AUBURN, AL (WBRC) - The Alabama Crimson Tide narrowly defeated the Auburn Tigers 26-21 in the Iron Bowl on Friday, remaining undefeated and keeping its hopes for a national championship alive.
Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy threw a four-yard touchdown pass to Roy Upchurch with 1:24 left in the game, giving Alabama its first lead of the game. The two-point conversion attempt failed, but it was enough to give Alabama the win over an Auburn team that refused to give up and nearly defeated the Crimson Tide.
Auburn (7-5) dominated No. 2 Alabama (12-0) during the first quarter of play, scoring two touchdowns on its first two possessions and keeping Alabama from making a first down during its first two possessions.
The Tigers' first touchdown came less than five minutes into the start of the game, when Terrell Zachery rushed for 67 yards to score. The second touchdown happened six minutes later, when quarterback Chris Todd passed for one yard to Eric Smith in the endzone.Auburn recovered an onside kick to Alabama after its first touchdown, setting up the second touchdown-scoring drive.
Alabama did not answer until the second quarter, when Alabama took control of the game and scored two touchdowns. Alabama running back Trent Richardson capped off a four-minute, 58-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run early in the quarter. McElroy threw a 33-yard pass to Colin Peek eight minutes later.
Alabama attempted at 48-yard field goal with less than two minutes before halftime, but the kick was tipped and the ball sailed right of the goal posts.
Auburn quarterback Chris Todd threw a 72-yard touchdown pass to Darvin Adams with 11 minutes to go in the third quarter, the first score by either team after halftime.
Alabama responded in the third quarter with back-to-back field goals (27 and 31 yards) by Leigh Tiffin.
Late in the fourth quarter, Alabama drove the ball and scored a touchdown with 1:24 left in the game, taking a 26-21 lead. The two-point conversion failed, but the score was enough to win, as Auburn's last-second pass to the endzone was deflected incomplete.
Alabama ended its regular season 12-0, the second year in a row the Crimson Tide was undefeated in the regular season. Alabama had already secured the SEC West championship and will face Florida in the SEC Championship game in Atlanta on Dec. 5.
The winner of that game is expected to play for the national championship in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 7, 2010.
Unofficial game stats:
1st downs: Alabama 18, Auburn 15
Total yards: Alabama 293, Auburn 333
Passing: Alabama 218, Auburn 181
Rushing: Alabama 75, Auburn 152
Penalties: Alabama 4-25, Auburn 8-68
Time of Possession: Alabama 33:47, Auburn 26:13