Iron Bowls are supposed to be about hate, tight games and a lot of blood (metaphorical) spilled in order to beat your biggest rival, sometimes only to spoil their chances of winning something. Alabama expected something like that, but got no such thing in a 49-0 beat down.
Yes, Alabama beat Auburn 49-0, making it a humiliating 91-14 over the last couple of seasons, and their biggest win over the Tigers since a 55-0 rout in Birmingham back in 1955. Auburn end their pathetic season, maybe the last under Gene Chizik, the man who led them to the national title two years ago (but it was probably more to do with Cam Newton), with a 3-9 record, going 0-8 in the SEC.
It was never close, never going to be. Miracles don’t happen when the disparity is so great. Alabama were up 42-0 at half time, ending up allowing Auburn to advance only 163 yards throughout the game. Freshman quarterback Jonathan Wallace didn’t know what hit him most of the time, finishing with 5-14, throwing two interceptions. Auburn never had the chance to kick a field goal.
A.J. McCarron enjoyed what was probably the easiest game of the season for him. He saw no pressure, completing 15-21 for 216 yards and four touchdown passes. Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon ran for a combined three more. Alabama averaged 7 yards per play, but what their defense did to Auburn for a second straight year and generally throughout this season, stretching back to their win over LSU in the national title game, deserves special mention.
Auburn managed to make it past the midfield only twice, making it as far as the Tide’s 41 in the first quarter before punting. Alabama produced touchdowns on its first seven possessions and converted its first 11 third-down tries. The Tide shut out four opponents this season, the most in a season for Alabama since 1979. Last season’s team also shut out LSU in the BCS title game in January. Their defense has now gone two consecutive years without giving up any points to Auburn.
There’s nothing like beating up a rival, badly, before the SEC championship game. Alabama were thinking national title, but they weren’t about to let Auburn mess things up for them. This team is all about business and completing their goals, which got a bit sidetracked thanks to Jonny Manziel and Texas A&M. Fixing things and making it back to the national title game goes through Georgia, but it also had to be with a stamp of approval by making Auburn’s season as worse as possible.
Nick Saban: To me, in all those games that I’ve been a part of, they are about as good as any game in the country other than the national championship game.
Alabama and Saban could have set a new record, but mostly played with subs in the second half. Humiliating their biggest rivals so their fans can have huge bragging rights for an entire year is one thing; keeping everyone healthy for the really important games is another. Making it through the SEC and heading to Miami instead of a lesser bowl game was on Saban’s mind from the moment it looked like a painful blowout.