TUSCALOOSA — The road to the SEC championship ran through Auburn’s football team in recent weeks, just not in a way the Tigers would’ve liked.
Following a 38-0 beatdown by SEC East champ Georgia (11-1) two weeks ago, Auburn (3-9) was the final bump in the road for West champ Alabama (11-1) Saturday afternoon in a 49-0 Iron Bowl rout that effectively showed the difference between the top of the conference and the bottom.
For fans, it must be hard to remember that at this time two years ago Auburn was gearing up for the SEC championship game en route to a BCS title and undefeated season. It hasn’t just been a drop. It’s been a cataclysmic collapse.
“That was a very disappointing and embarrassing loss to our in-state rival,” Auburn coach Gene Chizik said after the game. “It’s obvious to everybody it was a sad performance and Auburn fans and alumni don’t deserve that. We did all the classic things in a football game you can’t do to win it. We weren’t effective offensively, we weren’t efficient defensively and special teams were very sporadic as well. It pretty much speaks for itself. It was a very poor performance.”
Saturday, the Tigers looked as hapless as they have all year, finishing the season winless in conference play. From offense to defense to special teams, nothing seemed to work. Much like their meager win total this year, the Tigers ranked near the bottom in most offensive and defensive stats nationally, and that showed for four painful quarters as Auburn was eviscerated on both sides of the ball.
The porous defense gave up 483 yards and 11 of 14 third down conversions to the Tide, while the offense could only muster 163 total yards and just seven first downs.
If there was a bright spot, it was running back Tre Mason, who gained 88 yards on 21 carries.