IRON BOWL 2017: What time does No. 1 ranked Alabama head to play the Auburn Tigers on Saturday
Published 12:23 am Saturday, November 25, 2017
Courtesy of CBS Sports-
Alabama: While the Crimson Tide will head to The Plains with an unblemished record, there are questions abound. Middle linebackers Shaun Dion Hamilton and Mack Wilson were injured vs. LSU earlier this month, outside linebackers Christian Miller and Terrell Lewis have been out since the season-opener, do-everything safety Minkah Fitzpatrick is battling a hamstring injury and offensive guard Ross Pierschbacher hurt his ankle two weeks ago. Of those players, only Fitzpatrick is a certainty to play, with Miller and Pierschbacher being behind him in the pecking order. The Tide running backs, led by Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough, have been fantastic this year, and will have to establish the run along with quarterback Jalen Hurts.
Auburn: The Tigers defensive front owned Georgia two weeks ago — specifically on third down. They’ll have to slow down the Tide running game and force them into third-and-long situations to have the best chance to win on Saturday afternoon. On the offensive side, running back Kerryon Johnsonhas evolved as not only a true every-down back, but a Heisman Trophy candidate after racking up 1,172 yards and 16 touchdowns despite missing two games. Johnson, slot weapon Eli Stove and quarterback Jarrett Stidhamwill have to mix things up on first down in order to prevent Auburn’s offensive line from being exposed in obvious passing downs.
Give me the Tigers to not only cover, but win outright. The defensive front has been solid all year long, and the Tide offensive line will struggle to hold them back. The Tigers own third-and-long situations, and will be forced into them often. The Tigers offense will stress Alabama’s thin linebacking corps with pre-snap eye candy, Johnson’s success between the tackles and outside, and an intermediate passing game that, very quietly, has been more present over the last month of the season. Tiger kicker Daniel Carlson will put the Tigers over the top and send them to Atlanta with a late field goal to seal a 31-28 win. Pick: Tigers (+4.5)