AUBURN, Ala. >> Jarrett Stidham and No. 6 Auburn dominated top-ranked Alabama 26-14 today, earning a berth in next week’s Southeastern Conference title game.
The Tigers quarterback passed for 237 yards and ran for a fourth-quarter touchdown to set up a rematch with No. 7 Georgia in the SEC championship game Dec. 2 with a playoff spot almost certainly on the line.
Auburn (10-2, 7-1 SEC, No. 6 CFP) mostly shut down the league’s top scoring offense for their second win in three weeks over the top team in the playoff rankings. They won the Western Division a week after dispatching the Bulldogs with similar precision.
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn didn’t shy away from a question about his team’s chances of making the playoffs with two losses. One of the defeats was to defending national champion Clemson, No. 3 at the time.
“We’ve got to win next week and that’s going to be a handful,” Malzahn said. “I don’t know, them experts got it figured out. I don’t think anybody else has played two No. 1 teams and a No. (3) team.”
The Crimson Tide (11-1, 7-1) made a rare assortment of mistakes for a team that had appeared to be headed toward a shot at a fourth consecutive SEC title and playoff berth.
Alabama coach Nick Saban said his team deserves a playoff shot after playing for the national title the past two years and scarcely getting challenged.
“I don’t think one game defines who you are,” Saban said. “It certainly doesn’t define this team for who they are. I’m sorry that I could not do a better job as a coach and as a leader.”