Nick Saban calls Auburn's substitution 'unfair' on game-deciding play
Auburn’s substitution on a fourth down play with 1:06 remaining caught Alabama by surprise because the Tigers lined up their punter at wide receiver.
The idea was to keep Alabama punt returner Jaylen Waddle on the sideline, but when the Crimson Tide noticed it, they had a mass substitution, but ultimately they were flagged for too many men on the field. That allowed Auburn a first down because it was fourth down and 4, and the Tigers ran out the clock and won 48-45.
Saban on that last Alabama penalty: “I really feel it’s a pretty unfair play,” Matt Zenitz reported.
For his part, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn explained the events and admitted Auburn tried to goad Alabama into the substitution error, and it worked.
“We were trying to keep their punt returner off the field,” he said. “We put our punter at the X, and we were gonna shift to get a punt without him out there.”
Auburn lined up the punter at wide receiver to try to keep Waddle on the sideline. Bama noticed it late and took a penalty in the confusion. So simple, but so smart by Malzahn. Took the game straight out of Bama’s hands pic.twitter.com/u0g87fz7as
— Alex Kirshner (@alex_kirshner) December 1, 2019