Auburn football: 3 reasons the Tigers are going to end Alabama's Playoff bid
Auburn. Alabama. The Iron Bowl.
Yes, it doesn’t get any bigger or better than when the Tigers and Crimson Tide face off in the last game of the season. With Auburn out of the College Football Playoff race, Gus Malzahn’s team is set up to be spoilers to the Crimson Tides’ chances of reaching the Final Four for the 6th consecutive season.
Will Auburn pull it off? Here are 3 reasons the Tigers will upset the Tide in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
1. Defense gets to Mac Jones
Jones is a good quarterback, but he has yet to face a defense like the Tigers’. Kevin Steele’s unit is allowing just 16.2 points per game and can keep Auburn in a game. Derrick Brown, Marlon Davidson and the other linemen should be able to get in his face early and often, forcing the redshirt junior to make quicker than normal decisions.
Auburn already has shut down Jake Fromm and slowed down Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow. All 3 of those guys could be in the NFL next season.
A lot is riding on the right arm of Jones. The pressure, especially in an intimidating environment, might be too much.
2. Malzahn needs this one
It is eerie how the coach comes through with a big win when it is absolutely needed for him to save his job, and this is one of them. Losing to Georgia and Alabama for the 5th time in 6 years wouldn’t go over well with the fan base. Malzahn came through with a big win over LSU in 2016 and then got the big extension in 2017 after defeating the Bulldogs and Tide.
A win would bring some goodwill for Malzahn. He might finally throw caution to the wind (hey, there’s that phrase again) and open up the offense. Speaking of …
3. Time for offense to shine
Bo Nix, more than likely, will not be asked to do as much as he was against Georgia, so it will come down to the rushing attack of Boobie Whitlow and D.J. Williams to step up and carry the load. Granted, it won’t be easy against the Tide’s defensive front, but for the first time, both of the backs are healthy and that is a two-headed monster that many teams can’t put out there on the field.
This is the final game of the season, and a lot is on the line. Nix will make a couple of special throws to keep the ‘Bama defense honest and the running game will be there for the Tigers.