No. 6 Auburn beat No. 1 Alabama in Saturday’s Iron Bowl at Jordan-Hare Stadium, 26-14. The Tigers used a second-half surge to put away the Tide and win their first game in this rivalry since 2013. The play that finished it off, formally:
That’s Bama QB Jalen Hurts passing the line of scrimmage and throwing an illegal forward pass that fell incomplete on fourth-and-22 to seal the game. Hurts’ entire body appeared to be beyond the line by the time he released the ball. Not that it mattered. Auburn won decisively anyway. (Hurts also threw beyond the line of scrimmage on the last play of the game a few minutes later.)
Auburn continued an improbable College Football Playoff run. The Tigers clinched the SEC West and will play Georgia next weekend for the SEC title. A win there — less than a month after Auburn destroyed UGA at Jordan-Hare Stadium — would put the two-loss Tigers in the Playoff. For their part, the Tide still have a chance to make the field with one loss, but they no longer control their postseason fate.
Auburn led 10-7 at halftime. Alabama quickly pulled ahead with a Bo Scarbrough touchdown run early in the third quarter before the Tigers responded with a field goal.
Auburn then pulled away in impressive fashion down the stretch. Touchdowns by Kerryon Johnson and Jarrett Stidham provided the Tigers separation.
The game turned wild late with near-touchdowns on ricochets and even routine 1-yard dive play touchdowns taking weird twists. Alabama botched snaps on two consecutive plays at one point, including one on fourth down. The Tide got bailed out of the latter failure because Auburn had too many players on the field before Auburn forced a turnover on downs on the next play anyway. It was a bananas second half, mostly because Alabama looked so little like Alabama.
The Tide and Tigers have now played 82 times, including every year since 1948. The Tide entered Saturday with a 45-35-1 record in the series. This is a hateful rivalry, and it’s massive every year, no matter how good the respective teams are.
But it was especially big this year, with the SEC West and all kind of Playoff stuff hanging in the balance. Both of Auburn’s national championships have come after Iron Bowl wins, as have 10 of the 16 titles claimed by Alabama. Neither program has ever gone on to win the title after losing the Iron Bowl. Five Heisman winners have played in it.
Alabama entered on a three-game series winning streak. The Tide’s last loss was in 2013, when Auburn defensive back Chris Davis returned a missed field goal for a game-winning touchdown on the last play. That game slotted in fourth on SB Nation’s fan ranking of 25 most-beloved games of the century.
Auburn’s now broken the drought that had persisted since then. The Tigers just got the biggest win of the year, and they’re in the thick of a title chase.