coleryan Posts:13293 Followers:19
On 11/24/2013 07:46 AM in NCAA Football

Alabama Crimson Tide at Auburn Tigers: Preview and Pick

Alabama Crimson Tide at Auburn Tigers: Preview and Pick

In week 14 of the college football season, the schedule is all about rivalries and teams playing for trophies or in state bragging rights. However this week when the Alabama Crimson Tide hit the road to take on the Auburn Tigers in the legendary Iron Bowl there will be more on the line than just pride. The winner will not only be regarded as one of the best teams in the country, but the rankings will be affected as well as the standings in the SEC West as we head towards a championship game.

Alabama Crimson Tide at Auburn Tigers Odds

The college football odds for this game will favor the Crimson Tide, but the Auburn Tigers are coming on strong and will be at home for this legendary event. This will be one of the biggest games of the weekend and plenty of wagering action will come in on both sides which mean that the point spread will bounce around leading up to kickoff so make sure to check your top rated sportsbook for the latest line.

These teams are very familiar with one another. There is no shortage of respect of confidence from Gus Malzahn, who will lead the Tigers against top-ranked Alabama and Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban with the SEC West division title and a berth in the SEC Championship game on the line. Alabama’s SEC-best scoring defense will be the toughest test yet for Auburn, which averages 39 points per game and leads the conference with 320.3 rushing yards. A victory would not only send Auburn to Atlanta and continue the biggest turnaround in college football this season but it would send ripples through the college football world.

The latest college football trends reveal that this could be a close fought low scoring game. Alabama is 4-1 straight up in its last 5 games when playing Auburn and Alabama is 5-0 straight up in its last 5 games on the road as well as 14-0-1 straight up in its last 15 games. The total has gone under in 5 of Alabama's last 7 games when playing Auburn, but the total has gone over in 5 of Alabama's last 6 games on the road. Auburn is 5-0 straight up in its last 5 games at home, but from a betting standpoint Auburn is 3-6 against the spread (ATS) in its last 9 games when playing at home against Alabama.

Alabama Crimson Tide at Auburn Tigers Pick

With plenty of time before kickoff we will wait for more information to come in before we select a side on this contest. Make sure to check back on the day of the game to see who we select as our winner for this big game.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 9-4-0
coleryan Posts:13293 Followers:19
11/25/2013 01:53 PM


Regardless of the “business as usual” and “just another game” quotes from both sides, there’s no denying that the 2013 Iron Bowl is anything less than huge. It features two bitter rivals, both ranked in the top-five, fighting for a berth in the SEC Championship Game and a shot at the BCS national title game. Indeed, there is plenty riding on the showdown between No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Auburn.

But you won’t hear that from Crimson Tide QB A.J. McCarron, who insists the heightened stakes don’t change his approach to the game. ”I really don’t care what their record is,” he told reporters. ”They’re still the next team in our way trying to take what we’ve worked for.”

Auburn fullback Jay Prosch had a similar on preparing for the game. ”It feels like we’ve been preparing for every other team, not really anything different … We all know it’s a huge game and we’re going to play our hearts out, preparing like we normally do.”

Say what you want, but this is anything but just another game. It is only the seventh top-10 matchup in a rivalry that has been played out 77 times. And, there is more on the line Saturday than there’s ever been in any Iron Bowl.

There are already hundreds of RVs parked down the street from Jordan-Hare Stadium in anticipation of Saturday’s game. Both teams are national title contenders going into this one, though Auburn (10-1, 6-1) likely needs No. 3 Ohio State or No. 2 Florida State to lose. Nick Saban‘s Alabama team controls its own destiny in pursuit of a third-straight BCS championship and fourth in five years. The Iron Bowl winner will then have to get past either No. 5 Missouri or No. 10 South Carolina in the SEC championship game.

The question: Will this Iron Bowl live up to the formidable hype?

The Tide and Tigers have hoarded the last four national titles, but the rivals have only met once before when both were ranked in the top five. That game didn’t come close to living up to its billing, as No. 3 Alabama routed No. 5 Auburn and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Pat Sullivan 31-7 in 1971.

Many believe a similar fate awaits the 2013 Tigers as Alabama opens as more than a 10-point favorite on the road. Furthermore, the last two games in the series have gone the Tide’s way by a combined score of 91-14.

But, history has not been kind to Saban or Alabama when facing good Auburn teams. Saban is 0-5 against Tigers teams that won nine or more games, while the Crimson Tide has lost eight-straight Iron Bowls against such Auburn teams: 2010, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2002, 2000 and 1997.

History is just that, of course. Those numbers, while interesting, won’t help Auburn score against a defense that has allowed just five touchdowns in its last eight games. Nor will the 2011 or 2012 games, in which Bama held Auburn to a combined 170 rushing yards, help the Tide slow down the Tigers’ SEC-best rushing attack (320.3 yards per game).

The stakes are always high in the Iron Bowl, but this game is being billed as the most important in the history of the rivalry. Anything short of Auburn’s Cam Newton-led miracle comeback at Bryant-Denny Stadium in 2010 will likely be considered a letdown.

Whether these two teams can match the 28-27 nail-biter that caused a disillusioned Alabama fan to poison Auburn’s iconic Toomer’s Corner oak trees remains to be seen. What is certain is that this game will be seen by millions in the state of Alabama and across the nation, as the ripples caused by the outcome will wash over all corners of the college football landscape.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 9-4-0
coleryan Posts:13293 Followers:19
11/25/2013 01:54 PM

Over the last four years, the BCS National Championship has gone through the state of Alabama with Alabama winning three and Auburn winning one. It looks like this year will be no different.

Alabama comes into this game having won 15 straight games with their last loss coming on November 10th of 2012 at the hands of Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M. The last time Saban and Alabama lost a road conference game was November 26th of 2010 when they lost to Cam Newton and Auburn 28-27 in a memorable comeback win for the Tigers. Saban is 4-2 against Auburn since coming to Alabama and has won four of the last five games.

Gus Malzahn has done a miraculous job turning around this Auburn team and is in line for SEC Coach of the Year. Auburn's only loss this season came on the road in September against LSU and they are 7-0 at home including conference wins over Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Georgia. As an offensive coordinator, Malzahn went 1-2 against Saban and Alabama.

For Alabama to win:
Stick to the Saban formula. Play great defense, run the football and sprinkle in the pass when you need to. Saban hasn't reinvented the wheel at Alabama, but they've been so good at what they do they don't need to change things just because this is a big game. What Bama will need to do is score early and not fall behind. If Alabama can come out and punch Auburn in the face early, it will go a long way in establishing the tone of the game in the favor of the Tide.

For Auburn to win:
Auburn has to establish the run and they have to be successful in the short passing game so they can move the football and keep the Alabama offense off of the field. On defense, Auburn needs to get after AJ McCarron and force him into quick decisions when Alabama decides to throw the ball. Auburn had a lot of success early in their last game against Georgia but fell apart late and were saved by a miracle play. They need to play a complete four quarters game in order to have a shot against Alabama.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 9-4-0
coleryan Posts:13293 Followers:19
11/26/2013 01:20 PM

Alabama outlook:
Defense is the Crimson Tide's calling card. They rank No. 1 in the nation in points against (9.3) and have held nine of their opponents to 10 points or fewer -- including five SEC foes. They can do damage on offense as well, averaging 39.7 points per game (14th).

Between running backs T.J. Yeldon (1,022 yards, 12 TD) and Kenyan Drake (661, 8 TD), the Tide prefer to maul opponents via the ground game. Quarterback AJ McCarron does not receive the same individual accolades of some of his conference counterparts, but continues to win games.

Auburn outlook:
The Tigers have turned it around after suffering through a miserable three-win season in 2012 that included an embarrassing 49-0 loss against the Tide.

Auburn leans on its running game, which ranks No. 2 in the nation at 320.3 yards per contest. Tre Mason (1,153 yards, 17 TD) leads the way out of the backfield, while dual-threat quarterback Nick Marshall has added 823 yards and nine scores with his legs.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 9-4-0
coleryan Posts:13293 Followers:19
11/26/2013 01:20 PM

The biggest rivalry in college football will be amped up even more this Saturday when the number one Alabama Crimson Tide battles the fourth-ranked Auburn Tigers in a game that will give a clearer view to the national championship, the SEC championship, and bragging rights for the next year.

It’s hard to understate how big the game is in the state of Alabama. Forget Ohio State vs. Michigan, Harvard vs. Yale, Oregon vs. Oregon State; none of them hold a candle to how serious fans of both Alabama and Auburn take the annual Iron Bowl.

In a state with no professional teams, Alabama and Auburn football is more than just football; for fans of both teams, it’s their life, and rivals their religion. People have murdered members of their own family over Alabama/Auburn disputes, that’s how crazy fans are about the game.

The rivalry has seen some of the most famous names in college football come through the game. Among the players that have taken the field for the Iron Bowl: Ken Stabler, Bart Starr, Joe Namath, Bo Jackson, Cam Newton, Pat Sullivan, Mark Ingram, and coaches like Paul “Bear” Bryant, Pat Dye, and Nick Saban.

The game has become so important that one of the teams in the last four Bowl Championship Series national championship has played in the Iron Bowl.

This year, with both teams ranked in the BCS top five, the stakes are once again as high as ever. It’s only the second time both teams have been ranked in the top five for the Iron Bowl. The other was 1971 when Auburn’s Pat Sullivan won the Heisman Trophy, but Alabama spanked the Tigers, 31-7.

Last year, amidst a historic collapse for the Tigers; Alabama rolled Auburn right out of Bryant-Denny 49-0 in a game that wasn’t even as close as the score. But this year, Auburn has been the team rocketing up the rankings while Alabama has sat at number one for the entire season mowing down every team in their path.

The game would appear to be a mismatch, at least on paper, for Alabama’s defensive prowess. Alabama is allowing just 9.3 points per game this season and if you take out the 42 points allowed by the Crimson Tide against Texas A&M; Bama is allowing just six points per game in 2013.

Where Alabama is especially dominant is stopping the running game. The Crimson Tide has allowed a total of 1,004 yards rushing in 2013, or roughly 91.3 yards per game. In addition, Alabama has surrendered just five rushing touchdowns in the entire 2013 regular season.

But, Bama’s defense will face a major test trying to slow down Auburn’s offensive juggernaut. The Tigers run the ball for an average of 320.3 yards per game and have run for 37 touchdowns this season. Auburn averages 50 attempts per game heading into the Iron Bowl.

As good as Auburn is running the football, the team is not that good putting the ball in the air. The Tigers are ranked 11th in the SEC in passing offense and have thrown 15 touchdowns to seven interceptions and average just 179.6 yards per game through the air.

Not that Alabama’s passing attack is much better, ranking just ninth in the SEC. Even though quarterback A.J. McCarron is a Heisman Trophy candidate, Bama averages just 233.3 yards per game through the air, but has thrown 25 touchdowns to just five interceptions.

One area the Tide’s defense hasn’t been leading the SEC in is sacks. The Tide is ranked an uncharacteristic ninth in the SEC with just 18 sacks on the season. Further, Alabama is ranked tenth in the SEC in tackles for loss with just 57 on the season.

Still, it speaks to just how dominant Alabama’s defense has been this year that the Tide allow just 263.9 yards of offense per game. If you again remove the Texas A&M game, which saw the Tide’s defense get shredded; Alabama is allowing just 206.8 yards per game this season.

For Alabama, Saturday’s game is the next step towards an unprecedented march towards a third consecutive national championship. The elusive “three-peat” would be a historic accomplishment for the Tide and the SEC and make Bama the best team of the BCS-era.

For Auburn, a victory on Saturday couldn’t get much sweeter. Beating an arch-rival, derailing the national championship hopes of the Tide, putting a 49-0 shellacking last year fully behind them, and doing it all on your home field.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 9-4-0
coleryan Posts:13293 Followers:19
11/27/2013 12:24 PM

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron insists Auburn is merely ''the next team in our way,'' whatever the Tigers' record.

Auburn H-back Jay Prosch says preparation for this Iron Bowl has felt like any other game so far.

The hundreds of RVs already parked down the street from Jordan-Hare Stadium a week before kickoff offered a different perspective. Business-as-usual denials aside, No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Auburn are preparing for perhaps the biggest game ever in this rabid in-state rivalry Saturday.

The teams that have hoarded the last four national titles have only met once before when both were ranked in the top five. No. 3 Alabama beat No. 5 Auburn and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Pat Sullivan 31-7 in 1971.

Both teams are contenders going into this one, though Auburn (10-1, 6-1 SEC) likely needs No. 3 Ohio State or No. 2 Florida State to lose.

Losses by Oregon and Baylor helped the Tigers move up a couple of spots in the shrinking line of title hopefuls, but the Iron Bowl winner still must get past either No. 5 Missouri or No. 10 South Carolina in the SEC championship game.

Nick Saban's Alabama team controls its own destiny in the program's pursuit of a third straight BCS championship and fourth in five years.

McCarron insisted it was easy remaining focused on FCS Chattanooga last week and said the heightened stakes don't change his approach to the game.

''I really don't care what their record is,'' he said. ''They're still the next team in our way trying to take what we've worked for.''

Prosch offered a similar mind-set on preparing for the game, which is only the seventh top-10 matchup in a rivalry that has been played 77 times.

''It feels like we've been preparing for every other team, not really anything different,'' he said. ''We all know it's a huge game and we're going to play our hearts out, preparing like we normally do.''

Auburn tight end C.J. Uzomah said every player learns the significance of this rivalry early in their careers, even minus the high rankings. But he said with the losses by Baylor - a game Uzomah watched on TV - and Oregon and the high rankings, the game has been magnified even further.

''You step on the campus and that's the first thing you hear,'' Uzomah said. ''You get recruited and that's the focal point that can define the season, like it is this upcoming Saturday.''

Uzomah said when he saw the packed RV lot a week before the game he realized, ''This is going to be huge.''

''It's going to be the most unbelievable atmosphere I've ever gotten to play in,'' he said.

While the Tide (11-0, 7-0) were romping over Chattanooga 49-0 last Saturday, Auburn had an open date following a thrilling 43-38 win over Georgia on Nov. 16 in another matchup of traditional rivals.

Saban quickly turned his attention to the regular-season finale after Chattanooga, even if players mostly cited the coach's 24-hour celebration window allowing them to savor even that win.

''Our focus obviously needs to immediately shift to the opportunities that we have created for ourselves and the games that we have in the future,'' Saban said after the game. ''Obviously the one that we have this week coming up against Auburn is a very important game. They have a great team. They've had a great season.

''It's going to be important for everybody in our organization to make a commitment to doing their very best job to play their best football, because that's probably what it's going to take to have success against a very good team.''

Alabama's 49-0 win last season was the second-biggest margin in Iron Bowl history. Alabama won 42-14 in 2011 after the Tigers pulled off a huge comeback to win 28-27 the year before to continue their own national title run with Cam Newton.

Tide receiver Kevin Norwood said the game's significance could bring out the best in both teams. But, he added, the priority is ''to really focus on doing our job, like coach Saban always preaches.''

''It's definitely good because when you have something to play for, you just have a lot of motivation to play your best,'' Norwood said. ''And we know they're going to play their best.''

  • Last 7 Days Record: 9-4-0
coleryan Posts:13293 Followers:19
11/28/2013 12:01 PM

1 - Start fast:
Auburn has an explosive offense, so Alabama must shut that down quickly and score fast instead. Taking control of the game early will silent a wild, enthusiastic crowd. “Oh man, it’s really important to do that,” receiver Kevin Norwood said. “If we can do that, it sets the tone and sets the momentum for the game. If you sullen their crowd, then oh man, you can do a lot more.” Alabama tends to play well with the lead as it continues to press its advantage.

2 - Overcome Auburn’s energy:
If Alabama can’t start fast, it must withstand Auburn’s early energy. All teams have an initial burst when facing the No. 1 team in the country but usually run out of energy before halftime. The Crimson Tide’s defense never lets a team take control of a game while the offense gets going. That scenario might happen today, but against one of the best teams in the country. “I love these kinds of games,” safety Landon Collin said. “They’re going to talk a lot of trash. These are the types of games that are very, very crazy.”

3 - Stop the run:
It’s obvious Auburn likes to run the ball with the second-best running offense in the nation with an average of 320.3 yards a game. Alabama loves to stop the run with the fourth-best run defense that allows only 91.3 yards a game. Something has to give. If the Crimson Tide can force the Tigers to pass, the advantage goes to Alabama. Auburn doesn’t like to hear it’s one-dimensional in its offensive approach.

4 - It’s not just another game:
Coaching mantra has taught many of the players to say it’s just another game. Well, it’s not. A berth into the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 7 in Atlanta is on the line, and for Alabama an opportunity for a third-straight national title. Auburn has BCS hopes with a win, but the Tigers would most like to crush Alabama’s dreams. It’s an in-state rivalry that’s one of the best in the nation that people wait for all year.

2: Number of times the Alabama quarterback has been sacked since the third quarter of the Sept. 28 Ole Miss game. The 0.82 average per game ranks seventh in the nation.

17: Number of times Alabama has won 11 games in a season. A win today would give the Tide 12 wins for the eighth time.

18: Number of times Alabama has consecutively won on the road. That’s the longest current streak in the nation. The last road loss was Nov. 6, 2010 at LSU.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 9-4-0
coleryan Posts:13293 Followers:19
11/28/2013 12:02 PM

The stage is set for the biggest Iron Bowl ever.

No. 5 Auburn will host top-ranked Alabama with the SEC West division title and berth in the SEC Championship Game on the line in the first meeting of the in-state rivals as top-four ranked teams. The Tigers and Crimson Tide were both ranked in the top five of the Associated Press poll only once before as the fifth and third ranked teams in 1971.

"I'm amped up as ever about this game," tight end C.J. Uzomah said. "We're going to try not to have that outside pressure feed in and all the media and hype that the outside people are going to bring in affect us but at the same time, we're going to bring that intensity ourselves. We're amped up as ever. We know that a lot's at stake with this game. They're a great team, and we're going to have the best week of practice we've had all season."

Auburn has posted the biggest turnaround in college football this season and a win over Alabama would vault the Tigers into the BCS title conversation. The Tigers have surpassed even the most wild-eyed optimists' expectations for the season, and a victory in the Iron Bowl would be nothing short of incredible after the debacle of 2012.

"We feel like we've had a great season thus far, but we aren't satisfied," Uzomah said. "We want to win this game, and I think this will be a measuring stick of how we've grown as a team, where we are and where we want to head."

Malzahn's hurry-up, no-huddle offense will take on Nick Saban's defense in a battle of strength versus strength. The first-year Tigers coach is impressed with what he's seen from the Crimson Tide on film.

"They're extremely talented," Malzahn said. "They're good at what they do, and they don't make a whole lot of mistakes."

With a national television audience set to watch the game with enormous national implications on CBS and ESPN's "College GameDay" coming to the Plains, it would be easy for the Tigers to be overwhelmed by some of the extra attention, but Auburn coach Gus Malzahn won't be changing the approach which has led to his squad's success.

"We ask our guys to do exactly what they've been doing and just take it one practice at a time, one game at a time," Malzahn said. "We've been very up front and very honest with them. That'll be a big key this week."

The historical significance and the stakes of the games are not lost on the players, but Malzahn has reminded them of the focus which has put them in this position in the first place.

"It means something to us, knowing the position we're in and what's at stake. Obviously, it's going to mean a little bit to us," Uzomah said. "However, coach Malzahn and his entire staff is saying, 'Don't feed into the magnitude of this game and what everyone is trying to bring into this game with the publicity and all that.' He's kind of saying, 'Just take a deep breath. Relax. We're going to play our game.'"

Malzahn is big on routine, but with the holiday week, the team will be practicing on Monday and taking off Thursday, a minor adjustment from the usual schedule. Sunday night's practice was "normal" though.

"As football players, we're creatures of habit," defensive end Nosa Eguae said. "We get in a routine — I have a routine, every player has a routine — and I'm sticking to my routine. I'm sticking to things that got us here and things that got me here."

  • Last 7 Days Record: 9-4-0
coleryan Posts:13293 Followers:19
11/29/2013 02:55 PM

Three Things to Watch

- Auburn QB Nick Marshall

In his first season as Auburn’s starting quarterback, Marshall hasn’t necessarily been the most prolific passer in the SEC, but he’s been the perfect fit to run Gus Malzahn’s offense. Marshall has not attempted more than 25 passes in five out of the last six games. The junior has tossed only five interceptions on 185 attempts and is completing 58.4 percent of his throws. While Marshall has proven he can deliver through the air with the game on the line (Mississippi State and Georgia), the junior is at his best when he can use his mobility. Marshall has rushed for 823 yards (6.7 ypc) on 123 attempts this season. The junior has executed Malzahn’s spread attack nearly to perfection this year, and his speed and mobility will be a challenge for Alabama’s defense. Under Nick Saban and coordinator Kirby Smart, mobile quarterbacks have provided the most headaches for the Crimson Tide. Earlier this season, Johnny Manziel led a Texas A&M offense that averaged 8.9 yards per play against Alabama’s defense. Can Auburn use a similar approach on Saturday? Marshall isn’t as dynamic as Manziel, but the junior is averaging 6.7 yards per carry this season.

- Alabama’s run defense

As mentioned in the previous section, Marshall’s ability to execute Auburn’s spread offense and zone read plays are critical to the Tigers’ upset hopes. But perhaps an even bigger obstacle is Alabama’s run defense. The Crimson Tide rank fourth nationally against the run, limiting opponents to just three yards a carry. Alabama has held its last three opponents to 93 or less rushing yards, while Tennessee (28 attempts) is the last team to gain 100 rushing yards against Nick Saban’s defense. Establishing the run sets the table for Auburn’s offense. In the last two meetings against the Crimson Tide, the Tigers have rushed for only 170 yards and no touchdowns on 67 attempts. Not only is Marshall crucial to the outcome of this game, but Tre Mason also needs a big performance. Mason is averaging 104.8 yards per game this year and has four 100-yard performances out of his last five games. Alabama will likely stack the line of scrimmage and force Marshall to throw to win. If the Crimson Tide continues to stuff the run like they have all season, Auburn’s offense will have a tough time maintaining drives on Saturday afternoon.

- Auburn’s defense vs. Alabama’s offense

Alabama’s offense doesn’t get the national recognition that its defense does, but the Crimson Tide average 7.3 yards per play and rank second in SEC by averaging 490.9 yards per game. Auburn’s defense has made strides under new coordinator Ellis Johnson, but the Tigers rank 13th in the SEC against the pass, eighth against the run and six SEC opponents have scored at least 20 points this year. Alabama’s offense is one of the nation’s most-balanced attacks in the nation, averaging 233.3 yards per game through the air and 211.5 a contest on the ground. Quarterback AJ McCarron rarely throws interceptions (five in 2013), and the senior is completing 68.6 percent of his throws. Auburn’s secondary has allowed 10 passing plays of 40 yards or more, which ranks last in the SEC. Considering the Tigers have allowed their last two opponents to complete at least 64 percent of their passes, getting pressure on McCarron is critical to stopping Alabama’s offense. But a pass rush isn’t going to be enough, as Auburn has to match the Crimson Tide’s physical approach in the trenches. Alabama’s running backs – led by T.J. Yeldon – are arguably the best group in the nation. If Yeldon and backup Kenyan Drake get on track, McCarron’s play-action passes to receivers Amari Cooper, DeAndrew White, Kevin Norwood and Christion Jones will provide big plays for the Crimson Tide’s offense.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 9-4-0
coleryan Posts:13293 Followers:19
11/29/2013 02:57 PM

- What Alabama Needs to Do to Win the Iron Bowl

'Bama must keep Auburn operating as a one-dimensional offense. For as many strides as Nick Marshall has made at quarterback for Auburn, everything the Tigers do is set up by their all-world running game.

The Tigers are third in the nation in rushing yards per game. Considering the conference they play in, for my money, this is the best running game in college football. No disrespect to Army and Navy, the schools that trump them statistically, but when an SEC team averages 320 yards per game on the ground, that's saying something.

Keeping Auburn's run game under wraps is going to be difficult for the Tide—even if they know it's coming. The last thing the Tide need is for Marshall to start making plays in the passing game. He's had just one 300-yard passing game this season, and that came against the Mississippi State Bulldogs Sept. 14.

If the Tide can keep him from making big plays with his arm, it'll make the job of the defense that much easier.

- What Auburn Needs to Do to Win the Iron Bowl

The Tigers have two primary objectives. One is obviously the opposite of the Tide's key. Marshall has to find a way to make 'Bama's defense respect him. If a defense as good as Alabama's can commit additional defenders to the box to key on the run, even the likes of Tre Mason and Co. will be slowed significantly.

Let's not forget, 'Bama is ranked fourth in the nation against the run. If there is a defense in the country fit to stand firm against the Tigers run game, it is Alabama's.

Secondly, Auburn must get to A.J. McCarron. If 'Bama's quarterback is allowed to get to third and fourth progressions consistently, Auburn will be in trouble. Mounting some sort of pass rush that unnerves McCarron will be a major key to pulling off the win.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 9-4-0