The Iron Bowl, Auburn vs. Alabama, let's talk about an intense football game.
If you thought Gene Chizik's Tigers were going to take this meeting lying down, you were sadly mistaken. Chizik's Tigers are 10th in the SEC in regards to rushing defense, but don't tell Mark Ingram that.
The Tigers are also capable of racking up the points, they crank out about 34 per game compared to Alabama's 32.3, the stage was set for "one for the ages". It was going to be interesting/exciting to see how these two bitter rivals would fair out.
As far as down-south in-state grudge matches are concerned, this one takes the cake, it's football in it's purest form.
The rivalry between the Tigers and Crimson Tide goes all the way back to 1893, it's one of the most storied of it's kind in college football. The Tide currently own the all time series, 40-33-1, thanks to a thrilling fourth quarter drive led by Greg McElroy, Trent Richardson, and Julio Jones. Breathe 'Bama fans, breathe!
7:03, that relatively small chunk of time was the difference. 15 plays and 79 yards, the charge that has already been coined "The Drive", will live forever in Iron Bowl lore.
The Auburn Tigers came into their clash with The Pride of Tuscaloosa with a record of 7-4, looking to play the role of "BCS Buster", at least that's what the likes of Cincinnatti, TCU, and Boise State were hoping for.
Mark Ingram and his 'Bama boys were bent on keeping the Tide rolling along, holding their perfect record intact going into the SEC Championship against the Tebow-led Gators on Saturday, December 5th.
As the Heisman hype came to a head at Jordan-Hare Stadium, all eyes were on Mark Ingram. Ingram had designs of bolstering his Heisman numbers, but the Auburn defense felt the need to show Mr. Ingram how good they really were, ensuring that their unit wouldn't be featured in any YouTube videos promoting the sophomore for the coveted honor.
Number 22 carried the ball 16 times for 29 yards, averaging a meager 1.9 yards per amble. The Tiger defense shut Ingram down time and time again, forcing Nick Saban to utilize freshman running back Trent Richardson.
A Saban-led squad is typically no one-trick-pony, without Mr. Everything; Mark Ingram, Alabama will continue to win. Trent Richardson proved that with his impressive post Turkey Day performance. Richardson had 51 yards on the ground with a touchdown with 30 yards receiving, but it was 'Bama's use of him in the fourth quarter that proved to be the equalizer.
Saban's Tide were given all that they could stomach in the street fight with the Tigers, having to sneak away with their second nail biter of the year. The Tide faithful had their fingers crossed as they witnessed another "Tennessee" session. Close games aren't something that McElroy and friends are accustomed to, they haven't had the need to be. Alabama puts up just about 32 points per contest while surrendering just 9.9, second only to the Florida Gators' 9.8 ppg.
One thing that 'Bama can take away from this barn-burner with Auburn is this: 1.)They know that they can find ways to win with or without Mark Ingram, 2.)Trent Richardson is one hell of a freshman, 3.)Julio Jones DOES answer the call afterall.
A close call by the likes of Auburn isn't a surprise, perhaps it's an eye opener. Tebow and Florida will require a "perfect" game, no mistakes. Consider the Iron Bowl a primer for the game your team will be up against next Saturday, the one where you'll tangle with Superman for all the marbles.
The Tide remain untouched as they head into their date with destiny in the Georgia Dome;a soiree with Urban Meyer's Florida Gators, mano a mano, face to face, you get the picture. It's this year's "Game of the Century".