Bama, Auburn to clash in Iron Bowl

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The week every Alabama and Auburn fan awaits each season has arrived.

The 2015 edition of the Iron Bowl will be played at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn.

Coming into the game, the Crimson Tide leads the series 43-35-1 in a contest that has helped decide the national championship winner in recent years.

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Auburn (6-5 overall, and 2-5 in SEC) earned a berth to play in a bowl game with a 56-34 win over Idaho last week at home.

Second-ranked Alabama (10-1) took care of business with a 56-6 beat down over Charleston Southern on senior day.

At present, Alabama controls its destiny in regard to gaining a berth to the SEC Championship game. The Crimson Tide need to win this week’s game to punch their ticket to Atlanta.

Alabama head football coach Nick Saban said after his team’s win over Charleston Southern that the approach this week has to be complete focus.

“You’ve got to focus on what you need to do to execute and do your job well,” Saban said. “You’ve got to have the right mind set to play these kind of games that they are. You’ve got to expect that.

“I’ve also seen some guys get so emotionally wired that they get tired in the game,” he said. “I really do think you’ve got to focus on execution and focus on football. You’re going to have to fight for 15 rounds.”

Auburn head football coach Gus Malzahn said it was good to get the win over Idaho because it gave an opportunity for the Tigers to play a lot of guys.

“The things stood out to me defensively is that we got three turnovers,” Malzahn said. “There were also some fourth down stops. Offensively, the thing that stood out to me is that we didn’t have any turnovers. We had a lot of guys handle the football well. Overall, I was just pleased to get the sixth win. I think we came out of that thing fairly health free.”

In the last few years, there have been some memorable Iron Bowls.

Last year, the game was a high scoring affair with the Crimson Tide coming out on top, 55-44. In 2013, who can forget the memorable missed field goal return for a touchdown that sealed the win for the Tigers?

Since 2008, Alabama has won five of the last seven meetings. Auburn won 28-27 in a game where the Tigers came back from a huge deficit with former quarterback Cam Newton under center.

Saban said he’s liked how the team has progressed in all three phases — offense, defense and special teams — of the game.

“You’re only as good as your last play,” he said. “I like the progress of the team, but we’ve got to continue to be able to execute and play with consistency.

“We’ve got a challenge in our rivalry (against Auburn),” he said. “We’ve just got to keep trying to improve and focus on getting better.”

Malzahn said that every year, the contest is different, and that the best thing for the Tigers is that they are playing at home. He added that both teams are going to be ready for the game.

Kick off Saturday is slated for 2:30 p.m. CST and the game will be broadcast on CBS.