Bryce Young rushed for 343 yards and three touchdowns and scored another in what might be his last home game for No. 8 Alabama. He led the Crimson Tide past Auburn by 49-27 in Saturday’s Iron Bowl.
Alabama (10-2, 6-2 Southeastern Conference, No. 7 CFP) clinched double-digit wins for a 15th straight season despite being unable to live up to ever-present national title ambitions.
The Tigers (5-7, 2-6) were trying to secure bowl eligibility and salvage a disappointing campaign that included the Oct. 31 firing of coach Bryan Harsin.
Young, a junior, completed 20 of 30 passes with an interception and rushed for 48 yards. The 2021 Heisman Trophy winner is predicted to be a high NFL draft pick if he leaves early, as is Tide All-America linebacker Will Anderson Jr., who had a sack to stop a late Auburn drive in the fourth quarter.
Auburn rushed for 318 yards, the most against Alabama since he won 355 in 1983. But the Tigers’ passing game was all but non-existent. Quarterback Robby Ashford became the first Auburn player to run for two touchdowns in the Iron Bowl since Carnell Williams – now the Tigers’ acting coach – in 2003.
Ashford gained 121 yards on the ground but only passed for 77, although that included a pretty perfect 20-yard touchdown pass to J’aVarrious Johnson in the right corner of the endzone.
Jarquez Hunter ran 11 times for 134 yards but also lost a fumble.
Williams and Auburn settled for two field goals in the fourth quarter, giving up a late Jahmyr Gibbs touchdown run.
For Auburn, the week was marked by speculation over who athletic director John Cohen would hire to replace Harsin. The most talked about candidate, Lane Kiffin of Mississippi, said he was staying. Liberty’s Hugh Freeze said after his team’s season finale on Saturday he had not been offered the job but confirmed his interest.
“The part that’s wrong is that I wasn’t made an offer, nor was anything accepted,” Freeze said.
THE TAKE AWAY
Auburn: Finished 2-2 under Williams, who was the running backs coach. Errors on Saturday included a muffed punt and a fumble when Hunter ran into a teammate in downfield. Both assisted Alabama touchdowns.
Alabama: Won fairly easily, but still didn’t look like a College Football Playoff-caliber team, being hit on the ground defensively and without many big plays on offense.
Auburn is waiting for its new head coach.
Alabama is awaiting its bowl goal and hoping to make a New Year’s Six game.
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