The search for the next head football coach of Auburn University may be dominating the news cycle but the 5-6 Auburn Tigers have the small matter of the Iron Bowl against the 9-2 Alabama Crimson Tide on tap this weekend.
By Steve Wright
Here are the three keys to an Auburn win:
1 – Look at the Incentives
I have no idea who will be Auburn’s coach next season. I know that the Tigers have plenty to play for on Saturday. Winning the Iron Bowl is always a big deal, but if Auburn can take down the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa, they will become bowl eligible. That might not sound like a big deal, but it would also make Cadillac Williams 3-1 as interim head coach, as he has already beaten Texas A&M and Western Kentucky. Williams is immensely popular with the players, so winning for him would be huge. Add in that a win here would see Alabama with a three-loss season for the first time in over a decade, and the incentives are there for Auburn to go for this.
2 – Stop Bryce Young
This will (almost certainly) be the last time we see Bryce Young wearing Alabama colors in Tuscaloosa. The current Heisman Trophy holder doesn’t have the numbers he has in 2021, but this has been a more impressive season in many ways. Young doesn’t have anything like the talent around him he did last season, and he has played for the majority of the year with a banged-up shoulder. Even so, he has willed Alabama to wins, and he would love to finish undefeated against Auburn to add to his list of accolades.
3 – Get the 1-2 Punch Going
It took the arrival of Williams – and his expected commitment to the run – to unlock the 1-2 punch of Tank Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter. Bigsby leads the team in rushing with 908 yards and ten touchdowns, while Hunter has added over 500 yards and seven more scores. The two are perfect complementary backs, each with unique running styles to keep defenses completely off balance. Auburn has to be able to run on Alabama, and using the two back correctly will make that happen.