Football Drops Just Two Spots after Iron Bowl Loss

Nick Saban Lane Kiffin

If there's ever another game that the Crimson Tide hold the ball for 40 minutes or more, it is probably a safe bet they will win. That is to say, none.

Hurts is the first true freshman to start at quarterback for Alabama in the Iron Bowl, and while the sun was still up on Saturday afternoon, he played like it, alternating exuberant brilliance with infuriating misfires.

Here are five takeaways from Alabama's win at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Derek Mason got his team to 6-6, and that's a nice improvement, getting Vandy to a bowl for the first time since 2013. I'm glad we got last night's game over with.

Just kidding. But there is a point to make here.

Penn State edged No. 2 Ohio State for the East title, setting up a conference championship game against West victor Wisconsin next week in Indianapolis. If he can keep that up, Alabama will have a great shot at the title this year.

The fact that the streak almost ended back in September when the Tide trailed Ole Miss 24-3 in the first quarter seems as ancient as life before the internet. But the Bulldogs had Thomas covered, so Searcy took off through an opening up the middle, jumped at the 3 with the ball outstretched and managed to just get it over the goal line. That set up Auburn's first of four field goals. "We got the ball coming out of the half".

Auburn, without starting quarterback Sean White, stood no chance of a comeback. Fortunately, the defense held yet again and Auburn settled for it's second field goal. Saturday's game with Auburn was Alabama's 592nd all-time SEC game and the Tide has an official record of 394-167-20 (.682), accounting for forfeiture and vacated games. Ultimately, the Crimson Tide likely won't come anywhere remotely close to matching its 2011 output. All five of Auburn's first five possessions ended in three-and-outs, as the Tigers weren't able to convert their first first down until there was about six minutes left in the second quarter.

On its ensuing drive, Alabama pushed down the field and made it to the red zone before tying the game at 3 on a 29-yard field goal with 5:40 left in the first quarter. The updated time that has elapsed since Texas A&M scored a touchdown in the third quarter on October 22 is 267 minutes and 54 seconds.

But the Tide defense is more than an adamantine wall for offenses to try and penetrate: It is also a safety net for its offense. A lot has happened since then.

As intense as this rivalry is - second to none in any college sport - the Tigers ultimately were just another minor obstacle in the path of this Crimson Tide machine, which rolled along to its 24th consecutive victory.

So how do we measure this Alabama team?

As pointed out last week in a lethargic win over Chattanooga, Alabama doesn't seem as good on offense without Stewart. "You know, (we were) 2 of 12 on third downs, I really think that really caused the problem". Third downs, didn't hit explosive plays, defense was on the field too long was really the story of the day.

For the second time under Nick Saban, Alabama has finished a regular season undefeated. "I hate it when you put that on TV, radio, internet, any type of communication". "I am proud of our guys, the way they competed".

Saban, the master of playing the next play, doesn't venture down the legacy road very often.

Here's a look at how the SEC teams rank heading into Week 14 of the season, now that the games have been decided.

Sophomore tailback Damien Harris was more blunt.

"We just worry about the next game", linebacker Ryan Anderson said. "At the end of the day, it's a team game".

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