Auburn vs. Alabama: Postgame Grades from the Tigers' Loss vs. Crimson Tide

Dan Kukla@@kooks13Correspondent IIINovember 24, 2012

Auburn vs. Alabama: Postgame Grades from the Tigers' Loss vs. Crimson Tide

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    No. 2 Alabama clinched the SEC West title and a spot in the conference championship game next weekend against Georgia with a dominant 49-0 win over Auburn in the Iron Bowl.

    The Tide completely rolled over the Tigers. They scored at will in the first half when the starters were still playing. Even the reserves ripped off a long drive. The defense forced three turnovers and five three-and-outs.

    It was a rough day all around for Auburn in Tuscaloosa. Let's take a look at the Tigers' final postgame grades and evaluations.

Quarterback

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    OVERALL GAME GRADE — D+

    Wallace made his first career road start in the Iron Bowl against the nation's No. 1 defense. That's a tough assignment, and it showed.

    The true freshman finished 5-of-14 for 71 yards, two interceptions and no touchdowns. He failed to lead Auburn on a single scoring drive in his fourth game as a starter, but he did make a few nice throws along the way.

    He moved the chains twice with a pair of clutch throws to Emory Blake on third-and long during Auburn's second drive of the game. His first throw of the second quarter also went for a first down. But Wallace's highlight of the game came on his first throw after leaving the game with an arm injury when he made a perfect pass to Emory Blake in between multiple defenders for 23-yards.

    The low lights included a pair of interceptions, both of which were his fault. A high throw in the second quarter was tipped by his outstretched receiver for an easy pick. The second turnover came on another deep ball that sailed well past its target to an Alabama defender.

    The play calling didn't give Wallace much of a chance to perform against 'Bama's backups in the fourth quarter as Auburn clearly wanted to end the game quickly with running plays. The Tigers didn't ask him to do much in this game, and he delivered.

Runningbacks

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    OVERALL GAME GRADE — F

    Auburn leaned on its runningbacks late as it tried to end the massacre as quickly as possible.

    Tre Mason led the Tigers in rushing with 82 yards on 21 carries for an average of 3.9 yards per carry. The backfield combined for 92 rushing yards on 32 attempts for an average of 2.9 yards per carry in addition to one catch for 11 yards.

    Mason helped generate a few first downs in the second half, but also coughed up a fumble. In the end, the runningbacks were relied on more than any other group in this offense that failed to produce any points and were graded accordingly.

Wide Receivers

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    OVERALL GAME GRADE — C-

    Emory Blake hauled in the only highlight produced by Auburn's offense all day, a 23-yard catch down the sideline between multiple Alabama defenders. He finished with three catches for 56 yards.

    Other than that, it was a very quiet day for Tiger receivers. C.J. Uzomah made the only other catch by a wide out for four yards.

    The play calling didn't give Auburn's receivers many chances to perform. There weren't any blatant drops, but the group also didn't do much to help out their freshman quarterback making his first career road start. Tipping up an overthrow to create an easy pick clearly hurt.

    Catching the easy ones while producing only one spectacular grab is an average performance at best.

Tight Ends

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    OVERALL GAME GRADE —F

    No Auburn tight end completed a catch. Not showing up to class will draw a failing grade every time.

Offensive Line

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    OVERALL GAME GRADE — F

    Much of Auburn's failure to score any points in the Iron Bowl will be placed on the skill players, but an equal share needs to go to the offensive line.

    Jonathan Wallace rarely had time to set up any pass plays of significant depth and took several sacks. The ground game was completely stymied in the first half and only found room to run once the Alabama starters were pulled.

    That's pretty much the epitome of failure up front.

Defensive Line

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    OVERALL GAME GRADE — F

    The Alabama offense completely rolled over Auburn. Everyone on the Tiger defense failed, but the linemen up front deserve the most blame.

    AJ McCarron had more than enough time to pick apart Auburn's secondary. Eddie Lacy averaged 7.3 yards per carry with 131 yards and two touchdowns. When he wasn't gashing the Tigers for big gains through enormous holes, he was routinely breaking tackles on the few plays that Auburn managed to get into the backfield.

    The lack of execution up front made it all too easy for Alabama to rip off seven consecutive touchdown drives. That is failure at its finest.

Linebackers

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    OVERALL GAME GRADE — F

    Auburn's defensive line gets the blame for regularly letting Eddie Lacy into the second level, but the Tiger linebackers get the blame for not stopping him there.

    The linemen up front weren't the only Tigers struggling to tackle, either. Alabama ran for 267 yards at an average of 5.7 yards per carry with three touchdowns.

    When an offense looks like it is playing its own scout team, that's a sure sign that all levels of the defense are failing.

Defensive Backs

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    OVERALL GAME GRADE — F

    AJ McCarron only completed 15 passes, but they all seemed to go for devastating gains as he piled up 216 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. Three of those scores came in the second quarter alone.

    Auburn's secondary failed on deep passes, allowing three touchdowns of at least 29 yards. It also failed in the redzone by allowing an easy pitch and catch for a seven-yard score on third down.

    The defensive line didn't help much by allowing McCarron so much time to throw, but the defensive backs didn't do their job either.

Special Teams

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    OVERALL GAME GRADE — D-

    Auburn avoided any disasters on special teams, but the performance was completely uninspiring. Steven Clark averaged 34.6 yards on seven punts. The kick returners averaged 18.5 yards on eight attempts.

     

    The unit was never better than average and often well below that mark. Clark twice completely shanked his punt, one of which only traveled 19 yards. His longest kick of the day went 42 yards as he managed punts of 40 yards or longer only twice.

     

    Alabama didn't make any punt returns, but that was mostly because Clarks's punts were so bad and not because the coverage was so good. Allowing a 'Bama punt to roll all the way to the one-yard line just added insult to injury.

     

    But all seven punts did get away and the returners never fumbled, so this unit didn't completely fail.

Coaching

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    OVERALL GAME GRADE — D

    Auburn was clearly not prepared to take on a power like Alabama and the play calling was rather cowardly in the fourth quarter. But the blame for this disaster is not on the coaches. Gene Chizik's hot seat is scorching right now, but he was always going to be sweating after this game unless the Tigers pulled off a miracle.

     

    The lopsided score didn't offer any chances for significant game-management decisions. Overall, this game was mostly uneventful from a coaching perspective. Chizik also earned some bonus points for showing class at the end of a disastrous first half when he still stopped for his on-field media interview on his way into the locker room.