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Friday, December 1, 2023

Could NMSU loss make Auburn more dangerous vs. Alabama in Iron Bowl?

When Alabama football visits Auburn for Saturday’s Iron Bowl, it will be against reeling team. The Tigers lost a stunner this past week, with New Mexico State coming to Jordan-Hare Stadium and leaving with a 31-10 win.

It was a loss that Auburn head coach Hugh Freeze said put his team into a “fog” entering the Alabama game. But occasionally, a loss can galvanize a team, bring a group together entering the next week.

On Monday, Nick Saban was asked how a crushing loss can impact the next week’s game.

“I can’t answer that,” Saban said. “I just can’t answer that. You’d be better served to ask them that question. I think everybody pays attention when things don’t go well, and they want to get it right. I have enough respect, and we have enough respect, that they’ll probably do the same.”

They’ve been few, but Alabama has suffered tough losses under Saban before. In 2007, his first season in Tuscaloosa, the Tide lost to Louisiana-Monroe.

That loss didn’t do enough to wake Alabama up, and UA went to Auburn and lost 17-10 the next week. Freeze and company will look to avoid a similar result this week against a Crimson Tide team that will be heavily favored.

“We’ve quickly got to turn the page and put that behind us for sure, because we all know what the Iron Bowl means to so many. And you can fix your feelings a whole heck of a lot with a good performance in that game”

The Crimson Tide has a chance to cap off a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since Paul “Bear” Bryant was coaching Alabama. UA won the Iron Bowl each year from 1973 through 1981, but hasn’t won four in a row since.

Saban has won the game three consecutive times twice, counting the current streak. On Monday, Alabama senior safety Malachi Moore, who is undefeated against the Tigers, spoke about the chance to complete a four-year sweep.

“It would definitely be big just to go 4-0 against them,” Moore said. “It’s something that we take pride in here just because, we never want to lose a game first of all, but second of all it’s a rivalry and we’re just going to go out there and compete and do our best to have fun out there.”

Regardless of Auburn’s most recent result, the Tide understood it’s going to get the Tigers’ best shot on Saturday.

“I don’t think that anybody needs to pay attention to what happened in the past, what happened in the last game, what somebody’s record is,” Saban said. “Anytime you play in a rivalry game it’s going to be a highly competitive, tough, very physical game, that’s what everybody needs to get ready for.”

Alabama and Auburn are scheduled to kick off at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. The game will be aired on CBS.

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