AJ McCarron passed for four touchdowns and Eddie Lacy rushed for 131 yards and two scores to lead the Crimson Tide to a 49-0 beatdown of rival Auburn on Saturday in the most lopsided Iron Bowl in 64 years.
The Crimson Tide (10-1, 7-1 Southeastern Conference) clinched the Western Division title outright and a spot in the conference title game against No. 3 Georgia with the winner likely getting a national championship shot.
None of that will come as easily as this one. Auburn (3-9, 0-8) completed the worst season for any team within two years of winning an Associated Press national title in what might have been the last game for embattled coach Gene Chizik.
University President Jay Gogue has only said he’ll evaluate the program at season’s end. That end came in a painful way for the Tigers.
Chizik met Tide coach Nick Saban briefly at midfield, hugged McCarron, and walked off the field with cameras following his every move.
“Obviously that was a very disappointing loss, embarrassing loss to our state rivals,” Chizik said. “It was obvious to everybody. It was a sad performance.”
“The Auburn fans, the Auburn alumni, don’t deserve that.”
NO. 9 TEXAS A&M 59, MISSOURI 29
In College Station, Texas, Johnny Manziel threw for 372 yards and three touchdowns and ran for two more scores as Texas A&M beat Missouri.
The Aggies (10-2, 6-2 SEC) scored touchdowns on their first six drives to build a 42-7 halftime lead and coast to their first 10-win season since 1998.
About the only drama in this one came when Manziel, the Heisman Trophy hopeful, was shaken up on a tackle at the end of a run in the first quarter.
But Johnny Football missed just four plays before returning with a brace on his left knee. And it didn’t seem to slow him down one bit.
The Aggies were up 21-0 when he returned, and he threw touchdown passes on three consecutive possessions to end the first half.
Missouri (5-7, 2-6) won’t make a bowl game in its first SEC season.
MISSISSIPPI 41, NO. 25 MISSISSIPPI STATE 24
In Oxford, Miss., Bo Wallace threw for 294 yards and five touchdowns, Donte Moncrief caught three TD passes and Mississippi pulled away in the second half to beat Mississippi State.
Ole Miss (6-6, 3-5 Southeastern Conference) won the Egg Bowl for the first time since 2008, breaking Mississippi State’s three-game winning streak in the series. The Rebels also earned bowl eligibility.
Moncrief caught seven passes for 173 yards and tied a school record with three receiving touchdowns.
VANDERBILT 55, WAKE FOREST 21
In Winston-Salem, N.C., Jordan Rodgers threw for 229 yards and two touchdowns, and Zac Stacy ran for a season-high 180 yards and two scores as Vanderbilt (8-4) routed Wake Forest (5-7).
It was Vanderbilt's sixth consecutive victory, the school's longest winning streak since 1955.
Vanderbilt scored touchdowns on four of its first five possessions to take a 28-7 lead at halftime and never looked back. Wesley Tate added two scores, and Jordan Matthews had 10 catches for 144 yards in the first half, including a 64-yard touchdown reception from Rodgers.
Wake Forest (5-7) needed a win to become bowl eligible for the second consecutive season but struggled slowing down the stretch, losing to North Carolina State, Notre Dame and Vanderbilt.
TENNESSEE 37, KENTUCKY 17
In Knoxville, Tenn., Tyler Bray threw four touchdown passes without an interception as Tennessee (5-7, 1-7 SEC) defeated Kentucky (2-10, 0-8) to assure that the Volunteers wouldn’t go winless in Southeastern Conference competition for the first time in school history.
Bray went 20 of 34 for 293 yards and threw touchdown passes to four different receivers. He passed for 3,612 yards and 34 touchdowns this season, the second-highest yearly total by any Tennessee quarterback in either category. Peyton Manning threw for 3,819 yards and 36 touchdowns in 1997.
This season finale between two of the SEC’s worst teams pitted a lame-duck coach (Kentucky’s Joker Phillips) against an interim head coach (Tennessee’s Jim Chaney). The game drew an announced crowd of 81,841 at Neyland Stadium, though it appeared there weren’t more than 60,000 fans actually in attendance.