No. 1-ranked Alabama hosted Auburn on Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Here are four key questions the Crimson Tide answered in this rivalry matchup:
1. Will Tua Tagovailoa have an Iron Bowl moment?
Can an entire game be a moment? Alabama’s sophomore quarterback from Hawaii didn’t dazzle in the first half, running for one touchdown and passing for another. He lit Auburn up in the second half. Tagovailoa passed for four touchdowns after intermission and finished with 324 yards through the air while playing a shade over three quarters.
2. What about the running game?
Auburn brought a middle-of-the-SEC run defense and Alabama had trouble cracking it. The Crimson Tide had a few bright moments in the ground game, but didn’t really take physical command of the line of scrimmage the way it wanted. Alabama gained 123 rushing yards on 26 carries.
3. Can Alabama beat up Jarrett Stidham?
The Crimson Tide averages more than three sacks per game, third-best in the SEC and sixth-best in the country, but mostly elected to play coverage rather than bring maximum pressure. It kept Auburn from sustaining a passing offense, although the Tigers managed a few big plays. Alabama finished with three sacks.
4. Does Alabama stay on track to play for another national title?
Only Georgia stands between Alabama and the likely top seed in the College Football Playoff. Alabama closed out the regular season undefeated at 12-0 and plays the once-beaten Bulldogs in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta next weekend. The Tigers were able to hang for a half, but no more than that.