Alabama Crimson Tide beats Auburn Tigers in the 2011 Iron Bowl - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Tide 42 - Tigers 14

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By JOHN ZENOR
AP Sports Writer

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) - Trent Richardson rushed for a career-high 203 yards and AJ McCarron threw three first-half touchdown passes to lift No. 2 Alabama to a 42-14 victory over rival Auburn on Saturday.

The Crimson Tide (11-1, 7-1 Southeastern Conference) now must wait and see if its resume is good enough to secure a shot at a second national title in three years. No. 3 Oklahoma State and No. 1 LSU have big games remaining.

Richardson ran 27 times and caught a 5-yard touchdown pass in his final chance to impress Heisman Trophy voters. He had runs of 35 and 57 yards to set up second-half scores.

The Tide didn't put Auburn (7-5, 4-4) away until Dee Milliner's 35-yard interception return early in the fourth quarter. Alabama entered the quarter with a 309-44 advantage in total yards but also gave up touchdowns on a fumble recovery and a kick return.

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Below are the post game notes from the University of Alabama Athletic Department.

ALABAMA FOOTBALL

POST-GAME NOTES – ALABAMA at AUBURN

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 2011 • JORDAN-HARE STADIUM • AUBURN, ALA.

AN 11-WIN SEASON: The win over Auburn marked the 11th on the season for Auburn. It is the 15th 11-win season in Crimson Tide history. The 15 11-win seasons ties Penn State for the second most 11-win seasons in college football history. UA has won 11 or more games three times under head coach Nick Saban.

CAREER NIGHT FOR RICHARDSON: The 203 rushing yards by Trent Richardson was the 11th time an Alabama back has surpassed the 200-yard rushing mark. The 200-yard rushing performance is the first for a Tide back since Mark Ingram rushed for 246 against South Carolina on October 17, 2009. 

RICHARDSON HAMMERS HIS WAY PAST 100: With the 203 yards by junior running back Trent Richardson, it marked his ninth 100-yard game on the season and third in a row. The nine 100-yard games ties Mark Ingram (2009) for the most in school history. 

RICHARDSON ON SINGLE-SEASON & CAREER LISTS: Trent Richardson's big rushing day moved him up both the single-season and career rushing lists at Alabama. In 2011, Richardson has rushed for 1,583 yards, a total that ranks second on the Alabama single-season rushing yards list behind Mark Ingram's 1,658 yards in 2009. Richardson became the fifth back in Alabama history to surpass 3,000 rushing yards today, a total that also ranks him fifth on the career rushing yards list with 3,034 yards. 

McCARRON SHINES IN FIRST IRON BOWL: Alabama sophomore quarterback AJ McCarron put together a solid performance in his first Iron Bowl. Auburn. McCarron was 18-for-23 with 184 yards and three touchdowns. Over the last two games, McCarron is 32-for-42 with 374 yards and has tossed six touchdowns without an interception. Two of his three touchdowns in today's game were over 20 yards, making eight of his 16 on the season from over that distance. 

SMELLEY FINISHING STRONG: Alabama senior tight end Brad Smelley has been finishing his Crimson Tide career on a strong note. Earning the start for the second consecutive game, Smelley caught a career-high six passes for 86 yards and a touchdown. Over the last two games, the senior has caught 10 passes for 144 yards and hauled in three touchdowns. 

McCARRON TIES IRON BOWL MARK: With 3 touchdown passes against Auburn, AJ McCarron tied the Alabama record for touchdown passes thrown against Auburn. It is the fourth time an Alabama quarterback has thrown 3 touchdowns in an Iron Bowl game. Steve Sloan also had 3 touchdown passes in a 21-14 Alabama victory over the Tigers on November 26, 1964. Jeff Rutledge had 3 scoring passes in a 34-16 win over Auburn on December 2, 1978, and Freddie Kitchens passed for 3 touchdowns in a 24-23 win over the Tigers on November 23, 1996. 

NOWHERE TO RUN: Alabama held Auburn to 78 rushing yards on 35 carries (2.2-yard average). In head coach Nick Saban's 66-game tenure at Alabama, the Crimson Tide has limited the opposition to less than 100 rushing yards 41 times, or 62.1 percent of the time. 

UPSHAW SACKS: Alabama linebacker Courtney Upshaw moved his season total to 8.5 sacks as he tallied two sacks in the win against Auburn. The 8.5 sacks are the most by a Crimson Tide player since Wallace Gilberry recorded 10 in 2007. Upshaw has now tallied 15.5 sacks over the last two seasons. Upshaw finished the game with 5 tackles, including 2 for losses of 13 yards. 

GAMES WITH AN INTERCEPTION: With the Dee Milliner interception that went for a touchdown against Auburn on November 26, Alabama has recorded at least one interception in nine of its 12 games this season. The Tide recorded an interception in 11 of the 13 games in 2010, putting together a run of 20 games with a pick in its last 25 outings. Eight different Tide players have tallied an interception in 2011, with Milliner leading the way with three. 

NON-OFFENSIVE TDs IN THE SABAN ERA: Dee Milliner's 35-yard interception return for a touchdown was the fifth non-offensive score on the season and third interception return for a touchdown on the year. It was the 25th overall since the Nick Saban era began in 2007. Dre Kirkpatrick's 55-yard blocked field goal return against Georgia Southern last weekend marked the fourth non-offensive touchdown of the 2011 season. Courtney Upshaw's 45-yard interception return at Florida on October 1, was Alabama's second interception return of the 2011 season, and the second in two weeks along with DeQuan Menzie's 25-yard interception return for a score against Arkansas. Since Saban took over as Alabama's head coach, the Crimson Tide has garnered 25 non-offensive touchdowns including 11 interception returns, 7 punt returns, 3 kickoff returns, 2 fumble returns and two blocked punt returns for a touchdown. 

ALABAMA-AUBURN SERIES: With the win Alabama holds a 41-34-1 lead in a series that dates back to the 1893 season. The Crimson Tide now stands 4-7-0 in games played at Auburn.

SABAN VERSUS AUBURN: Alabama head coach Nick Saban is now 5-5 in his career against the Auburn Tigers. Saban made his Alabama debut in the Nov. 24, 2007, Iron Bowl at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Saban was 2-3 against the Tigers while the head coach at LSU from 2000-04 and is now 3-2 while at the helm of the Crimson Tide. 

GAME CAPTAINS: Today's Alabama game captains were linebacker Dont'a Hightower, safety Mark Barron center William Vlachos and defensive tackle Josh Chapman. Auburn won the toss and elected to defer the opening kickoff. 

TIDE 48-3 UNDER SABAN WHEN LEADING AT THE HALF: With the win over Auburn, the Crimson Tide is 48-3 when leading at halftime under head coach Nick Saban.

Below are post game quotes from Alabama Coach Nick Saban:

Opening Statement…

"I don't think there are really any words to describe how proud I am of our players. The people in our organization that have worked so hard this year, all the players who made a commitment and have worked hard continuing to improve throughout the season, and certainly played the way we asked them. Challenged them for the best game of the season. It wasn't perfect, but it was one of the better games that we played on offense and defense. Really okay on special teams, except for kickoff returns, but that's something that we need to work on. I'm really pleased, happy and really proud of our players and coaches and people within the organization that make such a contribution to the success of this team this year. We have a lot of respect for Auburn, their team played hard today. Our guys played a tough game. We were fortunate today to come out on top. I'm really proud of the effort that they gave, and all of the work that they have done all year long. Our goal today was to play our best football game, and to play the best that we could play. I'm satisfied with what our players did. This team only lost one game in overtime to a very good team that is No. 1 right now. I think we have a great football team, a great bunch of young men who have done a wonderful job, and they have played some really dominant football on both sides of the ball."

On Vinnie Sunseri's play…

"Vinnie did a good job. He made a few mistakes, but he made adjustments. Their offense is very difficult to make adjustments for. I think he did a wonderful job out there today."

On SEC football…

"All I know is that after being in this league for 10 years, there are a lot of good football players, teams and programs. Competition in this league is very difficult. It's something great to be a part of. Anywhere you go it is going to be a difficult place to play in this conference. I would think that people would think that this is a very good conference." 

On team's improvement over the past three weeks…

"I think that the last three weeks we have improved a great deal. I was proud of the way our team played at Mississippi State. We had a lot of guys that were banged up. We have most of our guys back today, which was beneficial. Last week I thought we played well offensively. We were in a difficult circumstance on defense, and we probably did not do a good enough job as coaches getting our team ready. Today, I thought we played really well against a good Auburn team." 

On Trent Richardson…

"To me, Trent Richardson is the best football player in the country. You love saying that about someone who is such a good person, and someone who does so much to serve other people. He is a great teammate. He is a leader. He cares about everyone around him. His performance and production pretty much speak for itself. I will say this, he will be the first one to tell you that the offensive line does a pretty good job blocking up front, and that attributes to his success." 

On potentially playing for the BCS National Championship…

"I would be excited for our team if they had the opportunity to play for the National Championship. I think they deserve it, and I think they have worked hard. They have all made a tremendous commitment. We didn't do the things that we needed to do in the LSU game to win. If we got another opportunity to play whoever in the National Championship it would be great for the University of Alabama and all the people in our organization." 

Below are Alabama player quotes: 

Running Back Trent Richardson

On potentially solidifying the Heisman Trophy…

"I feel like the team did. They did a great job, the whole offensive line did a great job. The defense did a good job, too, keeping us on the field. I don't think it would have been as successful of a game without them. So I don't think I did it, but rather they did it."

 On the gratification after last year's game…

"We were in the same situation going into halftime, so we came into the locker room and we all told ourselves that we needed to make sure that we went out there and played. That is one thing we did. We acclimated ourselves going into the second half and that's why I think we played better." 

On possible rematch with LSU…

"I'll speak on my team's behalf; I don't think that the game is over. I already had some buddies at LSU call me and say ‘See you in New Orleans.' I can't wait to possibly meet them there again." 

On having more carries…

"Anything it takes to win. If that's what it takes to win, I will do it. I'm a team player and I will gladly stick my neck out for my team."  

Defensive Back Dre Kirkpatrick

On Vinnie Sunseri's first start at safety ...

"He played great. I told him to stay focused and that if he had any questions, ask me or Robert Lester." 

On the defense as a whole...

"We followed the fundamentals, and we did the things the coaches told us to do. We were able to react on what we saw and I felt that we did a great job overall."

Defensive Back Dee Milliner

On if LSU an Alabama are the two best teams in the nation...

"I think everyone knows that we are the two best teams. Both are great teams with good defenses." 

On his interception...

"Our defensive line did a great job. They were playing up and we were playing zone. After I got it my teammates made some great blocks for me, and I just ran it back."

On defense unit as a whole...

"We executed our game plan. We tried to make them one-dimensional by taking away the run and making them throw the ball and we did that." 

Quarterback A.J. McCarron

On the offense's play…

"All of the credit goes to my offensive line. They don't get any credit, they're always overlooked. They deserve the credit." 

On if Auburn's defensive game plan…

"When you have Trent Richardson in the backfield, they're going to try and take away the run. It's nothing that we haven't seen all year." 

On importance of winning against Auburn…

"We definitely had to win this game. We knew what was at stake. We just had to come out and play our game and that's what we did. If we wanted a chance at getting back to the national championship, then we had to win this game, and that's what we did." 

On if Alabama deserves to play in the BCS National Championship…

"If you're a team in our situation, who wouldn't think they deserve to play in the national championship? As a team, we think we deserve it, and hopefully we get the nod to do so." 

Below are Auburn player quotes: 

Defensive End Corey Lemonier

On emotion of the team…

"We had our ups and downs.  Alabama did a great job of tracking us.  Their running game was successful.  We have to use this as fuel for next year and for the bowl game." 

On forcing fumble in the first half…

"I was just trying to make a play. That's my job.  That's why I'm here.  We've got to get this nasty taste out of our mouth.  When we get to the bowl game, we'll expect to dominate." 

Defensive Tackle Jeffrey Whitaker

On his performance today…

"This is 365 days of not getting the taste out of your mouth.  You can't go out there and get a win and forget about it. It's very personal.  The deal is you embrace it, remember it and don't let it happen again." 

On time until bowl game…

"I'm going to work on stepping up my leadership heading into next year and getting my body right.  At the end of the offseason, it will be the best shape I've been in in my career. As far as the defensive line, we are all coming back next year. We are one big family.  We just want to work on making it better." 

On the Alabama offensive line…

"They were very tough – very physical.  I'm not going to say they put in more effort than we did.  Hats off to them.  They played a great game." 

Quarterback Kiehl Frazier

On today's game…

"We have a lot to work on. We just have to regroup for our bowl game and end this season with a win." 

On the offense's slow start…

"They are a really good defense. They are No. 2 in the country, so we knew it was going to be tough." 

On what needs to be improved for the bowl game…

"I don't think we need to work on anything specifically. We just need to improve our entire game plan. We know what we have to do to make sure we win our next game." 

Running Back Onterio McCalebb

On today's game…

"We went out and practiced hard all week, and we never stopped battling tonight. Alabama has a great team. We have to put this one behind us and get ready for the bowl game." 

On trying to get into an offensive rhythm…

"We tried to deal with what we could. We tried to come out and get a victory, but we were cut short." 

On his 83-yard kickoff return for a touchdown…

"Coach Boulware made the right decision with the play call. We knew we had to execute. Once I saw the hole, I hit it, and after that, I knew nobody could catch me." 

Offensive Lineman Brandon Mosley

On today's game…

"Alabama is a great team. You have to give them credit for what they did. They have a great offense and a great defense. Our defense came to play today, and the offense didn't execute as much as we would have liked to." 

On the offense's performance…

"It made it really tough going three-and-out as much as we did. It was tough." 

On playing his last game in Jordan-Hare Stadium…

"I just feel blessed to be here. I don't regret my decision to come here. It was the best decision for me coming out of junior college. I love it here. I will always be an Auburn man, that's for sure." 

Quarterback Clint Moseley

On his 39 yard punt…

"As a quarterback, when the bright spot of your day is a punt, it's never a good thing." 

On the flow of the game…

"They're a really good team, we knew that coming in. We played really hard at the beginning. Our defense played great and kept us in the game. We couldn't get much going on offense. Coming out in the second half the kickoff return got us back in the game we got our momentum. Unfortunately we could never capitalize on it. That's has to happen when you play good teams you must capitalize on every opportunity, and we didn't." 

Linebacker Eltoro Freeman

On the loss to Alabama…

"I think everybody played hard. We obviously missed out some, which allowed big plays to occur. It cost us early and at the end of the game. We had a chance and a good opportunity to come back. We allowed that big run at the beginning of the game, we allowed big pass plays. Other than that I think everybody gave great effort, the game just didn't go our way." 

On the second half adjustments…

"Our No. 1 goal at the beginning of the game was to stop the run and as a whole we thought we could do that. As far as passing, they got big plays on that. I'm disappointed in the rushing defense, like I said when you blow that long run you're disappointed in that. But other than that I think the defense had a solid game. Except we didn't contain the big plays and the big plays got us." 

On his performance tonight…

"It was average. I think I could have done better. I gave my teammates all I had. I went out there and played hard and tried to make a difference. I fault myself, I had an opportunity to make the tackle on that long run but I missed the tackle and I have to make those plays. But we didn't win the game so it doesn't matter how I played."

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