That should make those “self-absorbed” Alabama fans happy.
In the first Iron Bowl overtime in history, No. 3 Alabama came back to beat unranked, 19-point underdog Auburn, 24-22, in four overtimes Saturday night at Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium.
“Wow, what a game,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “I can’t put into words. The way the guys kept fighting. I’m so proud of them. It’s unbelievable.”
Saban lashed out at Alabama fans on his radio show Wednesday night after a caller said his team was not beating some teams by enough points. Obviously angry, Saban referred to fans of that ilk as “self-absorbed.”
There seemed to be no unhappy fans after this win – Alabama’s first in Jordan-Hare since 2015.
“It feels really good to come back and get a win,” Saban said.
Alabama quarterback Bryce Young hit a two-point conversion pass to wide receiver John Metchie III in the fourth overtime for the victory. Defensive back Kool-Aid McKinstry had previously broken up a pass from Auburn quarterback TJ Finley to wide receiver Shedrick Jackson on Auburn’s two-point conversion attempt, and Alabama took over.
“It was a great comeback,” Saban said. “There were many times we could have thrown in the towel. It’s the feeling of being on a team, the togetherness, the trust they have in each other to got out at the end and win the game.”
According to new NCAA rules for this season, teams start the third overtime by going for two.
After a 10-10 tie in regulation, Alabama had possession first in overtime and took a 17-10 lead on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Young to wide receiver Slade Bolden. Auburn answered with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Finley to tight end Landen King, who made a one-handed catch for a 17-17 tie.
Auburn took a 20-17 lead on a 49-yard field goal by Ben Patton. Will Reichard followed with a 37-yard field goal to tie it 20-20.
Alabama (11-1, 7-1 SEC) trailed all game before tying it 10-10 on a 28-yard touchdown pass from Young to wide receiver Ja’Corey Brooks with 24 seconds to play in regulation. Brooks caught the ball just inbounds, but it was reviewed to see if he maintained control of the ball as he fell. The touchdown stood. Will Reichard’s extra point was good. And Auburn (6-6, 3-5 SEC) ran out the clock to force the first overtime in the history of the Iron Bowl.
Auburn’s defense stuffed an Alabama fourth-and-one play on the Alabama 46-yard line with two minutes to play in the game and looked in control until Alabama’s final drive.
The Crimson Tide started very slow on offense and didn’t score its first points until a 30-yard field goal by Reichard with 8:44 to go in the fourth quarter.
After a scoreless opening period, Finley put the Tigers up 7-0 on a 15-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kobe Hudson with 6:50 to go in the second quarter. That stood as the first half ended. It marked the first time Alabama did not score in the first half of an Iron Bowl since a 9-0 loss in 2000.
Auburn made it 10-0 on a 33-yard field goal by Patton with 11:43 to go in the third quarter.
Young finished 25-of-51 passing for 317 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. Auburn sacked him seven times and recorded eight quarterback hurries. Finley was also pressured throughout the night as he was sacked six times. He completed 17 of 26 passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns.
Alabama plays No. 1 Georgia (12-0, 8-0 SEC) in the SEC Championship Game at 3 p.m. Saturday on CBS in Atlanta.
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