Auburn vs. Alabama: Postgame Grades from the Tide's Win vs. Tigers

Sanjay KirpalaniNational Recruiting AnalystNovember 24, 2012

Auburn vs. Alabama: Postgame Grades from the Tide's Win vs. Tigers

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    The last time Alabama and Auburn met inside Bryant-Denny Stadium two years ago, Alabama suffered perhaps its most heart-wrenching defeat of the Nick Saban-era when its arch-nemesis rallied for a 28-27 victory.

    In a far cry from that thrilling chapter in Iron Bowl history, the Crimson Tide scored touchdowns on its first seven possessions en route to a 49-0 demolition of its in-state rivals. 

    The Tide thoroughly dismantled an overmatched Tigers squad from the opening kickoff and controlled the action in all three phases from start to finish. 

    How did the Tide’s individual units fare in the rout of the Tigers?

    Here is the final report card and player grades for Alabama in its win over Auburn.  

Quarterback

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    McCarron played a masterful game, and resembled the quarterback that helped Alabama look unbeatable through the first two months of the season.

    The junior went 15-of-21 for 216 yards and fired four touchdown passes—with three coming in a second quarter that saw Alabama put 28 points on the scoreboard. 

    Backup Blake Sims only threw one pass and was unable to lead the offense to any points.

    In fairness to him, the Tide seemed content to take the foot off the pedal when he entered the game. 

    Overall Grade – A 


Running Back

2 of 10

    From the outset of the game, it appeared that the offense was making a concerted effort to establish the ground game. 

    Eddie Lacy punctuated the Tide's opening drive with a two-yard touchdown, and managed to rack up 131 yards and two scores on 18 carries. 

    Lacy, and true freshmen T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake ran hard all afternoon and rarely went down upon first contact. 

    The only major gaffe by this unit was Drake’s red zone fumble in the third quarter that ended the Tide’s string of seven consecutive scoring drives.

    Overall Grade – A 

Wide Receiver

3 of 10

    The combo of Amari Cooper and Kevin Norwood proved to be impossible to stop for a beleaguered Tigers secondary. 

    Each playmaker was on the receiving end of beautifully executed, long play-action scoring strikes from McCarron and each found the end zone twice on the afternoon. 

    In particular, Cooper—who finished with five receptions for 109 yards—is blossoming into one of the nation’s top receivers despite this being his first season on the college level. 

    Whenever the Tide needed their receivers to come through, they were able to gain separation against the Tigers defensive backs and make plays when their numbers were called.   

    Overall Grade – B+


Tight End

4 of 10

    Senior Michael Williams recorded his only reception on the first play from scrimmage, which signaled the beginning and end for the his unit, as far as receptions in the passing game. 

    However, the tight ends were able to have a nice effort as blockers in the running game—especially in short-yardage situations in the red zone. 

    Overall Grade – B

Offensive Line

5 of 10

    The offensive line was perhaps the most dominant unit against Auburn—with the Tide racking up 483 yards of total offense on the afternoon.  

    McCarron was not sacked, rarely pressured and the Tide averaged nearly six yards per carry on the ground. 

    With its struggles on third-down against LSU and Texas A&M earlier this month fresh in their memories, Alabama was able to reverse that trend by converting 11-of-14 third-down attempts against the Tigers. 

    That success helped them dominate the time of possession and eventually wear down the Tigers in the trenches.

    Overall Grade - A


Defensive Line

6 of 10

    Facing a true freshman quarterback in Tigers’ starter Jonathan Wallace, the Tide was able to stunt the Tigers running game and force their offense into third-and-long situations.

    The results were about what one would expect against one of the nation’s top defenses.

    The Tigers had just seven first downs—including only two in the second half—while allowing two sacks and turning the ball over three times. 

    The Tide’s three-man front was active all game long, and dominated the Tigers up front—which contributed greatly to the Tide’s fourth shutout of the season.   

    Overall Grade – A 

Linebackers

7 of 10

    The linebackers were also active against the run and managed to contain Wallace while negating his potential threat as a mobile quarterback.

    Their play was instrumental in making the Tigers offense one-dimensional, with Trey Depriest and Nico Johnson each thriving against a run-heavy attack. 

    Adrian Hubbard—who had a sack and also forced a fumble—was another player that that Tigers had trouble accounting for.  

    After being burned in pass coverage against LSU and Texas A&M, the linebacker segment allowed only one reception by a tight end or running back against the Tigers.  

    Overall Grade - A

Secondary

8 of 10

    Wallace had a rough afternoon, completing just five-of-14 passes for 71 yards and failing to lead his offense to any points. 

    Tide safeties Robert Lester and Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix were able to pick off a pair of his passes, while corner Dee Milliner scooped up a fumble in the second quarter. 

    The Tigers completed only four passes to wide receivers.

    That stat indicates that when Wallace did have time to throw, there was rarely anyone open to throw to.   

    Overall Grade -  A 

Special Teams

9 of 10

    Aside from the kickoff coverage unit—which gave up an average of less than 19 yards per return on eight kickoffs—there was little work to be done for the special teams unit. 

    None of Auburn punter Steven Clark’s seven boots were able to be returned, and Tigers kicker Cody Parkey booted the opening kickoff out of the endzone. 

    Punter Cody Mandell averaged nearly 49 yards per punt on his two attempts—both in the fourth quarter—and his final one was downed at the one-yard line.

    The play of this unit put an exclamation point of a dominant effort in all three phases in this game.   

    Overall Grade – A 

Coaching

10 of 10

    With all of the noise surrounding Alabama’s new life in the national championship race dominating the pre-game chatter, Saban and his staff did a tremendous job of getting the team to focus all of their attention on defeating the Tigers.

    From the opening kickoff, the Tide erased any doubts of a potential upset bid by their most hated rivals. 

    The offense looked  balanced and machine-like and the defense was able to record its second consecutive shutout. 

    The win gave Alabama its fourth win over Auburn in the last five meetings, and more importantly, clinched the SEC West and a trip to face Georgia in next weekend’s SEC title game. 

    Overall Grade - A