Game analysis: Alabama's 34-28 loss to Auburn
by Mark Edwards
Nov 30, 2013 | 2593 views |  0 comments | 44 44 recommendations | email to a friend | print
AJ McCarron is one of six Heisman finalists. (Photo by Bill WIlson)
AJ McCarron is one of six Heisman finalists. (Photo by Bill WIlson)

On the whole, it looked like a good day for Alabama's offense -- 495 yards and four touchdowns. AJ McCarron put on a performance that might have some Heisman voters still listing him No. 1 on their ballots, even with the loss. He threw for 277 yards and three touchdowns.

But Alabama stalled twice in the red zone on critical second-half drives. Converting at least a field goal on one of them would've made the difference.


The Crimson Tide, historically one of the nation's best run defenses under Nick Saban, looked mediocre against Auburn's option running attack. The Tigers picked up 296 yards and averaged 5.7 yards a carry.

Alabama never could slow the run game often enough to exploit Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall's lack of consistency as a passer.

Special teams

This might've been Alabama's worst special teams performance in the Iron Bowl since 1972, when the Tide allowed two blocked punts in a loss to Auburn.

Cade Foster missed a 44-yarder, then made a 28-yarder. But a false-start penalty nullified that kick, and Foster followed up by missing from 33. A 44-yarder got blocked.

Then there was Adam Griffith's 57-yard attempt on the final play. You know what happened -- Chris Davis, 100 yards, game-winning touchdown. He ran down an unguarded sideline to score.


It was a typical Nick Saban coaching job against Auburn -- puzzling. Even though the decision to try the 57-yard field goal appears to be the right one, it's hard to figure how a detail-oriented coach such as Saban could see his team botch the ensuing kick coverage so badly.

Also, the fourth-and-one run at the Auburn 13 in the final period is a tough one to figure. A field goal would've pushed a seven-point lead to 10.


It was an Iron Bowl to remember, and for all Alabama, it was for all the wrong reasons. Nick Saban has led the Crimson Tide to three national titles but he also has coached Alabama in two of its most devastating losses to Auburn in school history. In 2010, Alabama lost a 24-point lead -- a school record for both sides. Losing by a 100-yard return of a missed field goal is something so unusual and rare, it's doubtful anybody could've imagined it.

This one will go down with the 1972, 1989 and 2010 losses. People will be talking about this for decades.

Then again, Alabama survived those other three losses with national championships not long afterward. The Crimson Tide will survive this, too.
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