The No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide, now with an unblemished regular season, was a 24-point favorite going into Saturday’s game against the Auburn Tigers, so the 52-21 win by the Tide over their in-state rival should not have come as a surprise to anyone.
Perhaps the most surprising thing was how well Auburn performed in the first half. At halftime Alabama led by a score of 17-14. Auburn had 123 total yards to Alabama’s 186, nine first downs to Alabama’s 11, and both fanbases were probably feeling different about the game than they had anticipated feeling.
The second half of the game, however, told a different story. Despite only possessing the ball for 9:20, the Tide did what it’s done all season. After scoring a touchdown on their opening drive of the second half, they made it look easy. They went on to score four more touchdowns, held Auburn to one and won the game, 52-21.
Here are a few things that stuck out to me about this game:
- Tua Tagovailoa is really good, and I’m not sure there’s been a more clearly deserving player to win the Heisman Trophy since Cam Newton. (Forgive the irony there.) Tagovailoa accounted for 70% of Alabama’s offense against Auburn and was directly responsible for six of their seven touchdowns.
- Auburn did everything they could to self-destruct in the first half. At the end of the second quarter, they had more yards in penalties (68) than they had in rushing (64) or passing (59).
- This is the best offense of the Nick Saban era at Alabama. Eight different players caught the ball, five different players ran the ball, and six different players scored touchdowns. Jobs I would not want to have this week: President of the United States and University of Georgia Defensive Coordinator.
Moving forward, I don’t expect anyone in the country to give Alabama much trouble except for the Clemson Tigers … maybe. Depends on which Clemson team shows up to play.
I also don’t expect Auburn to have some of the same offensive coaches on its payroll going into next season. Change may be inevitable, but it’s a good time to remember that there are spouses and children and other staff who go through the wringer this time of year.
Another regular season of college football is in the books. Come quickly, August 31, 2019.