TUSCALOOSA, ALA. (EETV) – Interim Head Coach Cadillac Williams began his postgame press conference with a heartfelt message talking about how proud he was of his team and more specifically his seniors.
"I'm proud of these 24 seniors," said Williams. "We didn't get it done. We did not do a good enough job of getting those guys prepared and locked in. The future is bright because of these 24 seniors."
But at the end of the day, Williams said it best about the Tigers' 49-27 loss to in-state rival Alabama, “we didn’t get it done”.
Auburn got on the board first with a Robby Ashford scramble in the first quarter to take the only Tigers lead of the match. After that, it was all Alabama thanks to their high-powered offense.
Under former running-backs coach Williams, the Tigers' run game has been dominant over his four games at the helm.
Jarquez Hunter finished the game with 134 rushing yards on just 11 touches, good for an average of 12.2 yards, while Ashford had 121 yards and two touchdowns. This marks the first time in program history that Auburn has had three straight games with two 100-yard rushers.
"These last three games we came out and ran hard," Hunter said. "We ran ferociously, we just wanted to win. The O-line helped us out, too; they blocked their tails off."
The final member of Auburn’s running attack, Tank Bigsby, rushed for 63 yards on the night in what could be the junior running back's last game with the Tigers with Bigsby considering leaving early for the NFL Draft.
As for the Tide, everybody touched the rock with four different players scoring a rushing touchdown. Both members of Alabama’s one-two punch rushing attack, Jahmyr Gibbs and Jase Mcclellan found the endzone with Gibbs running for 76 yards and McClellan rushing for 44. McClellan also added a touchdown through the air, catching the only ball thrown his direction.
Last year’s Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young scrambled for a touchdown in addition to his three passing touchdowns and Roydell Williams scored a touchdown on his only rush of the game to give the Tide their biggest lead of the game in the third quarter.
Auburn did not go down without a fight. The Tigers found themselves down by four possessions late in the third when Ashford scored his second rushing touchdown of the game. The Tigers would make back-to-back stops of defense, one coming from an Owen Pappoe pick.
With those stops, Auburn would march down the field but could only get two Alex McPherson field goals out of the defensive stops.
McPherson went a perfect two-for-two in his Iron Bowl debut, hitting both after the skies opened up, one from 32 yards out and the other from 39. The Alabama native will end this season with his redshirt intact and will have the option to use it and come back next year as a redshirt freshman.
Auburn finishes their season with a 5-7 record, missing bowl eligibility for the first time since the 2012 season. But, with not enough teams finishing with six wins to fill the 41 bowl games, there is still a chance that the Tigers' season has not come to an end.
"[The seniors] have left this place better than it was before," Ashford said. "Now it's up to me and the rest of the guys when we leave to put it in a better place than it was before we got here. This program is definitely on the rise."
The team will have to for bowls to be announced on Dec. 4 to see if they will get the chance to participate as a 5-7 team.