On Friday November 29, 2009 the Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Auburn Tigers in the state rivalry game known as the Iron Bowl 26-21 in a very hard fought game. The game was a bit scary at times as auburn showed lots of fight. IN the end the best and most classy team won with the Crimson Tide victorious. Alabama now only will have to defeat Florida and Tim Tebow to make it to play for The National Championship.
Alabama found themselves in the very unusual position of trailing during a game by fourteen points. Auburn wide out Terrell Zachery hauled in a sixty seven yard touchdown pass for the Tigers first score of the day. That play was the longest play from scrimmage that the stingy Tide defense has allowed the entire season. In a classless, but effective, lack of sportsmanship Auburn then kicked an onside kick that they recovered. They then marched the ball back down the field to score another short touchdown pass after a really pathetic call against Alabama for unsportsmanlike conduct. Alabama was able to tie the score before the half on a two yard run by freshman Trent Richardson and then McElroy hit Colin Peak on a 33 yard touchdown pass.
Auburn kept the game close scoring on a touchdown pass in the third quarter. Alabama would answer with two Leigh Tiffin field goals to bring the Crimson tide within one point of victory. Auburn continued to put on the heat against the Crimson Tide and even out gained them 332-291 in yardage and had the big plays. Alabama put the game away in the fourth quarter when Greg McElroy hit Roy Upchurch in the back of the end zone. This was a guarded lead though as Auburn would get to the Tide 37 yard time for a failed hail Mary pass.
The running game was very lethargic for Alabama. Heisman candidate Mark Ingram left the game injured and only had 30 yards on 16 carries. Trent Richardson did not fare much better. He only managed 51 yards on 15 carries with a touchdown pass. This was probably the worst performance running the ball for the Crimson Tide all year. Greg McElroy played a pretty good game. He kept his cool and rallied the tide from a couple of deficits in the game. He completed 21 of 31 passes for 218 yards with two touchdown passes and no interceptions. He did get sacked three times though. McElroy often is criticized as the “weakest link” of the Crimson Tide. The last time I checked though he was leading an undefeated team into the SEC Championship and has very respectable stats. This is his first year as a starter for one of the most storied programs in college football. People need to cut him some slack.
This sets up the second SEC Championship in as many years between the top two teams in the country in the University of Alabama and the University of Florida. Florida has good offensive and defensive numbers, but has proven themselves to be vulnerable at times. Alabama has also had some close shaves, but they do have one of the best defenses in the country. The game will come down to whether or not the Tide defense can shut down Tim Tebow. If they can contain Tebow the Tide will win. If they cannot I believe it will be one heck of a ball game, but Florida will win. I think it will be a one score game either way. The winner of this game will play Texas for the National Championship unless Nebraska gets really lucky and upsets Texas in the Big 12 Championship Game.
Alabama played well below expectations for most of the game. Coach Nick Saban has some censored words that described how bad they played at times. At the end though the Tide were victorious and won the Iron Bowl in state rivalry. This just goes to show how important rivalry games can be. No matter what the records are when Auburn and Alabama play either team is capable of winning. Auburn knew they had no chance at an SEC or National Title, but keeping Alabama from winning one is just as good for them. Alabama feels the same way. At the end of the day the players, coaches and fans do respect the abilities of each other though.
Watched the game