Auburn football can't keep up with Alabama's high-powered offense in Iron Bowl loss
TUSCALOOSA — Auburn football struck first in this year's Iron Bowl, but it was Alabama that dominated throughout.
The Tigers (5-7, 2-6 SEC) fell to the Crimson Tide 49-27 on Saturday. It's the sixth consecutive time Auburn has left Bryant-Denny Stadium as the loser, as the Tigers haven't won in Tuscaloosa since Cam Newton's comeback in 2010.
Alabama (10-2, 6-2) has now won three straight Iron Bowls and 11 of the last 15.
Carnell "Cadillac" Williams fell to 2-2 as Auburn's interim coach. Nothing has been formally announced by the university, but it seems unlikely athletics director John Cohen is going to select Williams to be the program's full-time coach. He can be retained on the new coach's staff if he's not given the permanent position, but that decision is for whoever Cohen hires.
COACHING SEARCH:If Lane Kiffin stays at Ole Miss, where does Auburn coaching search turn next?
RECRUTING:Darron Reed, 4-star DL from Georgia, flips commitment from LSU to Auburn football
Alabama's quick-strike offense
After punting on its first possession and allowing Auburn to score first, the Crimson Tide responded with 21 unanswered points in 8:35.
The first touchdown on that sequence was set up by a 52-yard pass on a deep crossing route from quarterback Bryce Young to speedy wide receiver Jermaine Burton. Young had all day to throw, allowing Burton to sprint across the field and simply outrun the defensive back in coverage.
That play encapsulated Alabama's offense in the first half, especially in the opening quarter. Of the three touchdown drives in the first quarter, none lasted longer than three minutes and each went for 45 yards or more. The Crimson Tide averaged 9.2 yards per play in the first half and Young went into the locker room with 264 passing yards and three touchdowns.
The final score had a chance to be a lot closer.
Auburn registered six penalties in the first half, with five false starts committed by the offensive line. Clearly, the noise and raucous atmosphere in Bryant-Denny Stadium made a difference, but the penalties were killer for an Auburn team with a small margin for error.
There were other issues, too. Auburn fumbled away a possession on what had a chance to be a big play early in the game. Instead, Alabama took over and scored to extend its lead to 14 points. Another instance: Young and receiver Kendrick Law hooked up for a 39-yard gain on third-and-19, which a few plays later resulted in a touchdown for the Crimson Tide.
The Tigers needed to play near-perfect ball to beat Alabama and take advantage of any chances they had. It would've been tough to do, and ultimately didn't happen.
Ashford starts hot
Quarterback Robby Ashford had some plays Saturday that could potentially leave Auburn fans with optimism moving forward.
His most impressive play came with 9:34 left in the second quarter. He took the snap and had some space to scramble right, but rather opted to throw a pass 20 yards down the field to wide receiver Ja'Varrius Johnson in the end zone. Johnson, who ran a wheel route out of the slot, had a step on the cornerback assigned to him, but a safety was quickly closing the gap. Ashford dropped the ball exactly where it needed to be and Johnson was able to get a foot down before being ushered out of bounds.
Ashford's final stat line doesn't look great, but he started 8-of-10 for 60 yards and a touchdown through the air, and early on added 49 yards and an additional score on the ground.
Richard Silva is the Auburn beat writer for the Montgomery Advertiser. He can be reached via email at email@example.com or on Twitter @rich_silva18.
This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: Auburn football can't keep up with Alabama in Iron Bowl loss