AUBURN — Placekicking has haunted University of Alabama football for years, particularly in its Iron Bowl series with Auburn. The 2019 edition was no different, as Joseph Bulovas’ miss off the left upright could have tied the game in the final minutes.
This season — and in this year’s Iron Bowl — the other team’s kicking has been just as haunting.
UA is one of just three teams to play its entire 2019 season without seeing an opponent’s field goal attempt miss the mark. That trend continued in the Iron Bowl: Auburn kicker Anders Carlson made field goals of 43, 52, 43 and 44 yards in the 48-45 win over Alabama. Clemson and Colorado State also saw their opponents make every field goal they attempted, but for Clemson it was eight and for Colorado State it was 15. For UA, it was 17.
Kaho’s new number
Sophomore linebacker Ale Kaho was in a New Jersey for the Iron Bowl, wearing No. 20 opposed to his usual No. 10.
The change was made so Kaho and quarterback Mac Jones could be on the field at the same time, as they were when Kaho was the fullback in UA’s I-Formation goal line package. When Jones was in the game and UA turned to that package previously, it would turn to tight end Giles Amos or others.
UA ran the package once against Auburn, in the middle of the third quarter.
Auburn has three players on the roster with West Alabama connections. Seth Williams (Paul W. Bryant) started at receiver. Russ Logan (Demopolis) is a freshman linebacker and Bill Taylor (Tuscaloosa County) is a sophomore long snapper.
Williams had three catches for 66 yards.
“Fun,” Williams said of the game. “I have never been a part of a game like that. Just to be able to come out like that and the energy of the crowd. It was a back and forth battle. It was just a fun game to be a part of.
Williams was particularly happy with Alabama’s missed field goal at the end of the game.
“I called it,” he said. “I knew it. I knew something crazy was going to happen. I told Matthew Hill that I knew something crazy was going to happen.”
Auburn was working on a nice opening drive when Shedrick Jackson appeared to make a big catch for a first down right around the Alabama 20-yard line but it was ruled incomplete. A review upheld the call.
Alabama had a touchdown wiped off the board on its first possession. Mac Jones hit Jaylen Waddle for a 37-yard touchdown pass, but a holding call negated it.
Alabama and Auburn combined for 41 points in a six-and-a-half minute span in the second quarter. Alabama led 10-7 when Smoke Monday returned an interception for a score with 6:36 left. Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle returned the kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown. The two teams traded scores and Auburn’s Anders Carlson hit a 52-yard field goal on the half’s final play for the 31-27 score.
Auburn had not allowed more than 24 points in a game all season. Alabama had 31 at halftime and finished with 45.
Edwin Stanton and Brett Hudson contributed to this report