Auburn running back Tank Bigsby made a tough mental mistake late in Saturday’s Iron Bowl that wound up costing his team dearly.
The Tigers were clinging to a 10-3 lead over Alabama with 1:54 remaining in regulation, and they were trying to run out the clock. Alabama had only two timeouts remaining, so a first down would have essentially ended the game. That looked out of reach after Auburn lost one yard on first down.
On 2nd-and-11, however, Bigsby came up with a pretty big play. He managed to find space and picked up 10 yards, setting up a 3rd-and-1. There was just one problem — Alabama did a fine job ushering Bigsby out of bounds. That stopped the clock and saved Alabama a timeout, as Bigsby was unable to go down in bounds.
That would not have mattered that much had Auburn converted on 3rd-and-1, but Bigsby was stuffed for a four-yard loss. Auburn had to punt, which set up a game-tying touchdown drive for Alabama.
Auburn’s punt came with 1:43 left in regulation. Had Bigsby stayed in bounds, the Tigers could have run roughly 40 more seconds off the clock. That led a lot of people to criticize Bigsby for hurting Auburn’s cause despite the yardage.
All Tank Bigsby had to do was stay in bounds….
— Boomer *Kansas Beat Texas in Football* Beamer (@ImDerBatman) November 28, 2021
And I’m thinking about Tank Bigsby running out of bounds on Auburn’s last possession. That just can’t happen.
— Justin Hokanson (@_JHokanson) November 28, 2021
Tank Bigsby was clearly trying to hold up and stay in bounds. But you gotta slide in that situation. Ouch.
— Mike Farrell (@rivalsmike) November 28, 2021
They're going to sell epic paintings of Tank Bigsby running out of bounds.
— Matt Hinton (@MattRHinton) November 28, 2021
Bigsby was in a really tough spot. He was only a yard short of the first down and seemed to want to go down, but simply couldn’t. It would have been moot with a better 3rd-and-1 play, too.
Alabama ended up beating Auburn 24-22 in four overtime periods. Fairly or not, Bigsby will have fingers pointed at him for opening the door for the Crimson Tide offense.