The Alabama Crimson Tide opened the Iron Bowl in ideal fashion, banging out a seven-play, 71-yard drive for a touchdown. RB Mark Ingram took the final handoff nine yards up the middle for the score, his 11th of the season. The Tide never faced a third down, with their worst distance coming on a second and three near midfield.
The Auburn Tigers responded with a three-and-out despite a five-yard penalty on the Tide for having 12 players on the field. QB Cam Newton dove for about four yards, but RB Michael Dyer was stuffed at the line twice. This is the first time Auburn’s first drive has failed to earn a first down or touchdown in over a month, since the Oct. 23 game against the LSU Tigers.
Two plays later, QB Greg McElroy found WR Julio Jones streaking wide open for a 68-yard touchdown. Both of Auburn’s safeties failed to notice a top-ten draft pick sprinting past is a mystery, demonstrating how much respect the Tide’s ground game has earned.
Auburn has trailed by two scores only a few times this season, most recently in their home win over the Georgia Bulldogs. Gene Chizik is not in the holiday spirit.