Bryce Young threw a two-point scoring strike to John Metchie in the fourth overtime and Alabama’s defense of its national championship remained alive Saturday after the Crimson Tide beat Auburn, 24-22.
Alabama, ranked No. 2 in the USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches Poll, won the first Iron Bowl to go to overtime and must beat No. 1 Georgia next Saturday in the SEC championship to make the College Football Playoff.
The teams traded scores in the first overtime with Bryce Young throwing a six-yard touchdown pass to Slade Bolden and Landen King catching a five-yard strike from TJ Finley.
Both teams kicked field goals and converted their two-point attempts starting in the third overtime to extend the game. Finley throw an incompletion to start the fourth extra period.
The heated rivals had trouble getting going offensively. The first 10 times both teams had the ball in the first half, resulted in a punt.
Young threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Ja’Corey Brooks tying the score at 10 with 24 seconds left, leading a 13-play, 97-yard drive that took just 1:11 off the clock.
On Auburn’s sixth possession, the Tigers opened the scoring when T.J. Finley threw a quick screen pass to his left to Kobe Hudson, who ran past a falling defender and broke another tackle, scoring from 15 yards out.
Auburn (6-6, 3-5) pushed the lead to 10-0 on a 33-yard field goal in the third quarter.
Young, who entered the game as a Heisman Trophy candidate, was under pressure all game and finished 25 for 51 for 317 yards, was sacked seven times and intercepted once.
The miscues from the Tide, as well as a lack of a running game, haunted them. They had a punt blocked, had a 38-yard field goal attempt fail when the snap was fumbled by the holder, wasting a 12-play, 61 yard drive in the third quarter and were penalized 11 times for 129 yards.
Alabama finally got on the scoreboard with 8:44 left after Will Reichard’s 30-yard field goal following an interception by Josh Jobe.
Finley got the start for Auburn after the Tigers lost starter Bo Nix to a broken ankle during a 43-34 loss to Mississippi State after Auburn blew a 25-point lead. He threw for 137 yards and was sacked five times after hobbling around with his own ankle injury.
Follow Scooby Axson on Twitter @ScoobAxson
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Alabama nips Auburn in 4OT, keeps College Football Playoff hopes alive