The Opening Drive: Auburn vs. Alabama

AUBURN, Ala. – In the 15 previous Iron Bowls played at Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn has won 10 times including the previous two, a trend Bryan Harsin hopes to continue Saturday when he experiences college football’s ultimate rivalry for the first time.

“I’m excited to coach in this game,” Harsin said. “This is one of the reasons why I wanted to be at Auburn.”

Auburn quarterback T.J. Finley will be making his first start at Jordan-Hare Stadium, but it won’t be his first start against the Tigers’ Iron Bowl opponent. As a true freshman in 2020, Finley quarterbacked LSU against Alabama, throwing for 144 yards.

“Here at Auburn, it’s an Iron Bowl,” said Finley, who threw for 188 yards and a touchdown in his first start last week at South Carolina. “At LSU, it was just a rivalry game, but here, it’s something much more special. To be a part of it is an unbelievable experience, and I can’t wait.”

The 86th Iron Bowl between Auburn (6-5, 3-4) and No. 3 Alabama (10-1, 6-1) will kick off Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CT with Brad Nessler, Gary Danielson and Jamie Erdahl broadcasting on CBS while Andy Burcham, Stan White, Ronnie Brown, Brad Law and Paul Ellen will have the call on the Auburn Sports Network.

Football: Auburn at South Carolina, Shedrick Jackson
 

THREE QUESTIONS WITH … WR SHEDRICK JACKSON

Q: You’re from Alabama. You grew up here. What’s this rivalry mean to you? 

A: It means a lot. It’s one of the biggest rivalries in college football. Just watching it growing up, I always knew it was a big deal. People you go to school with, people you work with, they’re going to talk about it. It’s a big deal. We’ve got to go in there and try to get a win. 

Q: T.J. Finley made his first start at quarterback last week. You had a career day receiving. What did you see from him and what are some positives going forward? 

A: Some of the same things I’ve always seen from him. He was cool, calm and collected. He was just ready to make plays. We had a good time. Obviously, we didn’t get the result we wanted, but he went out there to make plays, made the throws he had to make, made the reads he had to make, and hopefully he does the same this week. 

Q: You’re a senior this year. Knowing this could be your last game in Jordan-Hare Stadium, have you thought about that much? 

A: I’ve thought about it, especially being here all four years. I’ve played a lot of games here, won and lost. I’ll always remember just going out there and fighting with my brothers, giving it all we got and trying to win every game we play. 
 

INSIDE THE SERIES: ALABAMA

In this 86th Iron Bowl, Auburn and Alabama will meet for the 74th consecutive year since 1948. Auburn trails the overall series (37-47-1) but leads the rivalry (17-11) when the game is played on campus has a 10-5 advantage in games played at Auburn. Before 1989, the series was primarily played in Birmingham (Alabama, 36-20-1) and Montgomery (Tied, 2-2).

The Tigers have won the last two meetings in Jordan-Hare Stadium, including a 48-45 victory in 2019 when Zakboy McClain and Smoke Monday each returned an interception for a touchdown. McClain and Monday, now seniors, will play their final home game Saturday. 

Auburn holds an all-time football record of 99-53-2 against teams from the state of Alabama, including Alabama, UAB, Alabama A&M, Birmingham Southern, Camp Sheridan, Marion Institute, Maxwell Field, Montgomery, North Alabama A.C., Samford and Spring Hill.
 
Series: Alabama, 47-37-1
At Auburn: Auburn, 10-5
At Tuscaloosa: Auburn, 7-6
At Neutral Sites: Alabama, 36-20-1 (6-1*)
–    *Birmingham games were not counted as a neutral site after 1988
First Meeting: 1893 (Auburn, 32-22)
Most AU points: 53 (1900)
Current Streak: Alabama, W1
 

BY THE NUMBERS

7.36: Auburn ranks second in the SEC and No. 14 nationally with 7.36 tackles for loss per game. The Tigers had seven tackles for loss last week against South Carolina, including four sacks. Eku Leota, who had one of the sacks, leads the team with nine TFL on the season. 

940: Tank Bigsby rushed for a season high 164 yards against South Carolina, marking his fifth game this season and ninth of his career with over 100 yards rushing. With 940 rushing yards through the first 11 games, Bigsby needs just 60 yards Saturday to go over 1,000 yards for the first time in his career. He has 1,774 career rushing yards.

39: It will be 39 years to the day Saturday that Bo Jackson went “over the top” for the go-ahead touchdown to help Auburn beat Alabama, 23-22. The Tigers are 7-7-1 in games on Nov. 27 all-time, including a 4-4 mark against SEC teams. 

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