AUBURN, Ala. — This wasn’t your standard in-state grudge fit.
That in itself would were sufficient when Alabama and Auburn met on Saturday afternoon. But the 82nd version of the Iron Bowl introduced so a lot more than bragging rights.
This sport determined who would win the SEC West, who would transfer directly to play for the convention championship and who would live on of their quest to achieve the College Football Playoff. It supposed, smartly, the whole thing. “The Iron Bowl was always big,” Alabama trainer Nick Saban stated previous within the week, “… but this one is especially big.”
And as Jordan-Hare Stadium shook and rattled and roared from kickoff till the overall seconds, there used to be no mistaking that this competition sport delivered. On the overall weekend of the common season, each groups have been competitive, leaving the whole thing at the box in a again-and-forth struggle of top-10 groups.
In the top, with feelings operating top, Alabama used to be the group that blinked. On the street, amid ear-piercing noise, a fumbled box-purpose strive cracked the door for Auburn and Jarrett Stidham and the Tigers kicked it in, profitable 26-14.
Stidham, who left Baylor when former trainer Art Briles used to be fired and transferred to Auburn ahead of spring apply, performed the most efficient sport of his lifestyles right through an important sport of his group’s season. He used to be correct and assured throwing the soccer, finishing 21 of 28 passes for 237 yards. But greater than that, he used to be a playmaker, evading a nearly consistent barrage of blitzers, escaping the pocket and selecting up vital yards. His 16-yard landing run early within the fourth quarter swung the momentum to a spot the place Alabama couldn’t get better.
Down 12 issues with kind of 10 mins final, Saban’s group imploded. Facing 3rd-and-four within Auburn territory, a foul snap resulted in a fumble. Then on fourth down, some other unhealthy snap and some other fumble. Alabama were given a do-over as a result of Auburn had a 12th guy at the box and Jalen Hurts discovered Robert Foster within the flat for what gave the look of a certain first down. But Foster didn’t flip upfield and used to be stopped part a backyard in need of transferring the chains.
The Alabama protection then gave the impression to pressure a 3-and-out, best an offside penalty grew to become what would were a punt into a primary down and a possibility for Auburn to additional salt away the sport.
Auburn trainer Gus Malzahn, who hadn't overwhelmed competitors Alabama or Georgia since 2013, discovered a method to knock off each, and each have been ranked No. 1 on the time they performed. In doing so, he is long gone from being at the scorching seat to possibly being the most up to date trainer within the SEC.
For his Tigers, the dream of turning into the primary two-loss group to achieve the playoff may be very a lot alive. Next up: a rematch with Georgia within the SEC Championship Game. Auburn beat the Bulldogs by 23 issues at house previous within the month.
For Alabama, all isn't but misplaced, even supposing it could simply be a glimmer of hope at this level. The Tide’s playoff goals are actually within the fingers of groups like Wisconsin and Ohio State and Miami and Clemson and extra.
The Iron Bowl gave us the winner of the West. Time will inform whether or not it may well ship the winner of the SEC and, possibly, the playoff.