At the end of the season, we all look forward to the Iron Bowl from the arch-rival University of Alabama. Today near the start of the season, it has to be dubbed the Aluminum Bowl. The other in-state team from the FCS Alabama State tried their hand at the upset payout, challenging Auburn in an at-will game. Meaning, try us If you will, knowing you will be destroyed. The Hornets are 49 point underdogs. Bill Conelly has predicted the score (63-0), favoring the #25 ranked Auburn Tigers.
I wonder how the quarterback feels knowing you are going to be lit up all day. It must be like awaiting your dad to come in the room after realizing you have messed up and got some business to handle. In this case, Ryan Nettles was the SWAC freshman of the year from the Covid delayed spring season (3-3), which enabled them to play two seasons in one essentially. My point is they should be hitting on all cylinders.
Tigers, beware you face a lose-lose.
Alabama State won the first quarter (6-0), giving up only six points forcing two field goals. However, the second was outright impressive. After a blocked punt bursting right up the gut, Auburn had the ball on the 25-yard line. The Hornets played their hearts out, making them fight for every inch preventing what appeared to be an automatic touchdown.
The sloppy and lackluster play was a symptom of an illness resulting in a false start in the red zone. A neutral zone infraction, a face mask on a pass play moved the ball half the distance to the goal, which placed the ball on the three-yard line. For the life of me, I don’t understand why Alabama State decided to go for a field goal. They called the play as if they were playing a SWAC opponent. No risk, no reward. The kick was blocked and returned for an 80-yard touchdown. What did they have to lose? You are not supposed to win. Roll the dice and let them come up with snake eyes on the opponent, not yourself.
As a significant underdog, one has to take a risk let it all hang out. The Hornets played the first half too conservatively, being down 20-0. Alabama State must have gotten the memo in the locker room. They tried and recovered the on-site kick. But it was too little too late. They were deflated.
T Bigsbys 51 yard run started the dominance. The more physically talented team was wearing down their opponent. By the time Bo Nix completed a 28-yard touchdown pass to Demetrius Robertson, the game was over. More disaster struck on a low snap to Nettles, which ended with a fumble.
Auburn reached into the bag of tricks, running a reverse to Robertson for a 36-yard touchdown to extend the lead 34-0. That’s the type of play the underdog should have put in the all-out risk game plan. Instead, it all fell apart when Roger McCreary turned in a pick-six. Alabama States’ defense played well considering the SEC opponent, but there was only so much water they could hold back before the dam broke. The dynamic running duo of J Hunter and T Bigsby combined for 269 yards on 19 carries.
The Auburn Tigers took tune-up game number two 62-0. Next up is the Penn State Nittany Lions.
Key Stats of the Game
- Total Yards Auburn 538 Alabama State 176
- Rushing Yards 364 46
- J Hunter 8 carries 147 yards
- T Bigsby 11 carries 122 yards