The Alabama Crimson Tide can win the SEC West this weekend in Bryant-Denny Stadium by defeating the Arkansas Razorbacks, thus rendering the season finale against the Auburn Tigers almost irrelevant.
2017 aside, the Iron Bowl is never irrelevant. The Crimson Tide will head to Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 27 to take on its biggest rival but the Auburn Tigers will be without two of its biggest names.
Tigers junior quarterback Bo Nix injured his ankle in a 43-34 home loss to Mississippi State. Nix left the game against the Bulldogs for a few plays but managed to return to finish the football game 27-of-41 for 377 yards and two touchdowns.
Nix underwent successful surgery on his ankle but the Auburn starting quarterback will likely be out the remainder of the season meaning he will miss this season’s Iron Bowl.
Auburn will instead turn to its backup quarterback, LSU transfer, T.J. Finley to start for the remainder of the year. For the second straight season, Finley will make his starting debut against South Carolina but this time he will be wearing Blue and Orange.
The Crimson Tide is familiar with Finley as he served as the LSU Tigers starter when the Tide ventured to Baton Rouge in 2020. Alabama defeated Finley’s Bayou Bengals last season 55-17 and Finley was held to 14-of-28 passing for 144 yards and one touchdown. The Crimson Tide pressured Finley and sacked him four times on the night. Will “The Terminator” Anderson, a freshman at the time, recorded 1.5 sacks.
Finley won’t be nearly as elusive as Nix as the Pinson Valley High School alum rushed for 44 yards and a touchdown in the 2019 Iron Bowl. The Tide did a better job bottling up Nix in 2020 holding him to -1 yards but he still scored a rushing touchdown.
The Crimson Tide will be able to utilize Anderson, Phil Mathis and newfound freshman rusher Dallas Turner to pressure Finley.
Nix is not the only prominent Auburn Tiger who won’t be playing in the Iron Bowl. The Tigers will also be without veteran kicker Anders Carlson as he suffered a torn ACL.
Carlson is 35-of-36 on extra points this season and is 14-of-21 on his field goals in 2021. The senior kicker is 6-of-7 kicking field goals and 8-of-8 on extra points in his Iron Bowl history.
The Tigers will likely turn to sophomore Ben Patton for the kicking duties, he’s made three extra points so far in his Auburn career.
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