Alabama won their second straight Iron Bowl on Saturday night with a 29-13 win at a sold out Jordan Hare Stadium. The Crimson Tide put together a strong all-around performance and let Derrick Henry wear down the Tigers in the closing minutes.
Henry continued his Heisman campaign with 46 carries, gaining 271 yards and scoring the game’s final touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Henry’s touchdown set a new school record for most rushing touchdowns in a season, now at 22 (and counting).
In the first half, Henry had just 16 carries for 102 yards. The offense was moving the ball but constantly stalled after getting into Auburn territory. Nick Saban sent out Adam Griffith four times to attempt field goals in the first half. He made all of them, including a 50 yard kick just before the half. There were plenty of 2013 references made but the Alabama kicker did not care.
Auburn put a return man in the end zone on that field goal. Griffith (MVP) cleared the crossbar by at least 10 yards.
— Caleb Turrentine (@CalebTurrentine) November 28, 2015
Griffith’s four kicks gave the Tide a 12-6 lead at halftime. The offense was struggling to finish and it was keeping Auburn in the game. Auburn had a chance at taking the lead in the first half but a Jake Coker pass bounced off the chest of Auburn defensive back Blake Countess. If he could have reeled it in, it likely would have been a touchdown and the lead for the Tigers.
Both teams struggled offensively at the start of the second half but the Crimson Tide made sure their second drive ended in points. Coker managed to scramble away from a sack on a third down play that led to the offense converting on fourth down. Two plays later, the senior quarterback did this.
— BamaVine (@BamaVine) November 29, 2015
The touchdown put the Crimson Tide up 19-6 and the nation’s second ranked team looked in control. They forced Auburn into a third down on the next possession but Jeremy Johnson then worked up some magic and threw a strike through the middle of the field. Tiger receiver Jason Smith tipped the ball past the second and to himself, running it in for a 77 yard touchdown. The play not only got the home team back in the game, but the fans suddenly awoke and it felt like the Tigers had all the momentum entering the fourth quarter.
The Alabama defense stepped up though to finish it off. Outside of the long touchdown pass, Alabama held the Tigers to just 37 yards of total offense in the second half. Griffith tacked on a 47 yard field goal with 10 minutes left in the final quarter to give the Tide a two possession lead. As the Crimson Tide were running out the clock, Henry went up the middle on a fourth-and-one and ran into the endzone for the record-setting touchdown.
Alabama’s win clinched the SEC West and will send the Crimson Tide to Atlanta next week for a showdown with Florida.
- Alabama outgained Auburn 465 to 260 on total offense.
- The Crimson Tide held the ball for 21:38 of the second half.
- The Alabama offensive line did not allow a sack the whole game, while the Tide’s defensive line had three sacks for a loss of 32 yards.
- Coker finished the game 17 for 26 with 179 yards. He completed passes to just four different receivers.
- ArDarius Stewart was second to Henry in total touches. He had eight receptions that went for 81 yards and the touchdown.
- Geno Mattias-Smith led the team with eight total tackles.
- Four different players had tackles for loss, two of them were the sacks by Tim Williams and Maurice Smith.
- Alabama had five field goals in a game for the first time since the 2011 BCS National Championship.
Caleb Turrentine is a contributor at Touchdown Alabama Magazine. Follow him on Twitter, @CalebTurrentine.