Iron Bowl 2018
Tomorrow is the 2018 Iron Bowl and Nick Saban will be facing off once again against Gus Malzahn. I said in part one of this article that Malzahn has been particularly successful against Saban, even as Auburn’s Offensive Coordinator back in 2010. I also looked into the the various SEC in-conference losses Alabama has suffered over the years, as the vast majority of their upsets have been at the hands of SEC rivals.
In the second and perhaps final installment of ‘How to Beat Alabama,’ I will be looking at the post-season games against Oklahoma and Ohio State, and of course, last year’s Iron Bowl.
Iron Bowl 2013
Following the infamous ‘Kick Six’ in the 2013 Iron Bowl, No. 3 Alabama went down to New Orleans to face off against No. 11 Oklahoma for the 2014 Sugar Bowl. Alabama was the two-time defending champion looking to make a three-peat. Despite Alabama being the 17.5-point favorite, the game remained relatively close with Oklahoma breaking away with a 31-17 lead just before halftime. Ultimately, the redshirt freshman QB Trevor Knight was able to complete 32-0f-44 passes for 348 yards against Alabama’s defense, and Oklahoma’s defense managed to sack AJ McCarron four times in the second half. With a final score of 45-31, the Sooners thwarted the hopes of a third championship appearance for the Crimson Tide.
Containing Alabama’s offensive weapons and finding immense success in the screen pass was the key to victory for Oklahoma. It would be unfair however to say that Bob Stoops’ Big-12 style offense completely manipulated Alabama’s offense, as Saban had clearly figured it at the start of the second half, and the Sooners’ offense generated only 28 yards and four punts in the third quarter.
Alabama Iron Bowl
So, having an offense with a solid foundation that keeps the defense second guessing themselves is a good bet when playing the legendary Alabama. Again, Oklahoma did not have the study materials to prepare for this matchup that Alabama’s SEC rivals had, but Coach Stoops had been criticizing the depth of the SEC over the offseason, so if he was going to down, he was going to do it in Big-12 style.
The success of the screen pass in this game begs the questions as to whether current Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley’s claim of Big-12 superiority over the SEC has validity when talking about Alabama. Today’s Crimson Tide has one of the top 10 passing defenses in the FBS, so I believe Saban has been working to ensure his defense is not caught off guard again.
Lesson: Be competent in the screen pass.
The Iron Bowl 2018
The Iron Bowl 2018 Final Score and Updates will be posted to the CFB Today Scoreboard starting at kickoff.
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