In & around SEC football


Iron Bowl Recap 

Alabama won the highest scoring Iron Bowl in the history of the rivalry, 55-44, over Auburn last Saturday in Tuscaloosa. Auburn led early in the second half, 33-21, but the Crimson Tide scored touchdowns on five consecutive drives to end the game. The Tigers gained 630 yards of offense – the most given up in a single game by Alabama in school history. It wasn’t enough, however, and Auburn’s failures in the red zone were the difference in the game. Alabama held Auburn to five red zone field goals, and the Tigers were unable to run the ball successful inside the 20-yard line. 

Alabama quarterback Blake Sims threw three interceptions and was almost benched in favor of Jacob Coker, but eventually Sims settled in and played extremely well in the second half. Sims threw for four touchdowns and 312 yards and Amari Cooper snagged 13 passes for an Iron Bowl record 224 yards while scoring three touchdowns. T.J. Yeldon rushed for 127 yards and two scores.

Nick Marshall threw for a career-high 456 yards in a losing effort. Sammie Coates had 206 yards receiving and Duke Williams had 121 yards. 

Alabama improved to 11-1 overall, and 7-1 in the SEC. Auburn dropped to 8-4 overall and 4-4 in league play. The Crimson Tide takes on Missouri in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday (Dec. 6) in Atlanta. 

SEC Rankings

1. Alabama (11-1, 7-1)

2. Mississippi State (11-1, 7-1)

3. Georgia (9-3, 6-2)

4. Auburn (8-4, 4-4)

5. Ole Miss (9-3, 5-3)

6. Missouri (10-2, 7-1)

7. LSU (8-4, 4-4)

8. Texas A&M (7-5, 3-5)

9. Arkansas (6-6, 2-6)

10. South Carolia (6-6, 3-5)

11. Florida (6-5, 4-4)

12. Tennessee (6-6, 3-5)

13. Kentucky (5-7, 2-6)

14. Vanderbilt (3-9, 0-8)

SEC Championship 

Preview and Prediction 

Week 14: 4-5; Season: 89-21

Saturday, December 6

There will be more at stake than just a conference championship for Alabama on Saturday when he Crimson Tide plays Missouri in the SEC title game. 

Alabama currently is ranked first in the College Football Playoff Rankings, and it would likely remain that way if the Tide beats Missouri. More importantly, the top overall ranking in the final poll means that Alabama would play its semifinal game in New Orleans rather than Pasadena. 

Missouri has only been in the SEC for three seasons but the Tigers have won the East Division twice in a row. The Tigers now have as many SEC division titles as Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, Kentucky and South Carolina combined. 

This year’s Missouri team shares some of the same characteristics as last year’s squad that lost to Auburn in the SEC title game. The Tigers are very stingy on defense, particularly on the line. They could present a matchup problem for Alabama’s offensive line and will need to get pressure on Blake Sims if they have a chance of slowing down Alabama’s passing attack. 

On offense, Missouri isn’t quite as talented as a year ago. Quarterback Maty Mauk has been inconsistent throughout the year, and the running game also disappears at times. The one consistent force in the Missouri offense has been receiver Bud Sasser, and he could potentially give Alabama’s secondary some trouble in the vertical passing game. 

The Alabama defense should be able to dominate Missouri’s offense, specifically at the line of scrimmage. If the Crimson Tide can get pressure on Mauk, they can force several turnovers throughout the game. The only way Missouri can stay in the game is if Alabama makes several uncharacteristic mistakes. Otherwise, the Crimson Tide should win their third SEC championship under Nick Saban. 

Prediction: Alabama 38, Missouri 10.

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