This was probably my favorite play of the game to break down. Keep in mind that, at this point, Cam Robinson left the game due to a shoulder injury so Austin Shepherd (#79) was forced to move from right tackle to left tackle. The footwork at left tackle is completely different than when you are on the right side so what Austin Shepherd did here was remarkable.
In the first slide, you can see the end zone look at Alabama’s formation and you can see how Auburn matched up against it. Auburn’s Jonathan Mincy (#6) is responsible for containing the left edge and to do that, he’ll have to take on big Jalston Fowler. Spoiler alert – Mincy will lose this battle. Mincy is in the white jersey furthest to the left.
In this next slide, you can begin to see how this play is going to unfold. Fowler will kick Mincy outside, creating the outside of Derrick Henry’s running lane. Brandon Greene, playing the role of a 300 lb tight end, is assigned to the defensive end directly across from him and Greene does a lovely job of turning his man to the inside. While Green performs his block, Austin Shepherd pulls around to lead Henry into the hole.
Here’s the sideline view of the play as it begins to take shape. Notice that Shepherd is working his way around the block of Greene at the tight end position. Mincy is in good shape here but Fowler will take care of that very soon.
This is where things get fun. At the bottom of the screen, Fowler has locked up on Mincy. Shepherd (circled) has maneuvered around Greene’s block and has an angle on the Auburn linebacker who is in pursuit. With the linebacker and safety coming up to attack the hole and Austin Shepherd, things look good here for Auburn to stop this play. But, notice that Fowler and Greene have engaged in their blocks very, very well. The only two Tigers who can stop this play are in the path of our converted right tackle…
Here, you can see the running lane that Henry used to score from 25 yards out. Fowler is holding his block on Mincy and Shepherd takes out the two Auburn defenders in one fell swoop. The result – TOUCHDOWN!
This was a beautifully blocked play and was the final death knell to the Auburn Tigers.