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Game of the week

NO. 8 ALABAMA (9-1) AT NO. 12 AUBURN (8-2)

Today, 1:30 p.m.

Jordan-Hare Stadium

TV: Ch. 2

Last week: Alabama lost at home to LSU, 16-13, in overtime. Auburn won at Georgia, 31-30.

Last meeting: Auburn won, 21-13, last year.

At stake: Winner stays alive in hunt for SEC West title.

Players to watch: RB Ken Darby (104 rushing last week) is only fourth player in UA history to rush for 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons . . . RB Kenny Irons (leads SEC with 1,102 rushing, 11 TDs) ground out 179 tough yards, 2 TDs and faces even tougher challenge vs. Tide front seven.

Extra points: Bitter Iron Bowl rivalry features both schools ranked for first time since 1995 . . . Sputtering offense (35 points scored in last four SEC games) finally ended Tide's national title dreams last week as QB Brodie Croyle was sacked 5 times . . . Alabama defense (lead nation in scoring, 9.0 ppg, third in total defense, 247.5 ypg, 1 TD allowed in last 18 quarters) remains imposing . . . Tigers look for first four-game winning streak over Tide since 1986-89 . . . In hostile environment, QB Brandon Cox was impressive 16-of-28 for 279 yards last week, with none bigger than 62-yard connection to WR Devin Aromashodu on 4th-and-11 in final minute to set up John Vaughn's game-winning 20-yard FG with six seconds left.