The Iron Bowl returns as the 22nd ranked Auburn Tigers take to the road to face the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, at 3:30 p.m. eastern time Saturday afternoon. The Crimson Tide are favored big in this contest by 24.5 points, which is up from just 12.5 points at the opening. The total stands at 62.5 points, which is down from 60.5 points when the line opened.
Each of these teams enter this contest riding high as Auburn picked up its third straight win at home in their last outing versus the Tennessee Volunteers in addition to covering the spread for the third straight time, this time as ten point favorites. Undefeated Alabama has also been dominant throughout the season as they were able to destroy the Kentucky Wildcats at home in their last outing in addition to covering the spread as 31.5 point favorites, the fourth straight game that they covered the number. Important to note that the tigers are 4-3 against the number in 2020 while the Crimson Tide are 5-2 entering this contest.
And while the Crimson Tide is picked up wins (outright) in six of the last ten matchups versus their Southeastern Conference rival, it should be noted that Auburn has done well for themselves in picking up straight up wins in two of the last three meetings versus the Crimson Tide, including covering the number in two of those contests. On the other hand, Alabama has picked up wins in four straight meetings versus Auburn in Tuscaloosa, including covering the number in three of those matchups. Lastly, Alabama picked up a 52-21 win in 2018 at Bryant-Denny Stadium over the Tigers in addition to covering as 25.5 point favorites.
Tigers on a roll,,,,,,The Auburn offense has been able to increase its scoring average in 2022 to just under 29 points per game thanks to their performances in their last three outings. Most importantly, one can certainly contribute much of their resurgence to the rushing attack, which is putting up over 170 yards per game, ranking them 56 in the nation. Tank Bigsby has been the man for the Tigers as he has rushed for over 300 yards in the last four games for Auburn while posting five touchdowns during this time. However, the public has jumped on the side of the Crimson Tide after it was revealed that the running back is questionable for Saturday's contest with a hip injury.
His injury means that the team will have to rely on running back DJ WIlliams along with Shaun Shivers in the backfield, who accumulated a total of 131 yards rushing on 25 carries versus Tennessee, with Williams posting a rushing TD. Important to note, however , that Williams has just 16 rushes for 91 yards and a score in his last three games while Shivers has 183 yards in four games this season along with a touchdown run.
The absence of Bigsby also means that Bo Nix must also step up under center in order to ensure that the Tigers remain competitive in this contest. And while the signal-caller had a rough start to his 2020 campaign, he has since improved greatly in his last four games completing just under 70% of his passes while recording over 200 yards passing in each of those contests. On the other hand, Nix has posted six touchdown passes along with four picks during this time. Important to note that while Alabama has done well for themselves in stopping the run in ranking 26th in the nation while allowing less than 120 yards per game, their passing attack has proven to be a bit shaky.
One can certainly expect Nix and his top receiver Seth Williams, who has 563 yards along with three touchdowns, to test the Crimson Tide secondary early and often in this contest. It should be mentioned that receiver Anthony Schwartz along with Eli stove are also potential weapons on the outside as well for Auburn as they have racked up a total of six touchdowns on the year.
Defensively, Auburn is allowing just 22 points per game while having seven takeaways on the year, good for a top 40 ranking in the country. However, the Tigers have struggled within the trenches as they have not been able to consistently stop the run in allowing 165 yards per game. In fact, Auburn gave up 222 yards to a Tennessee Volunteers team that was just two and five on the season in their last outing. One can certainly expect for them to have a huge upfront versus Alabama as the Crimson Tide is also effective at moving the ball on the ground in accumulating 182 yards per game.
To make matters worse, linebacker KJ Britt is not due back in the lineup until early December due to a thumb injury. Nonetheless, Colby Wooden has really shined from his linebacker position in racking up 14 tackles along with 2.5 sacks while linebacker Owen Pappoe has been just as effective as he has 43 tackles on the year, an interception, along with two sacks. Defensive end Big Kat Bryant has also continued to improve as the season progresses. It should be mentioned that defensive tackle Daquan Newkirk recorded a sack versus the Volunteers as well while the defensive secondary continues to rely on defensive backs Roger McCreary, who has 26 tackles along with two interceptions on the season, along with Jamien Sherwood, who has 31 tackles along with a sack, to make big plays.
Crimson Tide ready for challengeAlabama can certainly separate themselves (even more) from the pack within the SEC West Division if they are able to pick up a win in this contest. And while they will take the field in this contest without receiver Jaylen waddle, who has 557 yards along with four touchdowns along with coach Nick Saban, who is under covvid 19 protocol yet again, Mac Jones and the passing attack will look too continue to be just as potent as the Crimson Tide simply destroyed Kentucky in their last outing as Jones went an efficient 16 - 24 for 230 yards along with two touchdown passes to leading receiver Devonta Smith. Important to note that Smith caught his 11th TD on the season and is only 97 yards away from a thousand yard receiving season.
Furthermore, the receiver has caught 140 yards or more in four of his last five games while also recording ten touchdowns during this time for an average of just under 14 yards per catch. Jones must continue to spread the ball around just as he has done throughout the season as he is completing over 77% of his passes for just under 2,500 yards, 18 touchdown passes alongside just three interceptions. In fact, in his last three outings, the quarterback has posted six touchdowns and just one pick . Alabama has really been effective within their passing attack versus Auburn’ defense in recent matchups as they posted 300 yards passing or more in three of their last four contests, including 335 yards and their most recent meeting.
Nonetheless, the rushing attack for Alabama has been just as potent with running back Najee Harris in the backfield, as he has not only rushed for just over a thousand yards this season, but also has 16 touchdowns as well. In fact, Harris had 13 rushes for 83 yards along with two rushing scores versus the Wildcats as he increased his average to just under six yards per carry in 2020. One can certainly expect for the Crimson Tide to look to dominate in the trenches early in this contest as Auburn has been very shaky in stopping opposing rushing attacks. Furthermore, with the Tigers dealing with injuries at the linebacker position, this will certainly be an area where Alabama will want to exploit.
Again, the Crimson Tide has certainly been able to stop the run thus far in the season , but has struggled a bit when defending the pass as they are allowing over 240 yards passing per game. Nonetheless, they are coming off a dominant performance versus the lowly Kentucky Wildcats as they gave up just 120 yards passing while also recording two sacks in the contest by linebacker Christian Harris along with Chase Allen . Important to note that Harris led the team with eight solo tackles versus the Wildcats while defensive back Jordan Battle recorded an interception , his first of the year. Defensive back Daniel Wright leads the team in interceptions, however, with two in addition to posting 27 solo tackles for the Crimson Tide. In all, the Alabama defense enters this contest very healthy and will seek to slow down an offense for Auburn that has been almost unstoppable in recent weeks.
Stats & Trends
- Tigers are 1 - 3 ATS in last 4 road games versus Crimson Tide
- Crimson Tide are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall
- Crimson Tide off 4-0 ATS in their last four games after accumulating more than 280 yards passing in their previous game
- Home team is 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings between the Tigers and Crimson Tide
One can certainly see why the line has increased from 12 points at the opening to almost 25 points for this contest. And while Alabama has done well for themselves in stopping the run this season, as stated, this means Auburn will find it much more difficult to open up their offense during this contest. Of course, the Tigers may still have some opportunities to go down field in this contest thanks to a shaky pass secondary for the Crimson Tide; Nonetheless, expect for Alabama to bring the pressure upfront in order to make the Tigers very much a one-dimensional team during this contest. With that being said, expect Alabama to roll as they will take the Iron Bowl for the fifth time in the last eight meetings amongst these two teams.