Five quick hits from Alabama's 49-0 win over Auburn:
1. Alabama got off to a fast start—scoring seven touchdowns on seven possessions—and beat Auburn 49-0 Saturday in Tuscaloosa. This was the Crimson Tide’s fourth shutout of the season.
The last time Auburn (3-9, 0-8 SEC), who only had seven first downs, has gone winless in the SEC was 1980.
The Tide (11-1, 7-1) was up 14-0 by the end of the first quarter and 42-0 by halftime.
“We had a good plan,” head coach Nick Saban said of the quick start. “We went a little up-tempo to avoid having bad plays and everybody did a good job executing.”
Alabama’s senior class was honored before their last home game. After today’s win, this group has gone 47-5 (an Alabama record), has won at least 10 games every year and has two national titles to its name (and may be able to add a third).
”What a way to end it right there against our rivals Auburn,” said center Barrett Jones. “We beat them pretty good, so that was a lot of fun.”
Asked if the day could have gone any better, Jones said, “Probably not. We didn’t make many mistakes out there.”
2. In the month of November, Alabama had been very average on third down, converting only 42 percent of the time. But against Auburn, the Tide was 11-of-14 on third down.
“Time of possession is critical and I thought we did a really good job offensively today,” Saban said. “AJ [McCarron] was accurate with the ball, we did a good job of getting open and made some good catches. That was probably a real key ting for us to extend drives."
3. Alabama forced three turnovers and scored 14 points off them.
The first came in the second quarter when Robert Lester intercepted Jonathan Wallace and returned it 31 yards into Tiger territory. A.J. McCarron led a scoring drive that ended with a Kevin Norwood touchdown on the ensuing possession. A few minutes later, Nico Johnson forced a fumble and Dee Milliner picked up for a 17-yard return. McCarron found Amari Cooper for a 29-yard touchdown three plays later. The final turnover came when HaHa Clinton-Dix intercepted Wallace on a deep ball early in the fourth quarter.
4. Some bad news on the injury front. After the game, Saban said Kenny Bell broke his leg while blocking on a run by T.J. Yeldon in the second quarter. Bell will need a rod put in his tibia and is out 5-6 weeks. The wide receiving corps has taken quite a hit this season, having lost Chris Black (shoulder) before the season even started, then DeAndrew White (knee) in the middle of the season and several players have been on and off the injured reserve list.
Defensive lineman Brandon Ivory twisted his ankle, but should be OK.
5. And now, Alabama is officially off to Atlanta where it will face Georgia in the SEC Championship game. Winner goes to Miami for the national championship.
And with a blowout win like this, the Tide will ride the momentum into next week.
“It always helps when you get a win like this,” said Milliner. “It carries over to the next week. Hopefully we can keep it going to the next week at practice and in the game and just come out and compete like we did today.”
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