Offensive Woes Plague Auburn in Iron Bowl loss
Stephen Roberts (14) (Photo: Auburn Athletics/Dakota Sumpter)
Without Sean White at the helm, Auburn's offense struggled during the 81st Iron Bowl, and fell to the first-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide, 30-12 on Saturday inside Tuscaloosa's Bryant-Denny Stadium.
After another week of Sean White's status for the game being questioned, it was announced pregame that Jeremy Johnson would get the start for the Tigers for the second straight week. Despite naming Johnson the starter, three Tigers threw at least one pass in the game, for a total of 116 yards on 7 completions. John Franklin III led the way by completing 2 passes for 85 yards. His longest pass was a 56 yard completion to the games leading receiver, Eli Stove, for 56 yards. That catch set up a 27 yard field goal by Lou Groza finalist, Daniel Carlson.
The running game also struggled. The running back position was the healthiest it has been in three weeks, with Kamryn Pettway returning from injury, and Kerryon Johnson inching closer to being 100%. The Alabama defense limited Auburn to 66 yards on the ground, with Pettway only gaining 17 yards. Johnson led the way with 39 yards on 8 carries.
In total, Alabama outgained Auburn 501-182 in total yards.
Auburn showed offensive momentum on their first drive. After forcing Alabama to punt, Stephen Roberts returned a punt 58 yards to the Alabama 21. However, despite the amazing field position, Auburn only managed to get three off the leg of Carlson. Auburn picked up their first and only lead of the game at the 12:31 mark in the first, 3-0.
Alabama tied the game with 5:40 to go in the first quarter, with a 29 yard field goal by Adam Griffith. Then took their first lead when Tide Quarterback Jalen Hurts connected with Damien Harris from 17 yards out to extend the lead to 10-3 Alabama with 2:49 remaining in the quarter.
A freshman was the star of Auburn defense in the second quarter. Daniel Thomas, the teams leading tackler of the Alabama A&M game, picked off Hurts twice in the quarter, which stalled two key Alabama drives.
Special teams also had the spotlight to end the half. Each team kicked a field goal, and Auburn went to the locker room down 13-9.
Alabama began to pull away from Auburn in the third quarter, as Hurts called his own number and scored from 4 yards away to extend the lead to 20-9 Alabama. The touchdown was the first rushing touchdown that the Auburn defense allowed since the Texas A&M game in September. Alabama also converted a 4th down and 4 play when Hurts completed a 38 yard pass to ArDarius Stewart for a touchdown. Carlson added his successful third field goal of the night, to end the third quarter with Alabama on top, 27-12.
Alabama scored their final points with 12:46 remaining in the game, when Adam Griffith succeeded on a 34 yard field goal attempt, for a final score of 30-12.
Auburn falls to 8-4 on the season, and a final SEC record of 5-3. Auburn's postseason destination will be announced next weekend.