TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) – Jalen Hurts rebounded from two early interceptions to pass for 286 yards and No. 1 Alabama’s defense did the rest in a 30-12 victory Saturday over No. 16 Auburn.
The Crimson Tide (12-0, 8-0 Southeastern Conference, No. 1 CFP) led just 13-9 at halftime, dominating the stat sheet but only taking over the scoreboard in the second half. The defense pushed its string of quarters without allowing a touchdown to 14-plus.
Auburn (8-4, 5-3, No. 15) failed to muster much offense for the second straight SEC game, this time playing without injured quarterback Sean White.
Hurts displayed the same poise in overcoming two first-half interceptions that have helped him lead the Tide into the SEC championship game. He completed 27-of-36 mostly short and mid-range passes and threw for two touchdowns. Alabama has won three straight Iron Bowls for the first time since 1990-92.
Hurts also ran for 37 yards and a touchdown, leading two straight touchdown drives in the third quarter to all but put the game away after a mistake-filled first half.
He ran for a 4-yard score on a drive sparked by four Bo Scarbrough runs. On a fourth-and-4 play, he hit ArDarius Stewart, who spun away from a defender and made another move downfield en route to a 38-yard touchdown and a 27-9 lead.
Stewart gained 127 yards on 10 catches and Scarbrough ran for 90 yards.
Auburn quarterback sub Jeremy Johnson completed 4 of 13 passes for 34 yards. The Tide dominated in total yards, 501-182.
Daniel Carlson connected on four field goals for Auburn.
Auburn didn’t get a first down until nearly 25 minutes into the game and continues to have no passing game without a healthy White. Leading rusher Kamryn Pettway ran 12 times for just 17 yards after missing the past two games with a leg injury.
Alabama still has to get more going in the downfield passing game but remains dominant on defense.
Alabama seems unlikely to drop from No. 1 in AP poll or playoff rankings, but No. 2 Ohio State could at least close ground after a double-overtime win over No. 3 Michigan. Auburn could fall from the top 20 after a second straight punchless offensive performance in SEC games.
Auburn awaits its bowl destination.
Alabama faces No. 13 Florida in the SEC championship game for the second straight year.