TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Bryce Young passed for 343 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another score in perhaps his final home game for No. 8 Alabama, leading the Crimson Tide past Auburn 49-27 in Saturday’s Iron Bowl.
Alabama (10-2, 6-2 Southeastern Conference, No. 7 CFP) reached double digits in wins for a 15th consecutive season despite being unable to fulfill those ever-present national title aspirations.
The Tigers (5-7, 2-6) were trying to ensure bowl eligibility and salvage a disappointing campaign that included the Oct. 31 firing of coach Bryan Harsin.
Young, a junior, completed 20 of 30 passes with an interception and ran for 48 yards. The 2021 Heisman Trophy winner is projected as a high NFL draft pick if he leaves early, as is Tide All-America linebacker Will Anderson Jr., who had a fourth-quarter sack to help stall a late Auburn drive.
Auburn ran for 318 yards, its most against Alabama since gaining 355 in 1983. But the Tigers’ passing game was pretty much nonexistent. Quarterback Robby Ashford became the first Auburn player to run for two touchdowns in the Iron Bowl since Carnell Williams — now the Tigers’ interim coach — in 2003.
Ashford gained 121 yards on the ground but passed for just 77, though that included a pretty much perfect 20-yard touchdown pass to J’aVarrious Johnson in the right corner of the end zone.
Jarquez Hunter ran 11 times for 134 yards but also lost a fumble.
Williams and Auburn settled for two field goals in the fourth quarter and gave up a late touchdown run by Jahmyr Gibbs.
For Auburn, the week was dominated by speculation about who athletic director John Cohen would hire to replace Harsin. The most talked-about candidate, Mississippi’s Lane Kiffin, said he’s staying put. Liberty’s Hugh Freeze said after his team’s regular-season finale Saturday he hadn’t been offered the job but confirmed his interest.
“The part that’s false is there’s been no offer made to me, nor have I accepted anything,” Freeze said.
Auburn: Finished 2-2 under Williams, who had been the running backs coach. Saturday’s miscues included a muffed punt and a fumble when Hunter bumped into a teammate downfield. Both set up Alabama touchdowns.
Alabama: Won fairly easily but still didn’t look like a College Football Playoff-caliber team, getting gashed defensively on the ground and without many big plays on offense.
Auburn waits for its new head coach.
Alabama awaits its bowl destination, hoping to make a New Year’s Six game.