Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

From doubt to dominance: Alabama’s seniors rewrite legacy with Iron Bowl win

CW / Riley Thompson
Alabama running back Roydell Williams (#5) celebrates scoring a touchdown against Auburn.

Before the Chattanooga game, the Alabama senior class was honored on senior day; seven days later, it became the first senior class since 1981 to beat Alabama’s biggest rival, Auburn, four consecutive times.  

“It’s big to go 4-0 against those guys,” senior defensive back Malachi Moore said. “I will never take it for granted. These games are something you will remember for the rest of your life.” 

From Trussville, Alabama, Moore has been a standout player for the Crimson Tide. Having secured a starting spot on the defense during his freshman season, Moore has now played in three Iron Bowls, and this one may have been the craziest. 

It all started on the first offensive drive for the Crimson Tide. Quarterback Jalen Milroe and wide receiver Malik Benson quickly connected for a 33-yard gain, setting up senior running back Roydell Willams for a 2-yard touchdown rush.  

Despite making his Iron Bowl debut in 2022, Williams has been with the program since 2020. The senior from Hueytown, Alabama, finished the night with 33 yards on eight carries, along with the mentioned touchdown. 

Earlier this week, Williams said it would mean a lot to him to go 4 for 4 against Auburn. 

“It’d be a big deal,” Williams said. “We have to go ahead and dominate and continue that streak.” 

In the second half’s opening drive, Williams and fellow senior tailback Jase McClellan totaled 25 yards, helping set up a field goal for kicker Will Reichard and extending the Alabama lead to 6 points.  

Out of Aledo, Texas, McClellan was the most efficient of the Crimson Tide backs against the Tigers. In his freshman season, McClellan debuted in the rivalry, rushing for only a modest 6 yards. McClellan finished this year’s Iron Bowl with 66 yards on 15 attempts.  

Helping pave the way for the two senior running backs was center and fellow senior Seth McLaughlin.  

This season has yet to be what McLaughlin expected. Thelineman who had such a good connection with previous quarterback Bryce Young has struggled to build the same chemistry with Milroe, leading to a costly fumble on the final offensive drive. Despite struggles, nobody can take away what McLaughlin has accomplished with the Crimson Tide, including the Iron Bowl sweep. 

After Milroe and wide receiver Isaiah Bond connected for the “Gravedigger” and took the lead late in the game, quarterback Payton Thorne and the Auburn offense had one final chance.  

But senior linebacker Chris Braswell made his presence felt, stripping the Auburn quarterback of the football and pushing the Tigers inside their 5-yard line with the clock winding down.  

While not playing any games his first year and having a reduced depth role his sophomore and junior seasons, Braswell has been one of the most significant pieces of Alabama’s success this season. The senior out of Baltimore, Maryland, has appeared in every game for the Crimson Tide, which is especially important as multiple of Alabama’s linebackers have been banged up this season.  

Braswell finished the Iron Bowl with three tackles, two of which came in the fourth quarter, and the aforementioned strip-sack.  

Linebacker Trezmen Marshall and defensive back Kristian Story were two other players who completed the Auburn sweep. Story recorded nine snaps against Auburn this year, totaling one tackle. Marshall totaled six snaps in this season’s Iron Bowl. 

After the Week 2 loss against Texas, most of the team was under scrutiny, including the seniors. The opportunity for this year’s class to cement its legacy looked bleak.  

Now, echoes of the 2023 Iron Bowl will resonate for a long time, and the accomplishments of these seniors shouldn’t be forgotten in this game’s dialogue. With the SEC championship against Georgia looming — the team these players lost to in the 2022 national championship — the Crimson Tide can finish the season with an 11-game win streak and crack into the college football playoff.  

After the Chattanooga game, head coach Nick Saban couldn’t speak highly enough about this senior class.  

“These seniors have done a great job of representing the program, representing the University, on and off the field,” Saban said. “[They’re] a really good group of fine young men that I am very proud of the way they’ve developed personally, academically, the success that they’ve had in school and developing a career off the field and what they’ve contributed to the team.” 

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