Final: Alabama 42, Auburn 14
November, 26, 2011
By Edward Aschoff | ESPN.com
AUBURN, Ala. -- Alabama cruised past Auburn in the Iron Bowl with a 42-14 victory and seemed primed to return to the national championship.
Here's the instant analysis:
How the game was won: Alabama's offense did just enough in the first half to put this one away early, as the defense totally overwhelmed Auburn. The Tigers didn't score an offensive touchdown and were limited to just 140 total yards. Dee Milliner's 35-yard touchdown return on a Clint Moseley interception officially sealed the game to open the fourth quarter.
Stat of the game: Auburn had just five of its 10 drives go into Alabama territory on the night. It's longest amount of time on Alabama's side translated in 39 net yards and a turnover on downs.
Player of the game: Alabama running back Trent Richardson was looking to make a Heisman impression on national television and after a slow first half, he came out fresh and ready in the second. He racked up just 61 yards in the first half, but finished with 203 rushing yards, including a long of 57. His previous long against Auburn was just 7 yards. He also recorded a receiving touchdown.
Unsung hero of the game: The passing game was nearly perfect in the first half for the Crimson Tide and a big reason for it was the play of tight end Brad Smelley. In the first half, he caught six passes, five went for first downs and the other was a 35-yard touchdown. He didn't catch a pass in the second half, but led the game with 86 receiving yards.
What it means: With this win, we are all but assured a rematch between Alabama and LSU in the national championship. Alabama doesn't have to worry about playing in the SEC title game and risking a loss. The Tide is almost guaranteed a slot in the national championship and odds are that no matter what happens in Atlanta, LSU will follow.