work night for LSU’s defense, under pressure all game because its offense couldn’t produce any field position or breathing room. “It’s very frustrating”, LSU defensive end Arden Key said. The Bulldogs, who are still the same team that lost to South Alabama, had no answer for Auburn’s running game and will crumble back down to earth next week in Tuscaloosa. They never got their big horse going. Someday came very soon for the Tide. After the offense put points on the board in the fourth quarter, this Crimson Tide defense really put the clamps on the LSU Tigers. In the end, CBS was half right. Defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s crew forced two turnovers and stuffed Alabama with a masterful goal-line stand on Bama’s first drive of the second half. Hurts, a freshman, was the game’s leading rusher with 114 yards on 20 carries. Alabama’s menacing and chiseled defensive line blew up LSU’s offensive strategy on multiple occasions, forcing Tiger quarterback Danny Etling – who finished 11-24 for 92 yards and an interception – to work under vast pressure en route to completing 7-of-13 passes for 64 yards through the first 30 minutes. “He made some errors early in the game that were costly”, said Saban on Hurts. “We just didn’t execute, ” Orgeron said. LSU’s last gasp drive saw a 2-yard Etling completion and enveloped by three incompletions, a whimper of a drive to end a quiet offensive night. The Crimson Tide took the 10-0 lead with 2:45 to play in the game on a 17-yard field goal by Adam Griffith, eating up 9:51 of the fourth quarter on a 50-yard drive in 15 plays that buried the Tigers and finally silenced a raucous crowd that at times was deafening. For the first three quarters, all packed in Tiger Stadium endured 45 minutes worth of scoreless football. LSU safety Jamal Adams intercepted Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts on the Tide’s first drive, giving the Tigers possession at the Alabama 33-yard line. The Tigers, however, were not able to capitalize on the opportunity, as Colby Delahoussaye’s 49-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Alabama defensive back Ronnie Harrison. The momentum was gone just as quick as it came. After that, the Tide ran out the clock after Etling couldn’t lead a comeback. There was no further scoring in the half. “Defense did a hell of a job all night”. “It’ll be the sixth year we lose to them”. From there, Alabama went on a 90-yard march studded with crucial plays. Hurts connected with Calvin Ridley for a 21 yard reception the following play down to the LSU 24. LSU had already had one huge goal line stop earlier in the game, so an Alabama score was not a sure thing. Hurts, twice on third downs with nine or more yards to go, busted LSU’s defense for 11 and 23 yards, respectively. Once again, LSU’s defense stiffened. LSU’s chances of competing for the SEC crown ended with Saturday’s defeat. Lackluster offenses were part of the reason this game was so low-scoring, but in reality, the 10-0 scored reflects exactly how dominant both defenses were. Alabama wins their 26th SEC Championship

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