January 30, 2023

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Alabama vs. Auburn game, takeaway: No. 7 The tide rolls over the Courageous Tigers to win their third straight Iron Bowl

Alabama vs. Auburn game, takeaway: No. 7 The tide rolls over the Courageous Tigers to win their third straight Iron Bowl

Alabama State topped Auburn 49-27 in the Iron Bowl on Saturday afternoon, securing its 16th straight double-digit win and third straight victory over its intrastate rivals from the Plains. The Crimson Tide have so far won 12 of the last 16 meetings with the Tigers since 2008.

Auburn scored first to take a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, but it was all Bama from that point on. The Tide broke up on three consecutive touchdowns—the result of a 5-yard rush from quarterback Bryce Young, a 10-yard pass from Young to RB Gus McClellan, and a 5-yard run from RB Roedell Williams—to control that they would. Never compromise.

Auburn did their best to stay in the game when QB Robby Ashford hit Ja’Varrius Johnson in the back corner of the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown run to make it 21-14 in the second quarter. Otherwise, Auburn’s offense was decidedly one-dimensional and Ashford couldn’t move chains in the air constantly.

As had been the case earlier in the game, the Tide’s three straight hits put him out of reach after Johnson’s scoring clinch. Young hit Ja’Corey Brooks for a 32-yard touchdown and Traeshon Holden for 27 yards to close out the first half. McClellan added a 2-yard touchdown run on their first drive of the second half to extend the lead to 42-14.

A Heisman Trophy winner and NFL-eligible junior, Young probably played his last game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. He finished with 343 passing yards with those three touchdowns and one interception. Ashford was 11 of 23 for 77 yards and one touchdown, adding 121 yards rushing and two on the ground.

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Was this Young’s last dance?

If this is Young’s last drive at Denny Bryant, he’s gone out with a bang. His ability to get ahead—under duress or with a clean pocket—was immaculate all afternoon. More importantly, he gave his best when it counted the most. He was 5 of 7 for 93 yards in third downs, with all five of those completions moving the series. Ten of his completions were for 15 yards or more, including eight in the first half to put the Tigers in an impossible hole.

That’s what legends do: rule when it matters most.

It is unlikely that Young will ever get a chance to win a national championship as a starting quarterback. Sure, he got a ring in 2020 behind Mac Jones, but Tide failed both seasons of Young atop the depth chart. However, that should not detract from his legacy or how important he is to this program. He became the first Alabama quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy last year, after head coach Nick Saban orchestrated an offensive turnaround with a friendly QB plan over the past decade. Young cemented that foundation in the two years he took the shots, even if he didn’t get a ring.

The force is in the trenches

Alabama’s offensive line has been a weak point for Saban’s crew over the past two years, but it never looked like it against the Tigers. Young was not sacked once, and Auburn managed only three tackles for loss in the afternoon. For comparison, Alabama has been giving up 5.18 tackles for loss per game this season.

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The offensive line’s success against the Tigers allowed Young to appear in his final game of the regular season. It helped the offense stay on the court against an Auburn offense that, while one-dimensional, was still effective thanks to the creative play of the temporary staff. The Crimson Tide converted six out of nine attempts for third place, which played a big part in the overall score.

Cadillac shall be remembered fondly

It’s unlikely that Carnell Williams will get a full-time head coaching job at Auburn with Hugh Freese It is said in line To take over. However, that shouldn’t undo the impact he’s had in four short games on the sidelines.

Auburn crashed under former head coach Brian Harsin. Players, coaches, administrators, fans – everyone seemed to be moving in completely different directions. That changed in November when Cadillac brought fresh energy to the sideline and locker room. There was energy on the sidelines that the program desperately needed. He pulled the program together and sent it in the right direction with a score of 2-2. Even in a losing effort at the Iron Bowl, he showed the kind of fighting he gave this team.

Williams laid the foundation for the future. Will he stay on the crew even if he doesn’t get the job? That remained to be seen. Whatever happens in the future, Auburn is in a better place now and Cadillac deserves a lot of credit for that.