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49 Days ‘Til Alabama Football: The historic Iron Bowl beat down of 2012

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The worst Auburn team of the last 30 years meets one of Saban’s best. Hilarity ensues.

Auburn v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

If you’re old enough, some of you can talk to your parents about the 1948 Iron Bowl. For most of us though, you’ll have to see if your grandparents remember it...either that or hit the microfiche.

Then 1948 game saw the .500 Crimson Tide and the one-win Auburn Tigers meet at Birmingham’s Legion Field to renew a series that had not been played since 1907. The Tide laid utter waste to the Tigers, 55-0, setting an Iron Bowl record for the worst loss by either team. To this day, that 55-point margin of victory is still the the most lopsided.

But, you needn’t lament those long-ago years. The second worst beating in Iron Bowl history, and by far the worst of the modern era, occurred just a short five years ago.

Following a bizarre home loss to Texas A&M, a refocused Alabama team was sitting at No. 2 in the nation, and in need of wins to secure a potential trip to the BCS Championship game. That would prove to be bad news to a moribund Auburn team who had cratered. The defense was at an all-time ebb for the program. The talent level had not rebounded following the 2010 exodus of its star players. Auburn’s offense was one of the worst in the modern era of Tiger football. And Nick Saban wasn’t in a forgiving mood.

The game began with the Tide taking the opening kickoff and methodically punished the Tigers for an easy 10-play Eddie Lacy score. The defense then effortlessly shut down the Tigers, holding them to two yards before forcing another punt. AJ McCarron and the passing game felt a little left out, so the Tide offense went to the air on its next drive. With a nice mix of intermediate passes, the Tide again found itself on the goal line where T.J. Yeldon punched it in for the score.

It was 14-0 just 9 minutes into the game. The rout was on.

And, so it continued for the longest 2’53” of Auburn’s life. The Alabama stars toyed with Tiger defenders, making big play after big play: AJ McCarron, Eddie Lacy, TJ Yeldon, Kenny Bell, Amari Cooper, Kenyan Drake, Christon Jones, Kevin Norwood, Robert Lester, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, CJ Mosely. At the end of 45 minutes of play, leading 49-0, Saban called the dogs off -- there would be no more, though the Tide could have named its score.

The final stats, if anything, were even more lopsided than the scoreboard would indicate. McCarron threw for four touchdowns and over 200 yards on just 15 completions. Cooper had over 100 yards and two scores in the air on just 5 catches, averaging almost 22-per. Meanwhile, the ‘Barn offense completed just 5 of 15 passes with two interceptions -- for 71 yards. Tre Mason, the only gamer on that woeful team, was held to 82 yards on 23 very tough carries. Alabama forced three turnovers, and held the Tigers to just 162 combined yards.

To add insult to injury, on a day where Auburn would be held scoreless, they still managed to have more penalties (8) than punts (7.)


For the Tide, this beating was a mere prelude to the all-time best SEC Championship Game just a week later, and then a routine thrashing of Notre Dame en route to the Tide’s 15th national crown. It would also be the second year in a row where Alabama enacted some small measure of vengeance for a blown lead and one-point loss in 2010.

For Auburn, it would signal the end of the Chizik era, and will forever remain a shameful monument to futility.

And it could have been much, much worse.

49 days ‘til Alabama football.

Roll Tide