Saban proud of top-ranked Tide after yelling occasionally at his TV

AP photo by Mickey Welsh / Alabama defensive back Daniel Wright tackles Auburn running back Tank Bigsby during Saturday's Iron Bowl rivalry clash in Tuscaloosa.

It was going to take a lot more than Nick Saban's absence due to a positive coronavirus test for top-ranked Alabama to lose this season's Iron Bowl.

With college football's premier coach watching from his Tuscaloosa residence, the Crimson Tide used five Mac Jones touchdown passes to rout No. 22 Auburn 42-13 before a socially distanced crowd of 19,424 Saturday afternoon at Bryant-Denny Stadium. DeVonta Smith caught two of the scoring tosses from Jones, including a 58-yarder at the 9:08 mark of the third quarter that made it 28-6 and extinguished the already thin hopes of Tigers eighth-year coach Gus Malzahn of squaring his Iron Bowl record at 4-4.

Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, a former head coach at Washington and Southern California, filled in for Saban and led the Tide to their most resounding Iron Bowl win since a 49-0 blanking in 2012 that served as the abrupt end of Auburn's Gene Chizik era.