Nov. 26, 2010
Final Stats | Quotes
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The No. 9 Alabama football team lost for the first time in 20 home games, dropping a 28-27 decision in the 75th Iron Bowl to No. 2 Auburn on Friday before a crowd of 101,821 at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Senior quarterback Greg McElroy passed for a career-high 377 yards and two touchdowns while junior wide receiver Julio Jones hauled in 10 receptions for 199 yards and a touchdown. Junior running back Mark Ingram finished with 127 total yards (91 receiving, 36 rushing) and a touchdown.
McElroy set a new Alabama single-season record with 19 touchdown passes, while Jones set an Alabama single-season record with 75 receptions.
“First of all you have got to give Auburn’s team a lot of credit for coming back in the game and doing a great job in the second half,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. “This team’s been challenging all year in terms of the progress that they have made and the maturity that they’ve gained. I’m pleased with the progress that we made, but we didn’t finish the game today. These kinds of teams (Auburn) don’t go away and there are a lot of lessons to be learned out there about how important finishing is and continuing to do things correctly.”
After receiving the opening kickoff, Alabama marched swiftly down the field covering 71 yards in seven plays, capped off by a nine-yard Ingram touchdown run to take a 7-0 lead.
Following an Auburn punt, the Crimson Tide struck quickly on its next possession. McElroy found Jones for a 68-yard touchdown on the second play of the drive to put Alabama up 14-0 less than six minutes into the game. Following another Auburn three-and-out, the Crimson Tide scored its third straight touchdown of the quarter after McElroy found junior wide receiver Darius Hanks with a 12-yard touchdown strike. The drive covered 61 yards in 10 plays as part of 183 total yards that Alabama accumulated in the first quarter. On the other side, the Alabama defense held the Tigers to minus-eight total yards in the first quarter.
The Crimson Tide built upon the lead further in the second quarter on Jeremy Shelley’s 20-yard field goal, capping off a seven-play, 48-yard drive to make it 24-0 at the 8:01 juncture of the second quarter. Auburn would get on the scoreboard on the ensuing possession to make the score 24-7 at the half.
Following the halftime intermission, Auburn scored two more touchdowns to cut the Alabama lead to 24-21. The Crimson Tide would answer back late in the third quarter with another Shelley field goal, this one from 27-yards out. Alabama was the benefactor of an Auburn fumble on a punt return courtesy of a hit by junior linebacker Courtney Upshaw.
The Tigers scored a fourth and final touchdown on the opening possession of the fourth quarter to take a 28-27 lead. The Crimson Tide had the ball on two more occasions, but were not able to score.
The Alabama defense held Auburn to 108 rushing yards, almost 200 below its season average of 307.9. Auburn junior quarterback Cam Newton rushed for 39 yards on 22 carries, his second-lowest total of the season. Upshaw led Alabama with 10 tackles, including a career-high three sacks in addition to three tackles for a loss. The junior from Eufaula, Ala., also forced two fumbles. Freshman Dee Milliner notched a career-high nine tackles while freshman linebacker C.J. Mosley added six tackles.
Alabama finishes the 2010 regular season with a mark of 9-3 while Auburn finishes at a perfect 12-0.