Alabama Football and Derrick Henry Run Past Auburn, 29-13
- rolltide.com
November 28, 2015


 
Tim Williams and Jonathan Allen team up for a sack on Jeremy Johnson of Auburn.
Photo Credit - Vasha Hunt/vhunt@al.com
AUBURN, Ala. - University of Alabama running back Derrick Henry rushed for 271 yards and a touchdown on a school-record 46 carries to lead the Crimson Tide (11-1 overall; 7-1 in the Southeastern Conference) to a 29-13 over the Auburn Tigers (6-6 overall; 2-6 in the SEC) Saturday afternoon before a capacity crowd of 87,451 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The victory gave the Crimson Tide the SEC's Western Division title and earned Alabama a berth in the SEC Championship Game against the Florida Gators next Saturday, December 5, in Atlanta's Georgia Dome.

With the game on the line in the final quarter, Henry rushed 19 times for 114 yards in the fourth quarter alone to lead the Tide out of a tense situation in which they were clinging to a 19-13 lead midway through the period. After Alabama took a 22-13 lead on Adam Griffith's fifth field goal of the game with 10:04 left, Henry carried on every Crimson Tide snap the rest of the way, carrying the ball on 14 consecutive plays to close out the game. Henry's totals stand as the third-most rushing yards in a game by any Alabama back, and his yardage is the most ever gained by an Auburn opponent.

In addition to Henry's heroics, Alabama's offense was keyed by an accurate passing performance by quarterback Jake Coker, who completed 17 of 26 attempts for 179 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver ArDarius Stewart caught a game-high eight catches for 81 yards and a score while wideout Calvin Ridley had 90 yards receiving on six catches. Griffith made good on all five field goal attempts in the game, the most by a Tide kicker in four seasons. The Alabama defense permitted only one big play in the game while limiting the explosive Tigers offense to 260 total yards (169 passing, 91 rushing).

Alabama outgained Auburn, 465 to 260, while the Tide rushed for 286 yards and passed for 179. The Tide notched 24 first downs to Auburn's 12, limited the Tigers to 3-of-15 on third downs, and had the ball for 35 minutes, 23 seconds, compared to Auburn's 24:37. Safety Geno Matias-Smith led the Tide with eight tackles and a forced fumble. Linebacker Reuben Foster had six stops, a pass breakup and a quarterback hurry, while Tide cornerback Marlon Humphrey had six tackles on the night. Linebacker Reggie Ragland had five stops while directing the Tide defense on the field.

Alabama broke on top early with a field goal to cap its first offensive possession of the game. The Tide marched 48 yards in eight plays to the Auburn 9 where Adam Griffith entered to kick a 26-yard field goal, giving Alabama a 3-0 lead with 11:28 on the clock. Henry carried four times for 36 yards on the march, keying the drive with a 30-yard run to the Auburn 14. Stewart caught three passes for 12 yards on the opening drive. Auburn struck right back, moving 68 yards in nine plays to a 24-yard field goal by Daniel Carlson that tied the game at 3-3 with 7:35 on the clock. Auburn took the lead on its next series, a seven-play, 22-yard drive that stalled at the Tide 27. From there, Carlson entered to kick a 44-yard field goal that gave Auburn a 6-3 lead with 1:49 on the clock. The Tide came right back with a field goal to tie it, this one a 41-yarder by Griffith with 11:47 left to knot the score at 6-6. Henry carried seven times for 51 yards on the 14-play drive that covered 67 yards.

The Tide moved 55 yards in 5 plays to take the lead early in the second quarter, highlighted by a 46-yard pass from Coker to Ridley, who made an outstanding catch in double coverage at the Tiger 5. Alabama settled for a third field goal, this one a 26-yarder by Griffith, for a 9-6 lead with 6:58 left in the half. After an Auburn drive ended in a missed 48-yard field goal with 1:24 left, Alabama moved quickly. ArDarius Stewart made a spectacular leaping catch for a 17-yard gain on the first play, then Henry took a handoff around right tackle for 15 yards to the Auburn 36. After Henry gained three on a rush up the middle, two incompletions forced a 50-yard field goal try by Griffith. Griffith nailed it for his fourth of the half to give the Tide a 12-6 lead with 24 seconds left.

Alabama lengthened its lead late in the third period, moving 85 yards in nine plays to a touchdown on an impressive 34-yard pass from Coker to Stewart with 5:14 on the clock. Under a heavy rush, Coker left the pocket and evaded two rushers before firing a dart on the run to Stewart in the end zone. Griffith's kick gave Alabama a 19-6 lead with 5:14 left in the third quarter. But Auburn retaliated quickly, as quarterback Jeremy Johnson hit wide receiver Jason Smith on a 77-yard touchdown pass on a third and long play in which Smith bobbled the ball twice into the air before hauling it in and racing untouched to the end zone. With the point-after kick by Carlson, Alabama's lead was trimmed to 19-13 with 4:27 left in the third period.

On a first down at the Tide 35, Coker was flushed from the pocket and rushed to the sidelines for a one-yard gain. A 15-yard personal foul was called on Auburn safety Johnathan Ford for a late hit on Coker as he exited the field. Another 15-yard penalty was assessed to Auburn for unsportsmanlike conduct after that play, moving the ball to the Auburn 34. Three plays later, Griffith kicked a 47-yard field goal to give the Tide a 22-13 lead with 10:04 left in the fourth period.

After forcing an Auburn punt, Alabama took over possession with 7:49 left at its own 18. Henry and the Tide offensive line took over from there, beginning with a 16-yard gain on the first play and giving the ball to Henry 14 consecutive times. The first 10 of those plays ended when Henry was stopped on a fourth-and-one play at the Auburn 31 with 2:46 left. After Auburn was stuffed on the next possession, Alabama took over again at the Tiger 34. Henry carried the next four plays, closing it out with a 25-yard burst around right end for the clinching touchdown with 26 seconds left in the game.

Alabama continues its season Saturday, Dec. 5, in the 2015 SEC Championship Game against the Florida Gators. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. Eastern Time in Atlanta (3 p.m. Central Time) and the game will be televised by CBS Sports.



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