No. 7 Alabama clinches 15th straight 10-win season in high-scoring win over Auburn in the Iron Bowl


CW / David Gray

Alabama quarterback Bryce Young congratulates running back Roydell Williams (5) after a touchdown in the Crimson Tide’s 49-27 win over the Auburn Tigers on Nov. 26 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Austin Hannon | @austin_hannon1, Sports Editor

The Alabama Crimson Tide has won 10 games for the 15th consecutive season. 

The Crimson Tide (10-2, 6-2 SEC) blew the game open in the second quarter to take down the Auburn Tigers 49-27 at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday. 

“I was really proud of our team,” head coach Nick Saban said. 

“I think one of the things I’m most proud of is the fact that when everybody thought they were out of it, and there [were] a lot of naysayers out there — this team didn’t give up on themselves, they didn’t give up on each other. They kept fighting and won some tough games to finish the season.” 

Alabama used the arm of quarterback Bryce Young to down its archrival for the third straight year. In perhaps his final home game, Young was 20-for-30 with 343 yards and three passing touchdowns. He spread the ball around the field to nine different pass catchers. 

Leading the receivers were Jermaine Burton and Ja’Corey Brooks. Burton caught three balls for 87 yards. Brooks hauled in four receptions for 76 yards and a score. 

If Young chooses to forgo his senior season and enter the 2023 NFL Draft, Saturday was a good way to go out at Bryant-Denny Stadium for the former Heisman winner. 

“It’s meant the world to me,” Young said. “The support I’ve felt — I’m from California, across the country. As soon as I got here, everyone made it feel like home and I’m forever grateful for that. The atmosphere, the environment we get to play in — it’s the best environment in college football.” 

“To be a part of this brotherhood, to play with the players I’ve played with — it means everything,” he said. 

Believe it or not, Young actually led the Crimson Tide on the ground as well through the first three quarters, rushing for 48 yards and a touchdown on five attempts. In his return from an ankle injury, Jahmyr Gibbs totaled 76 yards on 17 carries and a late touchdown. 

Alabama struggled severely with the Tigers’ running game. Auburn (5-7, 2-6 SEC) is a strong rushing team and Saturday was no exception. Quarterback Robby Ashford led the way, scrambling for 121 yards on 17 attempts. Running backs Tank Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter combined for 197 yards on 26 touches. 

“Auburn did a great job with the run game,” Saban said. “Some of the plays they ran … I hadn’t seen since Pop Warner. Their quarterback played an outstanding game — from a run standpoint.” 

“They did run the ball really well,” linebacker Will Anderson Jr. said. “Sometimes we got misplaced in our gaps. We’ve got to do a better job of getting off blocks and staying in our gaps.” 

The Tigers only had 77 passing yards on the day. 

Penalties were a problem for both sides, with the rivals combining for 21 penalties and a total of 151 penalty yards. 

The Tigers suffered two costly fumbles in the first half, including a muffed punt that allowed Alabama to score right before halftime. 

Third downs played a big part in the result of the game — the Crimson Tide went 6-for-9 while Auburn went just 4-for-14. 

Alabama now has a chunk of time off before playing next. While the Crimson Tide continues to hold out hopes for a chance at the College Football Playoff, it more than likely will not be a part of the four-team field. Regardless, it looks like Alabama is a lock for a New Year’s Six bowl game, which will take place around the aforementioned new year of 2023. 

“It’s a great opportunity for our team to be considered [for the College Football Playoff],” Saban said. “We lost two games on the road against two top-10 teams by four points. We are a good football team and hopefully people will realize that.” 

Saban said that in this trying season, the doubt from the outside has been the motivation for his team. 

“To be honest with you, I think that a lot of the naysayers, a lot of the people that were very negative about this team — really united the players,” Saban said. “[The players] would say things like, ‘This is all we have, but this is all we need.’ … This program was built on [positivity]. I think [the negativity] brought this team together more than anything else. They wanted to persevere and prove what they could do.” 

Until its postseason plans are finalized, the Crimson Tide can be satisfied with its Iron Bowl victory over its most hated rival. 

Questions or comments? Email Austin Hannon (Sports Editor) at [email protected]