Nick Saban admits Auburn game served as a 'reality check' for Alabama

Grant Grubbsby:Grant Grubbs11/27/23


Nick Saban recaps 27-24 win at Auburn | Alabama Football

Auburn was one play away from erasing Alabama’s College Football Playoff hopes. On Monday, Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban reflected on his team’s pivotal 27-24 win over Auburn in the Iron Bowl.

“I went to church yesterday. The first thing I said was, ‘Thank God what could have happened didn’t happen,'” Saban said. “A little bit of a reality check. One of the things that we wanted to do in the game was channel our passion and our energy into positive execution on the field.

“When we did that, we played really, really well. But, there were some times where we didn’t, and it was very costly in terms of some of the errors that we made, whether they were penalties or mistakes on defense.”

Alabama committed eight penalties in the narrow victory, knocking the team back 72 total yards. The Crimson Tide’s mistakes culminated into a horrible position. With just over 30 seconds left on the clock, Alabama trailed Auburn 24-20.

Due to several mental lapses, including a missed snap, the Crimson Tide were fourth and goal from the 31-yard line. Nonetheless, after what seemed like an eternity, quarterback Jalen Milroe found wide receiver Isaiah Bond in the end zone to give Alabama the lead. Auburn failed to return the favor.

Nick Saban uses close call as motivation

The snag woke Alabama from its nightmare scenario. Saban doesn’t plan on allowing another team to catch his team sleepwalking.

“The reality check part comes from taking the good things and building on them and getting some of these other things corrected,” Saban said. “You’re having the opportunity to play in the SEC championship game.

“I’m very, very proud of this team for the progress that they’ve made, the work that they’ve done to give themselves an opportunity to play in the SEC championship game. This is one of the most competitive best venues in college football, and we’re obviously playing one of the best teams in college football.”

Georgia will be a far tougher matchup than Auburn, not that Saban needs any reminders. The two programs last met in the national championship on Jan. 10, 2022. Georgia defeated Alabama 33-18.

The victory was revenge for Alabama’s 41-24 triumph over UGA in the SEC Championship just over a month earlier. Georgia has not lost a game since. Alabama will look to put a leash on the Bulldogs this weekend.

On Saturday, the two teams will clash at 4 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast on CBS.