Hugh Freeze Nov 25, 2023; Auburn, Alabama, USA; Auburn Tigers head coach Hugh Freeze talks with game officials during a timeout in the third quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

The Auburn Tigers suffered an absolutely brutal loss in the Iron Bowl this weekend when the Alabama Crimson Tide scored a go-ahead touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the 31-yard line on a pass from quarterback Jalen Milroe. Auburn decided not to blitz Milroe on the play, giving him plenty of time to make the throw, but head coach Hugh Freeze defended that decision.

“I mean, second guess it. Just got to play with vision and we got nine guys back there and just play with vision and make a play on the ball and knock it down. And you know, he felt like he was shoved off, but I couldn’t tell, but you know mean you can pressure him and then you got one on ones and they throw it up. You can do that if you want, or you can play. I like the call. Just got to just sit back there with vision and knock the ball down,” Freeze said according to On3.

“Proud of the way our kids fought and prepared. That’s the way an Auburn Tiger should do it every single week. Obviously, it’s a little easier when you’re playing in this magnificent, awesome rivalry. But it makes the hurt that much more when you don’t get it done. But I’m proud of the way that they fought and bounced back and I thought they executed our plan pretty well and gave us gave us a chance to win the game.”

Ultimately, hindsight is 20-20 in situations like that. Had Alabama failed to score, nobody would have questioned the decision not to put pressure on Milroe. Instead, it will go down as another iconic moment in the storied rivalry.