Instant analysis: Examining Auburn's performance in its Iron Bowl victory

Auburn Alabama

Auburn's Zakoby McClain with the interception he returned for a touchdown.

Postgame analysis of Auburn's 48-45 win over Alabama:


Unexpected offense

Auburn managed five touchdowns, four field goals, four extra points and a two-point conversion in a 48-45 win over rival Alabama.

Unexpected much? Uh, yes.

The definition of Auburn's offense has been stagnancy, a pinch of mediocrity with a dash of a little too late, otherwise known as starting too slow.

There was no change in this, as the Tigers were slow to get started. They did go 3-for-3 in the red zone. The defense pitched in a couple of pick-sixes, and Anders Carlson made four field goals.

Uneven defense

One of the major questions entering the 84th edition of the Iron Bowl was not just could Auburn's front play the dominant style of football it has been playing all year, but would that same front fluster Mac Jones enough to keep the ball away from Alabama's dangerous group of receivers.

Stopping the run wasn't easy for the Tigers. Najee Harris rushed for 146 yards for Alabama. To add insult to injury, Alabama's early rushing attack only set up a passing game that just became more dangerous as the game moved forward.

Ask Alabama receiver Jaylen Waddle, who finished with four catches for 98 yards and three touchdown catches. Henry Ruggs also caught a touchdown pass.

Not quite halftime

If you are looking for an explanation of what this game was, look no further than what transpired before the half.

You know, the part where JaTarvious Whitlow goes 17 yards on a reception from Bo Nix as the final seconds of the first half tick away, and time looks to expire as he's tackled to the ground, and half of Alabama's team jogs off the field into the tunnel?

But hold on, because time may have not expired, and Auburn runs its field goal team on the field and the referees call for a review — a review that determined there was a single second left on the clock giving Auburn a chance to line up for a 52-yarder with a suspect kicker.

Alabama's defense sprints back onto the field and Carlson nails that 52-yard attempt, hitting the ball with more confidence than he has any ball all year.

This kick was ultimately the difference in the final tally. To think it was a kick that could have never happened.

Chaos and deep confusion. That's the Iron Bowl for you.


Rushing offense — B-: The more touches Boobee Whitlow gets the better off this offense is. Five carries midway through the third is an unacceptable number. Some how Whitlow was still able to crack the 100-yard mark.

Rushing defense — C: Alabama's Najee Harris had roughly 100 yards rushing at the half. Auburn's front surprisingly struggled to slow down the Tide rushing attack.

Passing offense — C: Looked better as the game progressed, but they still struggled to complete the ball vertically consistently. Thus, Bo Nix's completion percentage suffered.

Passing defense — B: Was great at times, was exposed at times. Two interception returns for touchdowns bolstered this grade.

Special teams — C+: Too many big plays and chunk yardage given up by the kickoff team really sours this grade for the Tigers. But Anders Carlson's 52-yarder before half makes it a little better.

Coaching — C: This department was up and down much like the game. There were some good calls, there were some poor adjustments.

Overall — C+: Great game with up and down play, results in an overall grade that falls right in the middle.