By JOHN ZENORAP Sports activities Author
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) – Auburn followers blanketed the sphere from finish zone to finish zone identical to the final time they received to rejoice a stirring Iron Bowl win.
This time, Jarrett Stidham, Kerryon Johnson and No. 6 Auburn did not want a miraculous last play to unleash the celebration. It was a construct as much as the crescendo because the Tigers beat top-ranked Alabama in a dominating 26-14 win Saturday. Auburn earned a berth in subsequent week’s Southeastern Convention title recreation towards No. 7 Georgia.
The Tigers, an afterthought earlier this season, now have their sights set on one of many 4 playoff spots. And Auburn coach Gus Malzahn made it clear his two-loss squad deserves a shot. Considered one of his group’s two defeats was to defending nationwide champion Clemson, No. three on the time.
“We have to win subsequent week and that is going to be a handful,” Malzahn stated of his upcoming rematch with Georgia. “I do not know, them consultants received it discovered. I do not assume anyone else has performed two No. 1 groups and a No. (three) group. Put up our schedule towards anyone.”
Auburn followers lined the sphere in orange and blue after the ultimate play, making a scene much like 2013 when the fourth-ranked Tigers beat No. 1 Alabama on a last-play, 109-yard return of a missed subject objective. The Tigers went on to the nationwide title recreation however had misplaced the three Iron Bowls since. This was Auburn’s greatest margin of victory within the Iron Bowl since successful 49-26 in 1969.
Stidham handed for 237 yards and ran for a fourth-quarter landing to arrange a rematch with Georgia within the SEC championship recreation Dec. 2 with a playoff spot virtually actually on the road.
Auburn (10-2, 7-1 SEC, No. 6 CFP) principally shut down the league’s prime scoring offense for his or her second win in three weeks excessive group within the playoff rankings. They received the Western Division per week after dispatching the Bulldogs with related precision.
The Crimson Tide (11-1, 7-1) made a uncommon assortment of errors for a group that had gave the impression to be headed towards a shot at a fourth consecutive SEC title and playoff berth .
Alabama coach Nick Saban stated his group nonetheless deserves a playoff shot after enjoying for the nationwide title the previous two years and scarcely getting challenged this season.
“I do not assume one recreation defines who you’re,” Saban stated. “It actually does not outline this group for who they’re. I am sorry that I couldn’t do a greater job as a coach and as a frontrunner.”
Auburn’s Johnson delivered a soar cross for a landing and ran 30 occasions for 104 yards earlier than leaving within the fourth quarter with a proper shoulder harm.
Malzahn stated after the sport Johnson has “a shoulder challenge,” however did not elaborate on his standing for the rematch with Georgia in Atlanta. Johnson had earlier appeared damage on a run towards the pylon however stayed in for a 1-yard landing run on the following play.
The SEC’s main rusher crumpled to the bottom after a carry and walked off the sphere holding his proper arm near his physique with a towel draped over his head. Followers chanted, “Kerryon!” ”Kerryon!”
With No. 2 Miami shedding Friday evening to Pittsburgh, it is the primary time the highest two groups within the AP ballot have fallen on the identical regular-season weekend since Nov. 17, 2012.
Then, No. 1 Oregon misplaced to No. 14 Stanford and No. 2 Kansas State went right down to Baylor.
Stidham accomplished 21 of 28 passes and ran for 50 yards, together with a 16-yard landing scamper early within the fourth quarter. Ryan Davis caught 11 passes for 139 yards.
“I feel we’re fairly darn good,” Stidham stated. “Coach Malzahn advised us it is by no means been carried out in three weeks beating two No. 1 groups, so I feel this group is fairly good.”
Alabama’s Jalen Hurts handed for 177 yards and a landing whereas operating 17 occasions for 80 yards, however neither he nor the Tide offense ever actually appeared to get going.
Alabama had a devastating sequence after Auburn took the lead late within the third on Johnson’s 1-yard run.
Trevon Diggs’ 55-yard return set the Tide up for a possible go-ahead rating, and a cross interference towards Auburn helped. Hale Hentges practically caught a tipped cross ultimately zone however replay overturned the landing name.
Then the Tide botched a subject objective try with a nasty snap.
Alabama had two straight botched snaps on a promising drive within the fourth quarter, failing to make good on a do-over after an Auburn penalty on the second.
Alabama: Did not play with its regular poise in large video games regardless of the return of three injured linebackers . Failed on its first six third-down makes an attempt and completed three of 11 whereas permitting Auburn to transform on half of its 18 makes an attempt. Tailbacks Damien Harris, Bo Scarbrough and Josh Jacobs every had solely six carries.
Auburn: Continued its revival from early and midseason struggles. Held onto the ball for 36 minutes and 78 performs.
Alabama gamers figured they might have solidified a playoff spot with yet another win. Now they’ve to attend and hope for an invitation that is removed from sure.
“We’ll be taught from this,” Hurts stated. “It is humbling. The unlucky factor about that (playoff) is it is not in our fingers. You win out and also you win video games, you understand you are in. We’ll see what occurs.”
Alabama should hope for assist to make one other playoff journey whereas ready to be taught its bowl vacation spot.
Auburn faces the Bulldogs in a rematch of its 40-17 win on Nov. 11.
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