Alabama shows why it's No. 1 in Iron Bowl demolition of No. 22 Auburn

Nick Bromberg
·3-min read

Yeah, Alabama’s the No. 1 team in the country.

The Crimson Tide (8-0) were No. 1 in the first College Football Playoff rankings of the season on Tuesday and backed up that ranking with a 42-13 win over No. 22 Auburn in the Iron Bowl on Saturday.

Auburn (5-3) did nothing to threaten Alabama at all. It was a clear sign of things to come for the Tigers when Mac Jones found DeVonta Smith for a 66-yard TD pass to open the scoring when Auburn’s secondary completely forgot to cover the receiver with the most touchdown catches in Alabama history.

The Tide went up 14-0 early in the second quarter before Auburn kicked a field goal. Auburn got another field goal to start the third quarter but then Alabama reeled off 21 consecutive points to turn a casual win into a blowout.

And that blowout probably made it a little easier for Nick Saban to watch the game at home. Saban missed a game for the first time in his Alabama career on Saturday after he tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week. Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian served as the Tide’s interim coach in Saban’s absence.

“It was difficult but I’m really happy with the result,” Saban told CBS after the game of his experience watching from home.

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 28: Mac Jones #10 of the Alabama Crimson Tide throws a pass against the Auburn Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 28, 2020 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by UA Athletics/Collegiate Images/Getty Images)
Mac Jones threw for five TDs on Saturday. (Photo by UA Athletics/Collegiate Images/Getty Images)

Mac Jones shines again

Jones was 18-of-26 passing for 302 yards and threw five touchdowns. Smith and John Metchie caught two touchdowns each while sophomore tight end Jahleel Billingsley caught the other.

Smith finished the game with seven catches for 171 yards. He now has 34 career TDs, three more than any other Alabama receiver.

RB Najee Harris rushed for 96 yards on just 11 carries and also scored a rushing touchdown.

This is an offense that was terrifying with Jaylen Waddle, a man who was one of the best wide receivers in college football in 2020. And it’s still terrifying while Waddle is sidelined because of a right ankle injury he suffered against Tennessee.

Alabama hasn’t scored fewer than 40 points since the first game of the season. And that opening game was an easy 38-19 win over Missouri. With LSU on deck before the SEC title game on Dec. 19, it’s hard to see how the points-scoring streak doesn’t go on for at least another week.

Alabama’s defense continues to clamp down

Remember when there was some worry about Alabama’s defense after the Crimson Tide gave up 48 points to Ole Miss? The Crimson Tide have given up 57 points in five games since that Ole Miss win. The biggest point total in that span is the 24 Georgia scored in a comfortable 41-24 win for the Tide in October.

Auburn didn’t do anything on offense until a 96-yard drive in the fourth quarter when the game was way out of reach. Tigers QB Bo Nix threw two interceptions and Auburn averaged just over three yards per carry.

Even with the 48 points that Alabama gave up to Ole Miss, its defensive statistics are still scarily good. After the easy win over Auburn, Alabama has outscored its opponents by an average of 48.5-18.5 in 2020.

That’s 30 points per game. And the line between the Crimson Tide and LSU will probably be close to that ahead of the game next week given LSU’s struggles on defense.

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