Bryce Young shines in Alabama football’s home finale


CW / David Gray

Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (9) shows his appreciation to the crowd after the Crimson Tide’s 49-27 victory over the Auburn Tigers on Nov. 26 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Will Miller, Staff Reporter

Quarterback Bryce Young’s Alabama legacy will include at least a Heisman Trophy, a Southeastern Conference title, a national title game appearance and a national title as the backup quarterback in 2020. It will also include a perfect home record as the starter. He’s never lost in Tuscaloosa. 

That will all hold true, even if No. 7 Alabama (10-2, 6-2 SEC) doesn’t get an unlikely spot in the College Football Playoff. Young is one of the best players of the Nick Saban era, and Saturday’s Iron Bowl was possibly the final time he would play in Bryant-Denny Stadium.  

The star player figures — if he departs — to be at the top of NFL draft boards everywhere in anticipation of the 2023 draft. Young had the opportunity for more Iron Bowl heroics in his second career start in the rivalry game. Auburn looked to neutralize him and secure bowl eligibility, with a side of revenge on the table after what Young did to the Tigers in 2021’s comeback win. 

The Crimson Tide won against its hated rival, 49-27, to guarantee its 15th straight season of 10 wins or more. Saturday’s game was the third straight Iron Bowl won by Alabama. Young put up 343 yards and three touchdowns through the air and added a score on the ground. In the first quarter alone, he accounted for two all-purpose touchdowns and 152 total yards. 

“Bryce played really well,” head coach Nick Saban said. “All in all, I thought the offense did a really, really good job.” 

Young’s first half ended with 13 completions, 264 passing yards and all his scores. He had a first-half passer rating of 225.4. Alabama went to the locker room with a 35-14 advantage in its final chance to impress the CFP committee.  

“Bryce is a tremendous person,” linebacker Will Anderson said. “I can’t say enough good things about Bryce. I wouldn’t rather have anyone [else] at quarterback, any other teammate than Bryce Young. He’s been doing a tremendous job this year. So much adversity has come his way. He has held his head high. … I’m glad to call him my brother.” 

He was also able to lead the Crimson Tide in rushing through three quarters. Jahmyr Gibbs ultimately outdid him on the ground with 76 yards — Young had 48.  

A lone blemish on Young’s stat line appeared late in the fourth quarter when he was intercepted by the Tigers’ Owen Pappoe. The play was reviewed. The interception stood. His day closed with 20 completions in 30 attempts, for a 67% completion percentage.   

“[The game] was huge,” Young said. “For us as a unit to step up like we did, as a whole team. … It’s really great to kind of finish it off.” 

Young made his exit after the game to a loud ovation from fans who stuck around to see the players off the field. Many of those fans expect that Young has played in Tuscaloosa for the last time ever. If so, a dominant rivalry win to close out the regular season on a victorious note isn’t a bad way to go out. Young had a great performance on Saturday, and the moments he has created during his time as QB1 at Alabama will live on for generations. 

“I’m forever grateful,” Young said of the fan support. “The atmosphere, the environment — this is the best environment in college football.” 

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