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Najee Harris, Jaylen Waddle carries Tide through first half of Iron Bowl

John Reed - USA TODAY Sports

Auburn’s defensive front is as good as advertised and Bo Nix recorded a rushing touchdown; however, Najee Harris was dominant for Alabama at Jordan-Hare Stadium in the first half. 

The junior running back has a game-high 94 yards rushing on 14 carries. 

He gave the Crimson Tide a 10-7 lead with a 6-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, while his longest run went for 23 yards. Harris continues to show his abilities of hurdling defenders and powering through defensive fronts with ease. He is averaging 6.7 yards per carry. 

Mac Jones completed 14 of 19 passes.

He has 138 passing yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

Henry Ruggs III brought in Jones’ first score and Jaylen Waddle excited Tide fans at Jordan Hare Stadium, as he took a pass 58 yards to the house.

The Tigers have done a good job of creating pressure, but Deonte Brown of Alabama limited Derrick Brown to one tackle for loss in the first half. 

RELATED: WATCH: Mac Jones, Alabama players in pregame warmups for Iron Bowl

Jerry Jeudy leads the Tide in catches (three) and Jaylen Waddle has 58 yards to lead the group.

Although the Tigers recorded a pick-six off Jones (Smoke Monday) before halftime, Jaylen Waddle made everything better on the ensuing kickoff. He is known for his exploits on punt return, but he took Anders Carlson’s kick for a 98-yard touchdown in the second quarter. 

Regardless of some pressure getting to him, Nix has made some big plays.

The freshman completed 10 of 20 passes for 145 yards with one score.

He found Sal Cannella for the game-tying touchdown late in the second quarter. JaTarvious Whitlow leads the Tigers with 40 rushing yards on five carries.

Eight different players have caught one pass from Nix and Seth Williams totals the most yards (57). While it’s moved the chain twice on third down, penalties on Alabama have kept Auburn in the game. Despite totaling more yards than the Tigers, 241-213, five penalties (-47 yards) have kept drives alive for the Tigers at home. 

Shane Lee leads the Tide in total tackles (five). Raekwon Davis has four tackles (one for loss) and the trio of Xavier McKinney, Jared Mayden and Anfernee Jennings each have three stops. Christian Barmore has two tackles — including one for loss.

McKinney notched his fourth forced fumble of the year. 

Both offenses started to get things going in the second half, but special teams helped the Tide.

Defensively, Alabama has to defend routes better and establish control with its linebackers in the second half.

Receivers for the Tigers were able to bail out Nix with clutch catches.

Alabama will receive the ball in the second half, leading 31-27.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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