Late touchdown lifts No. 2 Tide past Auburn 26-21

By Staff
Scot Beard
AUBURN – Auburn's game plan against Alabama worked for most of the afternoon, but poor clock management in the closing minutes cost the Tigers the opportunity to upset the No.-2 ranked Crimson Tide.
Roy Upchurch's 4-yard touchdown reception from Greg McElroy with 1:24 remaining in the game gave the Crimson Tide (12-0) its first lead of the day 26-21. The 2-point conversion failed, but Auburn's last-second pass to the end zone was knocked away by the Crimson Tide defense to preserve the win.
Auburn (7-5) took control of the game early with 67-yard touchdown run by Terrell Zachery less than four minutes into the game.
The Tigers recovered an onside kick and capped off the 58-yard drive with a 1-yard pass from Chris Todd to Eric Smith to put Auburn ahead 14-0 with 5:42 to play in the first quarter.
Alabama's Trent Richardson scored on a 2-yard run to cut the deficit to 14-7 and Colin Peek caught a 33-yard pass from McElroy to tie the game 5:31 before halftime.
Auburn struck early in the second half with a 72-yard pass from Todd to Darvin Adams to put the Tigers up 21-14.
Alabama's Leigh Tiffin hit a 27-yard field goal and a 31-yard field goal to cut Auburn's lead to a single point heading into the final quarter.
Auburn's defense contained Heisman Trophy candidate Mark Ingram. Ingram, who averaged 127 rushing yards per game, carried the ball 16 times for only 30 yards.
Trent Richardson picked up the slack for Alabama, gaining 56 yards on 15 carries.
Julio Jones was pivotal on the Crimson Tide's game-winning drive. He had four catches, all of which were for first downs, for 33 yards.
Jones finished the game with nine catches for 83 yards.
McElroy completed 21-of-31 passes for 218 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Although the Alabama defense gave up a few big plays, the Crimson Tide defenders held Auburn's playmakers in check for most of the game.
Ben Tate carried the ball 18 times for only 54 yards.
Todd completed 15-of-25 passes for 181 yards, tow touchdowns and one interception. Adams had another big game, pulling in four catches for 138 yards.
With the win, Alabama completed its second straight undefeated regular season.
The Crimson Tide now turns its focus to the Southeastern Conference Championship Game. Alabama will play No. 1 Florida next Saturday for a berth in the National Championship Game.
Auburn will wait to find out which bowl game the Tigers will be picked to participate in.