Auburn at Alabama

Hurts, No. 1 Alabama race past No. 16 Auburn, 30-12

By JOHN ZENOR
AP Sports Writer
  •  

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) Alabama's defense still seems to have a wall erected at the goal line, and Jalen Hurts remains unflappable enough to shrug off mistakes.

The combination has been good enough every time so far.

Hurts rebounded from two early interceptions to pass for 286 yards and the top-ranked Crimson Tide's defense did the rest in a 30-12 victory Saturday over No. 16 Auburn to finish an undefeated regular season.

''We have bigger goals in mind,'' tight end O.J. Howard said.

The Tide (12-0, 8-0 Southeastern Conference, No. 1 CFP) led just 13-9 at halftime, dominating the stat sheet but only taking over the scoreboard in the second half. The defense pushed its string of quarters without allowing a touchdown to 14-plus and shut down the league's top running game.

Auburn (8-4, 5-3, No. 15) failed to muster much offense for the second straight SEC game. This time the Tigers were playing without injured quarterback Sean White and unable to reach the end zone despite starting several drives in Alabama territory.

''We had some really, really challenging field position situations in this game, and our players responded really well to it,'' Alabama coach Nick Saban said.

Hurts displayed the same poise in overcoming two first-half interceptions that has helped him lead the Tide into the SEC championship game. He completed 27-of-36 mostly short and mid-range passes and threw for two touchdowns. Alabama has won three straight Iron Bowls for the first time since 1990-92.

''At halftime, I guess everybody thought I was going to throw a fit, but I told them, `Look guys, all we've got to do is go out there and play with some poise and confidence,''' Saban said.

Hurts also ran for 37 yards and a touchdown, leading two straight touchdown drives in the third quarter to all but put the game away after a mistake-filled first half.

He ran for a 4-yard score on a drive sparked by four Bo Scarbrough runs. On a fourth-and-4 play, he hit ArDarius Stewart, who spun away from a defender and made another move downfield en route to a 38-yard touchdown and a 27-9 lead.

Stewart gained 127 yards on 10 catches and completed a 12-yard pass. Scarbrough ran for 90 yards, including 83 after the half.

Auburn's Jeremy Johnson, who started the second straight game in White's place, completed 4 of 13 passes for 34 yards. John Franklin III connected on two downfield passes in the second half that totaled 85 yards. The Tide dominated in total yards, 501-182.

Daniel Carlson connected on four field goals for Auburn.

''Offensively, we just didn't get first downs, we just didn't get it done,'' Tigers coach Gus Malzahn said. ''Two of 12 on third downs, I really think that caused the problem. Third downs, didn't hit explosive plays, defense was on the field too long was really the story of the day.

''Obviously we've got players in there that are hurting, coaches that are hurting, this is a tough one.''

THE TAKEAWAY

Auburn didn't get a first down until nearly 25 minutes into the game and continues to have no passing game without a healthy White. Leading rusher Kamryn Pettway ran 12 times for just 17 yards after missing the past two games with a leg injury. The Tigers managed 66 rushing yards after coming in averaging a league best 298.

Alabama still has to get more offense in the downfield passing game but remains dominant on defense.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Alabama seems unlikely to drop from No. 1 in AP poll or playoff rankings, but No. 2 Ohio State could at least close ground after a double-overtime win over No. 3 Michigan. Auburn could fall from the top 20 after a second straight punchless offensive performance in SEC games.

TARGETING

Defensive back Tony Brown was ejected for targeting for a block thrown on a punt return. He'll be available against Florida.

FAREWELLS

Alabama's senior class finished its final home game with a 49-5 record so far.

UP NEXT

Auburn awaits its bowl destination.

Alabama faces No. 13 Florida in the SEC championship game for the second straight year.

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More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Scoreboard
Auburn #13  (8-4)363012
Alabama #1  (12-0) «10314330
Players of the Game
Tigers

E. Stove
Rec 4
Yds 87
Avg 21.8
TD 0
Crimson Tide

J. Hurts
Att 36
Comp 27
Yds 286
TD 2
Scoring Summary
AUBURNDaniel Carlson 42 yd FG
BAMAAdam Griffith 29 yd FG
BAMADamien Harris 17 yd pass from Jalen Hurts (Adam Griffith kick)
AUBURNDaniel Carlson 52 yd FG
AUBURNDaniel Carlson 39 yd FG
BAMAAdam Griffith 25 yd FG
BAMAJalen Hurts 4 yd run (Adam Griffith kick)
BAMAArDarius Stewart 38 yd pass from Jalen Hurts (Adam Griffith kick)
AUBURNDaniel Carlson 27 yd FG
BAMAAdam Griffith 34 yd FG
 
Team Stats
 AUBURNBAMA
First Downs726
Third Down Efficiency2-128-16
Fourth Down Efficiency0-12-2
Plays-Net Yards45-18281-501
Rushes-Yds26-6644-203
Passing Yds116298
Kick Return Yds3462
Punt Return Yds580
Passes7-19-128-37-2
Punts4-1572-79
Fumbles-Lost0-04-0
Penalties-Yds4-194-28
Time of Poss.19:3140:29
 
Individual Stats
RUSHING
AUBURN: Kerryon Johnson 8-39, Kamryn Pettway 12-17, John Franklin III 3-14, Jeremy Johnson 2--1, Team 1--3
BAMA: Bo Scarbrough 17-90, Damien Harris 9-47, Jalen Hurts 12-37, Joshua Jacobs 5-32, Team 1--3
PASSING
AUBURN: Jeremy Johnson 4-13-34-0, John Franklin III 2-4-85-0, Chandler Cox 1-2--3-1
BAMA: Jalen Hurts 27-36-286-2, ArDarius Stewart 1-1-12-0
RECEIVING
AUBURN: Eli Stove 4-87, Will Hastings 1-27, Jason Smith 1-5, John Franklin III 1--3
BAMA: ArDarius Stewart 10-127, O.J. Howard 5-45, Calvin Ridley 5-44, Damien Harris 3-22, Trevon Diggs 2-10, Joshua Jacobs 1-30, Gehrig Dieter 1-12, Cam Sims 1-8
 
Standings
TeamStandingsConferenceOverall
Auburn2nd SEC West5-38-5
Alabama1st SEC West8-014-1

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