3 people most to blame for Auburn choking away Iron Bowl vs. Alabama

Brian Branch, Alabama Crimson Tide, Tank Bigsby, Auburn Tigers. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Brian Branch, Alabama Crimson Tide, Tank Bigsby, Auburn Tigers. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The Auburn Tigers had a certain victory in the Iron Bowl but choked it away in four overtimes to the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, as the Auburn Tigers lost a very winnable Iron Bowl to the Alabama Crimson Tide in four overtimes, 24-22.

Alabama did not score a single point until the fourth quarter. Auburn may not have had a banner day offensively, but Derek Mason’s defense came to play to at least give the Tigers a chance. Unfortunately, Auburn lost its Super Bowl at home as pretty much the whole college football world watched this choke job unfold. Auburn is now 6-6, while Alabama improves to 11-1.

While the Tigers get ready for their meaningless bowl game, the Crimson Tide are very much alive to make the College Football Playoff entering the SEC Championship Game against No. 1 Georgia in Atlanta next Saturday.

Auburn football: 3 people most to blame for choking away the Iron Bowl

3. Bryan Harsin went conservative when he had the Crimson Tide on the brink

This may have been Bryan Harsin’s first time in the Iron Bowl, but this is not his first rodeo as head coach. He won plenty of games at Boise State before this. While this rivalry game is unlike any other in the sport, he needed to do a better job down the stretch of putting his team into position to go for the kill when they had a foot on Alabama’s throat. Auburn had a 99.9 percent win probability after punting to the Alabama 3 and let it slip away. This brutal loss will sting for a while.

2. Mike Bobo needed a better offensive game plan to give Auburn a chance late

As with Harsin, this is not the first time offensive coordinator Mike Bobo had to go up against an excellent team in a rivalry game. Even though he was dealing with a beat-up backup quarterback in TJ Finley, Bobo needed to take the reins a bit more down the stretch to land this plane safely instead of crashing into a fiery blaze for all the world to see. Bobo let this one slip away from him.

1. Tank Bigsby should have gone down in bounds to take 40 seconds of the clock

If there is one play where Auburn really blew it, it came on their second to last offensive series of the game. All running back Tank Bigsby had to do was stay in bounds. Doing so would have taken an additional 40 seconds off the clock. Instead, he was dragged out of bounds. Bryce Young tied the game up on a touchdown pass that should not have happened. Bigsby’s gaffe was costly.

Auburn could have won two of the last three Iron Bowls and three of the last five, but they choked.

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