AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn fans blanketed the field from end zone to end zone just like the last time they got to celebrate a stirring Iron Bowl win.
This time, Jarrett Stidham, Kerryon Johnson and No. 6 Auburn didn’t need a miraculous final play to unleash the celebration. Johnson threw a jump pass for a touchdown and ran for a score as the Tigers beat top-ranked Alabama, 26-14, Saturday to earn a berth in next week’s Southeastern Conference title game against No. 7 Georgia.
Stidham passed for 237 yards and ran for a fourth-quarter touchdown.
Johnson, the SEC’s leading rusher, ran 30 times for 104 yards but left the game with a right shoulder injury in the fourth quarter.
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said after the game Johnson has “a shoulder issue,” but didn’t elaborate on his status for the rematch with Georgia in Atlanta. Johnson had earlier appeared hurt on a run toward the pylon but stayed in for a 1-yard touchdown run on the next play.
Auburn (10-2, 7-1 SEC) mostly shut down the league’s top scoring offense for their second win in three weeks over the top team in the playoff rankings. The Tigers won the SEC West a week after dispatching Georgia with similar precision. One of the Tigers’ two defeats was to defending national champion Clemson, No. 3 at the time.
“We’ve got to win next week and that’s going to be a handful,” Malzahn said of his upcoming rematch with Georgia. “I don’t know, them experts got it figured out. I don’t think anybody else has played two No. 1 teams and a No.  team. Put up our schedule against anybody.”
Auburn fans covered the field in orange and blue after the final play, creating a scene similar to 2013 when the fourth-ranked Tigers beat No. 1 Alabama on a last-play, 109-yard return of a missed field goal.
Alabama coach Nick Saban said his team still deserves a playoff shot after playing for the national title the past two years and scarcely getting challenged this season.
“I don’t think one game defines who you are,” Saban said. “It certainly doesn’t define this team for who they are. I’m sorry that I could not do a better job as a coach and as a leader.”
With No. 2 Miami losing Friday night to Pittsburgh, it’s the first time the top two teams in the AP poll have fallen on the same regular-season weekend since Nov. 17, 2012.
Stidham completed 21 of 28 passes and ran for 50 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown scamper early in the fourth quarter. Ryan Davis caught 11 passes for 139 yards.
“I think we’re pretty darn good,” Stidham said. “Coach Malzahn told us it’s never been done in three weeks beating two No. 1 teams, so I think this team is pretty good.”
Alabama’s Jalen Hurts passed for 177 yards and a touchdown and ran 17 times for 80 yards, but neither he nor the Tide offense ever really seemed to get going.
Alabama (11-1, 71) had a devastating sequence after Auburn took the lead late in the third on Johnson’s 1-yard run.
Trevon Diggs’ 55-yard return set the Tide up for a potential go-ahead score, and a pass interference against Auburn helped. Hale Hentges nearly caught a tipped pass in the end zone but replay overturned the touchdown call.
Then the Tide botched a field-goal attempt with a bad snap.
Alabama had two straight botched snaps on a promising drive in the fourth quarter, failing to make good on a do-over after an Auburn penalty on the second.
“We’re going to learn from this,” Hurts said. “It’s humbling. The unfortunate thing about that [playoff] is it’s not in our hands. You win out and you win games, you know you’re in. We’ll see what happens.”