It is Iron Bowl time as the Alabama Crimson Tide (7-0) look to continue their march towards the Sec Title game at the expense of their old rival the Auburn Tigers (5-2). Here are the three keys to an Alabama victory
By Steve Wright
Don’t turn the ball over
The Tide’s chances at a CFP spot fell apart against the Tigers last year on the road. There were a number of reasons for the failing, but ti was a game that Alabama would have won had it not been for a pair of interceptions – both returned for touchdowns – thrown by Mac Jones that canceled out his 335 yards and four touchdowns through the air. Alabama has more than enough to beat Auburn in 2020, but giving up 14 points on interception returns will change the outcome of a game in a hurry. Auburn leads the SEC in turnover margin and is 5-0 when tied or better in turnovers for the game and 0-2 when they are behind in the count. That should be all Nick Saban needs to know in terms of ball security for his team on Saturday.
Be wary of Bo Nix
Nix is still a weird one. He was entirely pedestrian through the air in the meeting last year – 15-of-30 for 173 yards and a touchdown – but he didn’t make costly mistakes. In 2020 he isn’t lighting it up like Jones or Kyle Trask, but he has improved from a sub-50% completion rate in three of his first four this year to hitting over 70% in his last three outings. Nix will be efficient and he will still avoid mistakes, but ‘Bama just has to be a little bit aware that at some point his talent might boil over into a monster game.
Keep it balanced
Alabama has been destroying teams without breaking too much of a sweat because every part of the offense has been ruthlessly efficient. The team has just seven turnovers on the season and if Jones isn’t destroying a team through the air – which he usually is – then he can turn and hand the ball off to a Heisman quality back in Najee Harris. All Alabama has to do is play the same game as last year without the mistakes and this should be over by the beginning of the third quarter.
Saturday‘s game kicks off at 2:30 PM CT (3:30 PM ET). You can watch this Alabama football game on the CBS Network.