Jason Smith

Associated Press

Derrick Henry carries No. 2 Alabama past Auburn, into SEC Championship

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His team called, and he answered. It called and it called and it called again, and every time he answered. Derrick Henry rushed 46 times for 271 yards to lead No. 2 Alabama past Auburn 29-13 Saturday evening in the Iron Bowl. The win sends Alabama to the SEC Championship for the second consecutive year and fifth time under head coach Nick Saban.

After a field goal exhibition in the first half, Alabama found paydirt first on a 34-yard scoring strike from Jake Coker to ArDarius Stewart, pushing the lead to 19-6 with 5:14 remaining in the third quarter.

Auburn immediately responded when Jeremy Johnson hit Jason Smith for a Ricardo Louis-style tipped 77-yard touchdown pass.

Alabama pushed the lead back to two scores with another Griffith field goal — his fifth of the day — from 47 yards out with 10:04 remaining.

The Tide forced a punt after Griffith’s field goal, then consumed more than five minutes in a 10-play, 51-yard drive that was mostly all Henry. Auburn eventually forced a turnover on downs on a 4th-and-1 at the Auburn 31, but immediately gave the ball back when Johnson threw a three-yard completion to Peyton Barber and three straight incompletions to Melvin Ray, the final a drop that hit an open Ray right in the hands with 2:09 remaining.

The win sends Alabama (11-1, 7-1 SEC) to the SEC Championship for the second consecutive year, the third time in their last four years and fifth time since 2008. Overall, this will be the Tide’s 10th SEC Championship appearance and eighth time opposite East champion Florida. Alabama is 3-4 in the previous seven meetings.

Auburn closes its regular season at 6-6 and a dead-last 2-6 in the SEC West. No team has see-sawed this decade like the Tigers, with their two SEC championships in the last six seasons but two last place finishes in the SEC West since 2012. The loss drops the Tigers to 2-9 in their last 11 games against SEC competition.

Whew Pig Sooie! Arkansas tops Auburn in fourth overtime, 54-46

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It looked as though Arkansas (3-4, 2-2 SEC) had a win over Auburn (4-3, 1-3 SEC) all but locked up, but a late Tigers field goal led to the teams having to settle the score in overtime. Four overtimes, in fact. After matching touchdown for touchdown through the first three overtime sessions, Arkansas took a 54-46 lead on a Brandon Allen touchdown pass to Drew Morgan on the first play of the fourth overtime. After a successful two-point conversion, Auburn’s offense finally ran out of luck and came up empty to go home with a loss.

Auburn’s final overtime possession saw the Tigers try for the end zone on two straight plays on second and third down despite needing nine yards for a first down. A fourth down pass fell incomplete over the middle.

Arkansas took a 14-0 lead in the first half, but Auburn put together a late 95-yard touchdown drive capped by a short run by Peyton Barber to get on the scoreboard. Auburn then tied the game up on the opening possession of the second half when Jason Smith ran for a nine-yard score at the end of a 75-yard drive. Momentum was officially in the hands of Auburn, but there was still a lot of football to be played.

Arkansas regained the lead later in the third quarter, but not without some concern for a teammate. Rawleigh Williams was carted off the field and taken to a nearby hospital for medical attention after taking a big hit to his upper body. Doctors appeared to be focusing on the neck of Williams, but he was conscious and had mobility in his appendages on the sideline as he was taken out of the stadium. After a pause in gameplay, Arkansas handed the ball to Alex Collins, who finished off the drive with a go-ahead touchdown, his first score of the game to give the Razorbacks a 21-14 lead.

In the fourth quarter Auburn once again put together a masterful scoring drive, this one starting from their seven-yard line. A mix of runs by Barber and passes from Sean White moved the Tigers to the Arkansas seven-yard line, but the Razorbacks stood firm at the one-yard line on a third down run by Barber. Still with plenty of time to play, Gus Malzahn took a calculated risk knowing Arkansas can run the clock as well as any team can. Going for a touchdown on the one-yard line was a must, and it paid off. Jeremy Johnson got the call and he pushed across the goal line for a game-tying score.

With the win, Arkansas manages to keep some slim postseason hopes alive. A loss would have meant Arkansas would have to win four of the final five games of the year. Still on the schedule for Arkansas are games with Ole Miss, LSU, Mississippi State and Missouri. Picking up three wins in that stretch would be difficult (Arkansas also hosts University of Tennessee-Martin, which should be an assumed win). Arkansas still faces an uphill climb, but it is a bit more manageable now than it would have been with a loss.

Auburn continues to slide and is starting to lose its margin for error to get to the postseason. Auburn must still win two games but has games against Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Georgia, Idaho and Alabama remaining. That could be a brutal stretch to end the season, but picking up two wins along the way is still very much attainable for the Tigers.