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QB Mac Jones couldn’t deliver Iron Bowl win for Alabama

Alabama’s hopes of reaching the College Football Playoffs rested on the shoulders of quarterback Mac Jones.

When the Crimson Tide needed Jones the most against Auburn down on the Plains, he crumbled under pressure.

We all know that the Crimson Tide fell 48-45 on two huge plays: Joseph Bulovas’ 30-yard field goal clanged off the left upright with two minutes remaining and an illegal substituion penalty in the closing minute on fourth and four.

If Jones had performed better, those two moments wouldn’t have mattered. He got outplayed by Auburn quarterback Bo Nix.

At first glance, Jones posted solid numbers. He completed 26 of 39 passes for 335 yards and four touchdowns.

But Jones also threw two interceptions and Auburn returned both for touchdowns. Take away one Pick-Six, Alabama wins and stays alive in the playoff chase until the pairings are announced on Dec. 8.

Instead, Alabama (10-2, 6-2) will play in a meaningless New Year’s Six Bowl game.

I told anyone who would listen that Auburn would win, mainly because Jones couldn’t fill the void left by All-American quarterback Tua Tagavailoa.

The Iron Bowl came up during conversation at Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends. They had faith in Jones, but I didn’t. If Bozo the Clown was Alabama’s starting quarterback, they would believe in him too.

I’ll give Jones credit for taking the blame after the game, and he should. Jones  couldn’t handle the pressure of delivering an Iron Bowl win. Jones had four NFL receivers and a running back at his disposal, but stumbled.

I saw several remarks on social media if Jalen Hurts were still at Alabama, the Crimson Tide would’ve won. Those people need to get a life and move to Norman, Oklahoma and be with the Oklahoma Sooners’ starting signal-caller.

I guess they forgot Hurts stumbled at Jordan-Hare Stadium two years ago and eventually watched from the sidelines in the national title game as Tua led the Crimson Tide to the championship.

Going forward, I see two major developments from what will be a Classic Iron Bowl.

One, I wouldn’t be surprised if wide receivers Henry Ruggs III, Devonta Smith and Jerry Jeudy and running back Najee Harris all decide to declare for the NFL Draft and not play in Alabama’s bowl game. I’m also expecting Tua to turn pro as he heals from a dislocated hip.

Two, Jones may have missed out on his chance to become the Crimson Tide’s starting quarterback next year. A win over the Tigers would have gone a long away toward him starting. I’m expecting incoming freshman Bryce Young or Taulia Tagovailoa to succeed Tua.

Jones had an opportunity to make himself an Iron Bowl legend, but he came up short in the closing minutes.