January 18, 2022

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Takeaways from the Iron Bowl loss to Alabama

That was a crazy game.

So much ridiculousness that it needed four overtime sessions to fit it all in. Despite having a 10-0 lead, Auburn fell to the Crimson Tide 24-22 in the only Iron Bowl to ever go to overtime.

Auburn was a three-score dog everywhere you looked and the defense put on an incredible display of controlled aggression and execution but eventually out of gas.

Bryan Harsin’s first Iron Bowl was a success in terms of getting his team ready. He was down his starting quarterback in Bo Nix, a key defensive leader with Owen Pappoe, and starting kicker Anders Carlson. No one gave Auburn a shot but he showed that despite the talent gap, his team belongs in the greatest rivalry in all of sports, the Iron Bowl.

There are a million thoughts I could write about the game but here are a few takeaways.

Bryan Harsin understood what this game means

© Gary Cosby / USA TODAY NETWORK

Harsin has been labeled as an outsider and a guy that doesn’t “get it” by many folks in media around the country.

He understood the magnitude of this game and kept his team close. Still, he may not know how much this is going to hurt the fanbase for a while.

Auburn would have won with Bo nix

© Jake Randall / USA TODAY NETWORK

Auburn only needed a little bit of offense in the second half. They had virtually none.

Nix would have pushed the Alabama defense a little bit more and kept the offense on the field a little bit longer.

Heck, a healthy TJ Finley would have probably been enough.

Total plays

Gary Cosby / USA TODAY NETWORK

Auburn’s offense ran 66 total plays. Alabama ran 88. The Auburn defense ran out of gas by the end of the game.

I feel for Tank Bigsby

AP Photo/Butch Dill

In Auburn’s final drive of regulation, the Tigers just needed to kill the clock. Auburn’s star running back just needed to go down and run off another 40 seconds or force Alabama to use a timeout. Instead, he ran out of bounds. On the following play, Auburn threw an incomplete pass. Clock stopped.

Sadly for Bigsby, this will be the talking point from a lot of fans for the next several weeks.

Roger McCreary was incredible

Gary Cosby / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Auburn defensive back put on one of the best performances that I have ever seen.

He had seven tackles and was credited with four pass breakups against one of the best offenses in the country.

He impacted other throws as well.

Derick Hall played the game of his life

Gary Cosby / USA TODAY NETWORK

Hall played out of his mind. He had six tackles and three sacks. He put it all on the field. The CBS broadcast showed him taking a knee after the game. He truly left it all on the field.

The new overtime rules aren’t great

AP Photo/Vasha Hunt

It was a national storyline when Illinois and Penn State went to a historic seven overtimes. This wasn’t much better.

I haven’t seen anyone who likes the new overtime rules. I’m sure they are there, I just haven’t seen it.

This is going to sting for a while

Gary Cosby / USA TODAY NETWORK

I’m already seeing Auburn fans compare the feeling from this loss to the 2013 national championship loss against Florida State.

Auburn had hope. Many say, “It’s the hope that kills you.” Auburn had it. Auburn believed.

We will talk all off-season about the future and I think this is a good sign for Auburn. It’s good to have hope. Because, as Ted Lasso would say, “It’s the lack of hope that kills.”

Takeaways from Auburn football’s loss in the Iron Bowl