Running back Shaun Shivers bulled his way for the decisive 11-yard touchdown on his only carry of the afternoon as No. 15 Auburn dealt a fatal blow to fifth-ranked Alabama’s playoff hopes with a 48-45 victory over the Crimson Tide on Saturday in Auburn, Ala.
Kicker Joseph Bulova’s 30-yard field goal bounced off the left upright with two minutes left, denying the Tide an opportunity to send the game to overtime.
Freshman quarterback Bo Nix passed for 173 yards and a touchdown, running back JaTarvious Whitlow accounted for 114 yards rushing and 29 receiving, and kicker Anders Carlson kicked four field goals for the Tigers (9-3, 5-3 SEC).
Auburn ran out the clock after the missed field goal, thanks to a fourth-down conversion when Alabama was penalized 5 yards for a substitution infraction.
Alabama quarterback Mac Jones, in his second start since Tua Tagovailoa’s season-ending hip injury, completed 26 of 39 passes for 335 yards and four touchdowns for the Tide (10-2, 6-2 SEC). Three of his touchdowns went to wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, covering 58, 12 and 28 yards. Waddle also scored on a 98-yard kickoff return.
But Jones also threw a pair of interceptions that Auburn returned for touchdowns by linebacker Zakoby McClain (100 yards) and Smoke Monday (29).
The second-highest-scoring Iron Bowl in series history was chugging along at 10-10 midway through the second quarter when the fireworks began. Starting with Monday’s 29-yard interception return, the teams put up five touchdowns and a field goal over the last 5 minutes, 36 seconds of the half.
The Tide’s touchdowns came on Waddle’s long kickoff return that followed Monday’s pick, receiver Henry Ruggs III’s 3-yard touchdown reception, and Waddle’s 58-yard scoring sprint after securing Jones’ flat pass.
After Monday’s touchdown, the Tigers’ scored on Nix’s 14-yard pass to receiver Sal Cannella and Carlson’s 52-yard field goal that was set up when officials put a second back on the clock after a review following Whitlow’s 17-yard gain on a screen pass.
The 93 points are second only to the 99 total in Alabama’s 55-44 win in 2014.
Whitlow finished with 114 yards on 16 carries. Alabama’s Najee Harris ran for 146 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries.
—Field Level Media