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  1. My GridironNow.com colleague Duane Rankin, who is also a columnist at the Montgomery Advertiser, predicted every Auburn game this season, with a final score. He has the Tigers beating Alabama AND Georgia, but still losing two games. Take a look. http://gridironnow.com/game-predictions-auburn-2017/
  2. So as we prepare for this weeks IB, I thought this was interesting. This will be the 6th IB matchup between Gus and Nick. As much bravo as Nick has got for his time at AL, Gus has been a major thorn in his side. Neither has won two in a row and the games have been closer than most predictions. Below is a little history of them. 2009- AU was re-building and if I remember AU dressed 65 scholarship players for the game. Al won it 26-21 with a score with 1:29 left in the fourth. AU drove back to AL's 30 before time expired. 2010-AU won 28-27 after trailing 24-0 at one point. AU actually led the last 11:55 of the game. 2011- AL won 42-14. Most everyone remembers CGC had already pretty much taken over the offense from Gus at that point, as Gus was already planning his departure. 2013- AU won 34-28 in the game dubbed The Kick Six. People forget that the game was tied on this last second 57 yard desperation field goal that had no chance of being made. AU had came back and tied the game and had the momentum and NS did not want to go to OT. Gus even called a TO to insert CD and NS still tried the FG. 2014- AL won 55-44. AU set a record for the most yards against AL ever. AL had to score 3 TDs in the forth to win it. AU outgained AL 630 yds to 539 yds. So anyone that thinks for a minute that NS is not having sleepless nights this week is not living in reality. Gus matches up better to NS than anyone else in the country. We will have a chance. I think we pull it off again, because NS gets edgy playing Gus. WDE
  3. The Wisconsin defense has been very solid all year up until the B10 Championship. Despite their major beat down at the hands of the Buckeyes, the Badger defense is still No. 4 in total-defense. Some of their success on defense has to do with the caliber of offenses Wisconsin faced but they did hold their opponent to 23 percent below their yardage average for the season. One area Auburn should be able to exploit is the Badger pass-defense. The Wisconsin pass-defense is No. 108 nationally allowing big pass-plays (25+) every 12.4 pass attempts. The Auburn pass-offense is No. 7 nationally in generating big pass-plays every 9.7 pass attempts. The play... Against Alabama, Auburn faced a very good defense that was exceptional against the run. Gus Malzahn's plan of attack was to challenge the UAT secondary deep, which often played man-coverage. The plan was solid and the Auburn offense did a very good job executing the game plan. Nick Marshall was 6 of 9, throwing the ball deep for 272-yards and 2 touchdowns. On this play Auburn faces a 2nd & 12 from the UAT 34-yd line. Auburn comes out in a 4-WR with Sammie Coates and Duke Williams split on the boundary side. Nick Marshall will play-action with Cameron Artis-Payne, while reading the boundary safety. Coates and Williams break off the line, running vertical routes. Williams will cut inside on a deep square-in, while Coates runs a fly-route. The boundary safety commits to Williams over the middle, leaving Coates 1 on 1 with the corner. Marshall delivers a perfectly thrown ball that Coates is able to haul in for the touchdown. Play #2: This is basically the same play, though circumstances are different. Auburn faces a 2nd & 3 from their own 32-yard line with under 1:30 remaining in the first-half. Once again Auburn comes out in a 4-WR set with Coates and Williams aligned to the boundary side. At the snap, the two WR's run vertical routes with the boundary safety committing to the deep pass over the middle (Williams). Once again, Sammie Coates has the corner beat 1 on 1 and Marshall hangs a deep ball that Coates is able to run under for the touchdown.
  4. Game #12 Statistical Evaluation (Alabama Game) Offensive Report Card: 01) Avg 6-yards per play on 1st down: [5.64] fail 02) Convert at least 40% of 3rd downs: [47.4%] pass 03) Avg at least 4.5 yards per rush: [3.72] fail 04) Score on at least 1/3 of possessions: [61.5%] pass 05) Keep 3 and out series under 33%: [15.4%] pass 06) Average 8.0 yards per pass attempt: [10.6 yds] pass 07) Score at least 75% inside red zone: [87.5%] pass 08) TD red zone above 60%: [25.0%] fail 09) Avg at least 30-yards per possession: [45.0 yds] pass 10) 40% of offensive snaps part of scoring drives: [75.3%] pass 11) TD / Turnover ratio above 1.6: [4 TD’s / 2] pass 12) TD ratio of at least 1 every 17 snaps: [22.2] fail 13) At least 8 impact plays: [11] pass 14) At least 2 big plays: [6] pass 15) Pass rating of at least 125.0: [170.2] pass * Red Zone offense ended up being the difference in the game but 44 points and over 600-yards in offense should always result in a victory. * Nick Marshall was a baller tonight, setting a new school record in passing yardage against the No. 1 ranked team in the country. * I wish there was a way of keeping Duke Williams for his senior year. He was a warrior tonight. Score: 11 of 15 (73.3%) Pass Defensive Report Card: 01) Avg under 6-yards per play on 1st down: [11.0] fail 02) Convert below 35% of 3rd downs: [55.6%] fail 03) Avg at least 4.0 yards per rush: [6.68] fail 04) Score below 1/3 of possessions: [61.5%] fail 05) Keep 3 and out series above 33%: [23.1%] fail 06) Average below 7.5 yards per pass attempt: [11.6 yds] fail 07) Score below 75% inside red zone: [100.0%] fail 08) TD red zone below 60%: [100.0%] fail 09) Avg under 30-yards per possession: [38.5 yds] fail 10) Less than 40% of offensive snaps part of scoring drives: [77.0%] fail 11) TD / Turnover ratio below 1.6: [8 TD’s / 3 turnovers] fail 12) TD ratio of at least 1 every 30 snaps: [7.6] fail 13) Less than 8 impact plays: [14] fail 14) No more than 2 big plays allowed: [3] fail 15) Pass rating below 125.0: [197.8] fail Score: 0 of 15 (0.0%) fail * Since 1961 Auburn is 45-2 with at least 540-yards in total offense and both losses were suffered this year. Since 1961 Auburn is 134-4, when scoring 38 points during regulation. Two of those losses occurred this season. This was the first time in school history Auburn lost a game after scoring at least 40 points during regulation. Special Teams Report Card: 1) Punt Average (Above 41.3): [41.0] 0 inside 20 (fail) 2) Punt Return Defense (Below 7.8 YPR): [12.0] fail 3) Punt Return Offense (Above 9.8 YPR): [0.0] fail 4) Kick-Return Defense (Below 21.2 YPR): [15.8] pass 5) Kick-Return Offense (Above 22.3 YPR): [20.8] fail 6) PAT’s (100%): [4 of 4] pass 7) FG Pct (75% or above): [100.0%] pass Score: 3 of 7 (42.9%) fail * Keep in mind that 50% is a passing score. War Eagle!
  5. Post game Numbers & Thoughts: Prior to the 2014 Iron Bowl, Auburn had passed for a combined 446-yards during their last 4 meetings against the Tide. Nick Marshall passed for 456-yards last night. Prior to last night Alabama had allowed only 2.6 trips per game inside their red zone. Auburn had 8 trips last night but only scored 2 TD's. Alabama was No. 7 nationally in TD percentage allowed inside the RZ. Though Auburn had opportunities to score more points, their 27 points scored inside the RZ, far exceeded the 12.0 PPG Alabama had allowed inside the RZ prior to last night's game. The 630-yards gained against Alabama last night was the 4th most yards gained by an Auburn offense in conference play. It was the most ever gained against Alabama by Auburn and the most yardage gained by an Auburn offense against a team ranked No. 1. Auburn is now 32-2 since 1960, when gaining at least 500-yards against a conference opponent during regulation. Both losses came this season. Auburn has averaged 502-yards and 37 PPG in conference play during 17 games as Gus Malzahn as the head coach. Despite the record-setting offensive production, Auburn is 12-5 in those games, primarily because the defense has surrendered an average of 453-yards and 31 PPG. During the previous 17 conference games before Malzahn became head coach, Auburn averaged 287-yards and 17 PPG on offense, while the defense allowed 417-yards and 31 PPG. Cameron Artis-Payne has 1482-yards rushing on the season, fighting for every inch he could muster last night against Alabama. He finished the game with 77-yards on 25 carries. I have watched 36 Iron Bowls during my lifetime and I've never witnessed an Auburn offense attack an Alabama defense the way I saw last night. During the 7 previous Iron Bowls (2007-2013) with Nick Saban as the head coach, Auburn's offense had a combined total of 8 plays of 30-yards or more combined. The most impact plays during any of those games was 7. Last night Auburn had 11 impact plays of which 6 went for over 30-yards. During Auburn's last 6 conference games, the opponent has averaged 483-yards and 39 PPG, scoring a TD every 14 plays defended. Since 1992 Auburn is 92-2, when the offense scores on at least 42 percent of their offensive possessions. The two losses both occurred this season. Sammie Coates 206-yards in receiving was 5th best in school history and the most receiving yardage an Auburn player has ever recorded against Alabama. Since 1986 Auburn has faced 30 opponents ranked in the top-5. Nick Marshall has produced the top-4 passing performances based on efficiency-rating during those games. During the last 7 games the Auburn offense had a passing-grade 5 times, special teams 3 times and defense 1 time. With Gus Malzahn directing the Auburn offense, the Tigers have averaged 435-yards and 32 PPG during 42 conference games. The defense during that same time period has allowed 409-yards and 29 PPG. Prior to last night, the most yardage gained by an Auburn offense against a top-10 defense was 451-yards. Auburn shattered that mark with 630-yards. Auburn is now 10-3 against top-10 defenses, when gaining at least 350-yards per game since 1981 and 2 of those losses have come during the past 2 seasons. Of Duke Williams 45 receptions on the year, 37 have resulted in an Auburn first down or touchdown. Sammie Coates has 30 receptions on the year and 25 have resulted in a first down or touchdown. Alabama came into the game with the No. 5 rated defense (total-defense), allowing 283 yards per game. Auburn's 620-yards was nearly 123 percent more yardage than Alabama had allowed per game. The Crimson Tide has now dropped to No. 11 in total-defense. Prior to last night Auburn had never lost to Alabama after generating at least 350-yards in offense (10-0). Despite gaining over 600-yards, Auburn still lost by 11 points. Auburn is now 111-1 from 1951-2014, when scoring 40 points or more during regulation. I thought the entire team played with passion and desire last night. There was no indication a "team" going through the motions and no sign of quit. Some will say they saw some players quit last night but I disagree. There is a big difference between quitting and a player working through frustration. Last night I saw an offense confident in their game plan, working hard to execute it to the best of their ability. They believed in their game plan and coaches and became stronger after every successful play. I saw a defense that played hard and with passion early on but often looked lost and confused. It is difficult to play with confidence and passion, when you're lost. Speaking of a lack of confidence and being confused. During the first 30 snaps on defense, Auburn allowed 196-yards and 20 points. Had they maintained that pace for the remainder of the game, Auburn would have won. During the next 30 snaps defended, Auburn allowed 345-yards and 35 points. During the first half Auburn's defense allowed 6 impact plays for 105-yards. During the second-half, they surrendered 8 impact plays for 260-yards. It was a perfect example of a house of cards crumbling to the table, once the foundation had been breached. War Eagle!
  6. Quick Start in the Iron Bowl... From 1981-2013, Auburn is 4-10 in the Iron Bowl, when trailing after the first quarter and 14-5, when they don't. Since Gus Malzahn has coached the Auburn offense, the Tigers are 9-7, when trailing at the end of the first quarter and 41-8, when not. During the first 36 quarters of this football season, Auburn was held scoreless in only 3 quarters. During the last 8 quarters, they have been held scoreless in 4. This offensive funk needs to come to a stop against Alabama. ________________________________________________________________________ During the last 40 meetings against Alabama, Auburn has eclipsed 200-yards rushing only 7 times, compiling a 5-2 record, when doing so. Only 1 of those 200-yard rushing performances have come against Nick Saban's Alabama teams. The Tigers have averaged only 135.2 yards rushing per game against Alabama (2007-2013), including an average of 73.6 yards rushing from Auburn's leading rusher at the RB position. This year looks to be another major challenge for Auburn to run the football against the Tide.One of the reasons why Auburn had success running the football last season was Alabama wasn't as dominant on first-down run-defense. _________________________________________________________________________ During the last 50 Iron Bowls, Auburn has a pass rating of just 103.6. During the games AU had a pass rating of at least 130 on at least 10 pass attempts, the Tigers are 9-1. ___________________________________________________________________ An Auburn record that will likely stand for awhile is Bo Jackson's 4 consecutive 100-yard rushing games against Alabama (1982-1985). Jackson averaged 7.0 yards per rush against the Tide. Roc Thomas might have the opportunity to start the next run this Saturday night. ___________________________________________________________________ From 2008-2014, Alabama has only been defeated 10 times and of those 10 losses, 6 were by 6-points or less. The winner averaged 222-yards passing, completing 68% of their passes for an average of 8.5 yards per attempt. They also threw for a combined total of 24 TD passes and only 4 interceptions against the Tide defense. On defense the winner held Alabama to an average of 110.7 yards rushing for 3.3 yards per rush. During this same time period (2008-2014) Auburn is 19-1, when the complete at least 60% of their passes for at least 8-yards per attempt, while holding their opponent to under 150-yards rushing. Auburn is 7-2 vs. Alabama since 1981, when they complete at least 60% of their passes. Nick Marshall needs to play well and the Auburn front-7 needs to play well against the run. ___________________________________________________________________ Josh Thompson is the last Auburn DL to lead the team in tackles during a single game with at least 10 tackles. He had 12 stops against Alabama in 2007. _________________________________________________________________________ During the last 50 Iron Bowls, Auburn is 10-0 with at least 350-yards in total offense. _________________________________________________________________________ During the last 7 Iron Bowls, Auburn averaged 5.71 yards per play on first down during their 3 victories and only 3.80 yards per play during their 4 losses. Playing well on first down will be essential. _________________________________________________________________________ Since 1981 the team with the most rushing yardage at the end of the game is 27-6 in the Iron Bowl. Auburn has averaged 284-yards rushing in conference play, while allowing 178-yards on defense. Alabama has averaged 167-yards in conference play, while allowing 115-yards on defense. _________________________________________________________________________ During the last 20 Iron Bowls, the team that won the first-down battle in yards per play is 15-5 in the series. _________________________________________________________________________ Since 1981 Auburn is 8-2, when they are able to run the ball at least 64 percent of the time on first down and 4-8, when they don't.
  7. Last night was a clear example of a team that has lost its focus primarily because of how the season has played out. It is much easier to dig down deep physically and mentally, when you have major goals to play for like 2013. This isn't the case this late into the 2014 season and it shows. This is not an excuse for the poor performance last night but this clearly isn't a motivated "team". There are some players who continue to play hard but not enough to make the difference. When Gus Malzahn arrived after the 2012 season, his biggest challenge would be teaching the players how to win again. The challenge now for the coaching staff is demanding the players to play hard all the time, no matter the opponent and record. The second challenge is more difficult than the first. Speaking of players who have not mailed in their performance. Cameron Artis-Payne is a baller and brings his lunchbox to every game. He is not a thriller or speedster but he is a player you want to go to battle with. He ran hard last night just as he has against better competition. Through 11-games, his totals are the 6th best rushing performance by an Auburn player based on yards per game, yards per rush and TD ratio. He has been Auburn's most consistent offensive player this season. What has happened to Corey Grant? His first 20 carries of the season (1st 2 games) produced 14 runs of 5-yards, 7 of 10-yards or more and 3 of 15 yards or more. He was never tackled for a loss and had only 4 carries of 2-yards or less.The remainder of the season he has only 31 carries. Of those 31 attempts, 13 went for 5+, 5 for 10+ and only 2 for 15+. Of his last 31 carries, 14 have gone for 2-yards or less and 6 went for a loss. I believe this is why we have seen less of him running the football. This is also why we have seen more of Ricardo Louis and Quan Bray on the perimeter runs. During the first 9 games of the season, 46.4% of Auburn's offensive snaps resulted in at least 5-yards. During the past 2 games, it has dipped down to 41.7%. Gus Malzahn's offense is built around success on first down. The HUNH aspect doesn't come into play until the first 1st down is made during a possession. Last season through 11 games, 29% of Auburn's first down plays netted 2-yards or less. This season it is 40% through 11 games. Who are the impact players on offense this season? CAP (22), Duke Williams (19), Nick Marshall (18), Sammie Coates (10) and Quan Bray (8). Last year through 11 games it was Marshall (21), Tre Mason (14), Sammie Coates (13), Corey Grant (13) and CAP (10). Last season through 11 games the Auburn offense scored 11 touchdowns on 17 possessions (64.7%) beginning on the opponent's side of the field. This season it is only 6 from 16 possessions (37.5%). In terms of the weekly "report card " features, this is how this year's team compares to last year's through 11 games. 2014 offense (74.5%) slightly up from 73.2% in 2013. This year's defense (52.7%) slightly down from last year's 55.5%. This year's special teams (55.4%) significantly down from last year's 71.4%. In terms of recent trends, the offense has a report card percentage of 55.6% during the last 3 games. The defense is 42.2% and special teams is 50.0%. Last season the Auburn run-offense converted 86.0% of their short-yardage situations of 2-yards or less to convert. This season it is down to 78.4%. During the first 7 games of the season Auburn averaged 10.7 PPG from their opponent's turnovers, while allowing the opponent to score 4.0 PPG from Auburn's turnovers. During the last 4 games, Auburn has scored zero points from their forced turnovers, while allowing 5.2 PPG from their miscues. That is basically an 11-point swing per game. In terms of penalty yardage per game, Auburn is currently No. 114 nationally compared to No. 30 last year. Auburn has surrendered 31 first downs on penalties alone or 2.8 per game. From 2004-2013, Auburn allowed an average of 21 per season or 1.6 per game. The 2013 and 2014 offense both produced 106 impact plays through 11 games. The difference is the 2013 offense had a combined 67 turnovers and penalties, while the 2014 offense has 93, offsetting their offensive production. During the first 5 games of the season the Auburn offense went "3 & out" only 16.1% of the time, while the defense forced a "3 & out", 45.0% of the time. During the last 6 games the offense is hitting at 23.2% and the defense has fallen to 20.0%. As any football season progress teams either improve or regress. Last season's team progressed as the season moved forward and this year's team has retreated. There are many valid reasons for the lack of production. Talent, depth, coaching, preparation, strength of schedule and senior leadership. After the Iron Bowl and headed into bowl preparation, the coaching staff needs to seriously look at themselves as well as the players coming back next season. It will be interesting to see just how much fight this team has left for the Iron Bowl and how the coaching staff schemes to give their players the best opportunity to compete. War Eagle!
  8. I think we should retire 11. It's not knee-jerk or hyperbole that the Kick-6 is the best play in college football. It was better than Flutie and Cal-Stanford "The band is on the field" combined. If the powers that be are reading this, let's do it. Also, I would like to request that an image of the back of a jersey with 11 on it be on all Auburn license plates. Bammers will be chasing Davis' tail-lights forever. That is all.
  9. Corey Grant enters the SECCG averaging 7.53 yards per rush in conference play. During Auburn's last 5 conference games, Grant has averaged 8.95 yards per rush with Auburn becoming reliant upon their read-option. Though he is likely to have only 5-8 offensive touches against Missouri, he possesses the potential to maximize each touch into a big play. His speed on the edge not only provides big plays from his carries, but he keeps the inside running lanes open because of his threat to go the distance on the edge. On this play against UAT, Auburn has a 1st & 10 from their own 28-yard line. Auburn breaks out of a sugar huddle just before the snap, which delays the defense from being set in time for the snap. UAT would often wait to the last second to see Auburn's player personnel before making substitutions of their own. Before the snap Corey Grant motions into the backfield on the speed-sweep. The UAT LB's freeze at the possible exchange between Nick Marshall and Grant because Marshall is an obvious threat to keep on the play. Jay Prosch and Brandon Fulse exit the backfield to seal the edge. Prosch takes out the OLB, while Brandon Fulse picks up the CB blitzing off the edge. Sammie Coates seals the safety inside, allowing Corey Grant to turn the corner and up the sideline for a 14-yard gain and an Auburn first-down. If Auburn is to establish their inside running-game, Corey Grant and Ricardo Louis will be key elements to open up the perimeter game to spread the Missouri defense out.
  10. One of the key moments during the Iron Bowl came during UAT's second to last possession of the game. UAT had driven down to the Auburn 27-yard line with under 3:00 minutes left in the game. Already holding a 7-point lead, any points scored by UAT would have likely secured the victory. UAT faces a 3rd & 12 at Auburn's 27-yard line. They come out in a 4-WR set and Auburn will run an inside twist with their DT's. At the snap, Nosa Eguae will loop behind Gabe Wright as Wright slices through the left shoulder of the center. The center and RG end up double-teaming Nosa Eguae, leaving Wright 1 on 1 with the LG. Gabe Wright beats the LG with a swim move, coming straight towards the UAT quarterback. Just as the QB attempts to make his throw, Gabe Wright hits him in the chest with both hands, forcing a poorly thrown pass that lands incomplete. Not allowing any yardage gained on the down was key to setting up a long distance FG of 44-yards. Dee Ford ended up blocking the FG attempt, which set up Auburn's game-tying drive. Gabe Wright had a solid game against UAT and this level of play needs to be duplicated during the SECCG against Missouri.
  11. One of the key moments during the Iron Bowl came during UAT's second to last possession of the game. UAT had driven down to the Auburn 27-yard line with under 3:00 minutes left in the game. Already holding a 7-point lead, any points scored by UAT would have likely secured the victory. UAT faces a 3rd & 12 at Auburn's 27-yard line. They come out in a 4-WR set and Auburn will run an inside twist with their DT's. At the snap, Nosa Eguae will loop behind Gabe Wright as Wright slices through the left shoulder of the center. The center and RG end up double-teaming Nosa Eguae, leaving Wright 1 on 1 with the LG. Gabe Wright beats the LG with a swim move, coming straight towards the UAT quarterback. Just as the QB attempts to make his throw, Gabe Wright hits him in the chest with both hands, forcing a poorly thrown pass that lands incomplete. Not allowing any yardage gained on the down was key to setting up a long distance FG of 44-yards. Dee Ford ended up blocking the FG attempt, which set up Auburn's game-tying drive. Gabe Wright had a solid game against UAT and this level of play needs to be duplicated during the SECCG against Missouri.
  12. Auburn's ability to run the ball at a dynamic level this season is the primary reason why the Tigers are headed to Atlanta for the SECCG with an 11-1 record. Since featuring the read-option, Auburn has crafted this element of their offense, averaging over 360-yards rushing per game since the Ole Miss game. The Tigers continued paving their way against Alabama's stern defense, rushing for nearly 300-yards. It is this vaunted rushing-attack that will make Auburn a favorite to defeat Missouri this coming Saturday. On this play Auburn faces a 3rd & 2 from the Alabama 45-yard line. Auburn will run the read-option with the jet-sweep option. Before the snap Ricardo Louis will motion into the backfield on the speed-sweep look. At the snap Nick Marshall will fake the give to Louis, which will pull the OLB outside towards Louis. Nick Marshall fakes the inside give to Tre Mason, which pulls the ILB inside to defend between the tackles. After pulling the ball away from Mason, Nick Marshall sprints outside and up the field for a 45-yard touchdown run. From the backfield.... From this view of the same play, you can see how the boundary safety also reacts to the speed-sweep option to Ricardo Louis. The Louis and Mason options separates the defense, creating a running lane for Nick Marshall. During the Iron Bowl, Auburn converted 10 of 12 short yardage situations running the football, which allowed the Tigers to rack up 22 first downs on the day.
  13. OK, so it took a little digging, but Auburn is the first team to win the game on a missed FG returned for a touchdown. If anyone else has already posted this, sorry! In 1966, Don Guest of Cal returned a missed FG for a touchdown against Washington State. That play took place in the 3rd quarter of Cal's 21-6 win over Wazzou. In 1968, Richie Luzzi from Clemson accomplished the feat against Georgia in the second quarter. Clemson still lost, 31-13. In 2013, Odell Beckham, Jr. from LSU did it against UAB in the third quarter of their 56 to 17 blowout.
  14. Lost in all the excitement of the game-winning touchdown by Chris Davis was Auburn's 2-minute drive to tie the game at 28 all. The game tying drive was polished off with a perfectly executed triple-option pass play by the Auburn offense. This is the very type of play Auburn will need against Missouri this Saturday in Atlanta. On this play Auburn has the ball 1st & 10 at the Alabama 39-yard line. This play was set up with 6 consecutive run plays on the drive, which featured Auburn's up-tempo pace to fatigue the Alabama defense. The run plays had the Alabama defense scrambling to defend the read-option, setting up the play-action pass to Sammie Coates. At the snap, the OLB crashes down to defend the inside run because Tre Mason had just carried the ball all 6 times on the drive. Nick Marshall pulls the ball out and bounces outside on the perimeter. Marshall now sets up the pass by initially running with the football in his left arm. Both the CB and safety covering Sammie Coates bite on the outside perimeter run-option by Nick Marshall, leaving Coates uncovered down field. At the last second, Marshall switches the ball to his right hand and makes the throw to Coates. Sammie Coates hauls in the pass and sprints the remaining 25-yards for the game-tying touchdown. The Auburn pass-offense enters the SECCG ranked No. 12 nationally in their ratio of pass-plays of 25-yards or more. Auburn should be able to run the ball against Missouri but it will still be essential for Nick Marshall to make plays in the passing game for Auburn to win this Saturday.
  15. Upon Further Review - Alabama Game Auburn's opponent has converted only 10 of 65 third-down situations of 10-yards or more needed to convert. The Auburn offense has converted 39 of 52 third-down situations (75 percent) of 4-yards or less, running the football. During their last 7 combined games, Tre Mason and Nick Marshall have rushed for 24 touchdowns. Auburn's defense has allowed 30 plays of 30-yards or more through 12 games. 24 has come through the air and 6 on the ground. Last season the Auburn offense generated 18 plays of 30-yards or more. This season through 12 games, the offense has totaled 38 such plays. 31 of Auburn's 68 snaps went for at least 5-yards and 33 of Alabama's 64 snaps resulted in at least 5-yards. During the first-half, 38.9% of Alabama's plays were held to 2-yards or less. During the second-half, 53.6% were held to 2-yards or less. 18 of Auburn's 31 first-down plays netted at least 5-yards against Alabama. Auburn's average score this season is 36-22. My average predicted score this season is 36-23. Last season the Auburn offense generated 77 plays of 15-yards or more. This season they have 112 through 12 games. Auburn's top-5 most targeted receivers this season are Sammie Coates (61), Ricardo Louis (43), Marcus Davis (29), Quan Bray (28) and C.J. Uzomah (17). Alabama started 3 possessions on the Auburn side of the field but the Tiger defense surrendered a total of 7 points. This was one of the primary keys to the Auburn victory. Since losing to LSU, Nick Marshall has compiled a pass-rating of 151.8 during his last 7 starts. This also includes 774-yards rushing and 10 rushing TD's. During this same time period, Marshall as a passer rating of 207.7, when throwing the intermediate to long range passes. Tre Mason's 164-yards rushing against Alabama was the key element in Auburn's offensive success. Of his 29 carries, 14 went for at least 5-yards. Mason has now logged 192 carries in conference play this season with only 4 resulting in a loss. During Auburn's 69 scoring drives this season, 61 have involved at least 1 play of 15-yards or more. Auburn had 4 impact plays during their 4 scoring drives against Alabama. Auburn was 10 of 12 rushing the football in short-yardage situations against Alabama, picking up a whopping 115-yards on those 12 carries. During their last 6 conference games, Auburn is 36 of 41 rushing the ball in short yardage situations. Auburn's defensive front-7 was responsible for 40.6% of the team's tackles, the lowest output of the season. After giving of 6 of 12 third-down conversions against Georgia, Auburn's defense held Alabama to 4 of 13 on third-down. During the first 4 games of the season the Auburn offense scored a TD every 24.1 snaps. During the last 8 games that ratio has improved to 1 every 12.7 snaps. The 2011 and 2012 Auburn teams combined for 18 touchdown plays of 30-yards or more. The 2013 Auburn team has 20 such touchdown plays. The 2013 Auburn offense leads the nation in rushing the first half and is No. 4 nationally in rushing yardage gained during the fourth period. Tre Mason is the No. 7 running back in the nation in first-down runs gained on third-down. Tre Mason leads the nation in rushing-yardage gained inside the red zone and is No. 3 nationally in rushing touchdowns inside the red zone. Sammie Coates moved back to No. 1 nationally in yards per reception, averaging 23.3 yards per catch. Auburn's defense improved to No. 10 nationally in red zone touchdown percentage. One of the keys to victory over No. 1 ranked Alabama was Auburn's success on defense in terms of yards to point ratio. Though Alabama gained 495-yards in total offense, they only scored 28 points for a ratio of 17.7 yards per point. Auburn's defense is currently No. 12 nationally in allowing only 1 point per 18.4 yards allowed. It should be noted the Missouri defense is currently No. 8. War Eagle!
  16. Game #12 Statistical Evaluation (Alabama Game) 2013 Offensive Report Card 1) Average 6-yards per play on 1st down: 6.87 (pass) 2) Convert at least 40 pct of 3rd downs: 53.3% pct (pass) 3) Average at least 4.5 yards per rush: 5.69 YPC (pass) 4) Score on 1/3 of your offensive possessions: 66.7% (pass) 5) Keep "3 and out" series under 33%: 16.7% (pass) 6) Average 8.0 yards per pass attempt: 6.06 (fail) 7) Score above 75% in red zone: 100.0% (pass) 8) TD Red Zone above 60%: 100.0% (pass) 9) Average 30-yards per possession: 32.8 YPP (pass) 10) 40% of offensive snaps being part of a scoring drive: 44.1% (pass) 11) TD / Turnover ratio above 1.6: 4 TD’s / 1 turnovers (pass) 12) TD ratio of 1 every 17 plays: 17.0 (pass) 13) 8 impact plays: 5 (fail) 14) at least 2 big plays: 3 (pass) 15) Pass rating above 125.0: 160.9 (pass) * Bonus point for 296-yards rushing vs. No. 4 run-defense Score: 14 of 15 (93.3%) Pass Defensive Report Card 1) Average under 6-yards per play on 1st down: 10.1 (fail) 2) Convert below 35-pct of 3rd downs: 30.7% (pass) 3) Average below 4.0 yards per rush: 6.23 YPC (fail) 4) Score below 1/3 of their possessions: 46.2% (fail) 5) Keep "3 and out" series above 33%: 30.8% (fail) 6) Average below 7.5 yards per pass attempt: 9.55 YPA (fail) 7) Score below 75% in red zone: 50.0% (pass) 8) TD Red Zone Pct below 60%: 50.0% (pass) 9) Average under 30-yards per possession: 38.1 YPP (fail) 10) Less than 40% of offensive snaps being part of a scoring drive: 42.2% (fail) 11) TD / Turnover ratio below 1.6: 4 TD’s / 0 turnover (fail) 12) TD ratio of 1 every 30 plays: 16.0 (fail) 13) Less than 8 impact plays allowed: 6 (pass) 14) No more than 2 big play allowed: 3 allowed (fail) 15) Pass rating below 125.0 allowed: 172.9 (fail) Score: 4 of 15 (26.7%) FAIL Special Teams Report Card: 1) Punt Average (Above 41.3): 43.7 (pass) 2) Punt Return Defense (Below 7.8 YPR): 19.0 (fail) 3) Punt Return Offense (Above 9.8 YPR): -1.0 (fail) 4) Kick-Return Defense (Below 21.2 YPR): 18.0 (pass) 5) Kick-Return Offense (Above 22.3 YPR): 22.5 (pass) 6) PAT’s (100%): 4 of 4 (pass) 7) FG Pct (75% or above): None (N/A) *Bonus point for 109-FG Return for TD Score: 5 of 6 (83.3%) Pass Remember the key is to pass 50.0% of the categories. War Eagle!
  17. Once again Auburn's coaching staff had the team prepared to play, which kept them in position to win in the end. Alabama might have entered the game with the more talented roster but Malzahn's staff out-coached Saban's staff and Auburn's players never showed an ounce of quit. They bought into the new coaching staff with every victory providing more and more confidence as the season progressed. All we heard for the past 2 weeks was how great the Alabama run-defense was but very little about Auburn's running attack. In the end, Alabama could stop the Auburn run-offense and Nick Marshall finished the game with a pass-efficiency rating of 160.9. Though the defense struggled at times, they did manage four "3 & out" series along with a loss on down series. Alabama made it to the Auburn red zone 6 times but came away with only 3 scoring drives, which was a key to victory. After surrendered 21 points during the first half, the Auburn defense held Alabama to only 7 points during the second-half. It was another case of a "team" victory for the Auburn Tigers as all three phases of the game, came up with critical plays during the game. Auburn now moves to 11-1 on the season, which should put to rest all the garbage of the 2010 season being all about Cameron Newton. Any victory over Alabama is sweet but this game meant so much more. Auburn took down the No. 1 ranked team in the country, which means Malzahn has returned Auburn to the nation's elite status. The key will be if Auburn can maintain this level of success over an extensive period of time. Auburn might not be the best team in the country but this team can certainly play with anyone in the country right now. The mark of as good team is it's ability to improve as the season progresses and this has certainly been the case for the 2013 Auburn Tigers. Inside the Numbers ... Auburn has been held scoreless in only 3 of 48 quarters this season and only 1 time during the last 34 quarters. Tre Mason is now averaging 123.1 yards rushing per game in conference play. Tre Mason is now 2 rushing TD's away from tying the school record for rushing TD's. He has established the new record (18) among Auburn running backs. Nick Marshall needs 78-yards rushing to eclipse the 1000-yard mark for the season. Auburn is currently averaging 286.3 yards rushing in conference play. Chris Davis finished the game with 10 tackles along with the game-winning touchdown. Auburn's 296-yards rushing is the most rushing yardage allowed by the Alabama defense against a conference opponent from 2008-2013. The 2013 offense has totaled 3821-yards rushing and 39 TD's through 12 games, exceeding the 3497-yards and 38 TD's by the 2010 Auburn offense through the regular season. One of the keys for the game was whether or not Auburn could run the ball on first-down vs. Alabama's defense. Auburn averaged 6.04 yards per rush on first-down, which set up manageable third-down situations for the Auburn offense. Take away Alabama's 6 impact plays on offense and they finished with 239-yards on their remaining 58 snaps. Nick Marshall finished the game 11 of 12 passing within 10-yards of the line of scrimmage for 97-yards and 2 TD's. Since Auburn began to emphasize the read-option against Ole Miss, Nick Marshall and Tre Mason have combined for 236.1 yards rushing during the last 7 games they have played together. Auburn is now 13-3 vs. Alabama, when they run the ball at least 40 times since 1981. Auburn is now 34-2, the last 36 times they have won 2 out of the 3 phases of the game in terms of offense, defense and special teams. Nick Marshall is currently averaging 231.7 yards per game in total-offense. Auburn is now 4-1 on the season vs. opponents ranked at the time the Tigers played them. Auburn has only 1 scoreless period during the second-half, while the defense has totaled 8 scoreless periods against their opponent. With Gus Malzahn on the Auburn staff, the Tigers are now 16-3 in games decided by 7-points or less. This includes an 8-1 record against ranked opponents. During the 3 previous meetings against Alabama, Auburn rushed for a combined 278-yards. The Tigers racked up 296-yards against the No. 4 rated run-defense. Final Word... During my preview for the game, I noted the number of snaps Auburn and Alabama had taken, while trailing on the scoreboard this season. The Tigers entered the game with 212 snaps and Alabama had only 19. I thought this would become crucial should the game become tight. Though Alabama had experience playing in big games the last few years, Auburn this season had faced more adversity than Alabama and were used to playing under the gun. As they have done all season, they consistently kept themselves in position to make plays late to come out victorious. With Missouri defeating Texas A&M, the match up is set for the Southeastern Conference Championship. It has been a major turn around for both participants but the dream season will come to end for one of the two teams this coming Saturday. Auburn has the better run-offense and Missouri has the better defense, so it should be a very good game. Neither team was expected to win their divisions and now they have a grand opportunity to win a conference championship. The Auburn coaching staff now faces the task of keeping the player's emotions in check with only 1 week to prepare for the conference championship. The team has been focused for each game but it would have been nice to have that extra week to celebrate the win over Alabama. Make no mistake about it, Missouri has fielded a very good team this season. They are far more balanced on offense than Auburn and have performed far better on defense. It will take another stellar performance by Auburn to win their third SEC Championship game. War Eagle!
  18. How long will it take to beat Alabama? Pat Dye: 60 Minutes Gus Malzahn: Give me a second..... Way to go AUBURN TIGERS! Great Game. The team believed and Gus has built upon the foundation laid by Pat Dye. You could see the "never to yield" attitude in the Tigers, reminiscent of what Pat Dye established. On espn college gameday final, Mark May commented about even though those are big lineman if each gets in his lane, like he is supposed to, then the kick is not returned. I don't think those bama players thought Auburn could beat them and that is why they did not put forth the effort to cover their assignments. Their arrogance cost them. WAR EAGLE
  19. I am planning for some post game activity - of course, after the AU victory, I plan to go to Toomer's Corner. But win or lose, I plan to go to where the players come out after the game. I have not done that before, but I think a great crowd there would show the team all the fan support, regardless of the outcome. Can someone tell me when the team usually comes out after the game? Is it about an hour or two hours after?
  20. Coming into the showdown with UAT, Auburn runs the ball on first down 78.9% of the time. First-down production is always a vital element for offensive success, especially so against a dominant defense like UAT. During the last 4 meetings against UAT, Auburn has been placed in 2nd & 10 or longer on 29 different offensive possessions. The Tigers scored on only 3 of those possessions. As dominant as UAT's defense has been this season, they are allowing 4.26 yards per rush on first-down, which is 53rd nationally. Auburn comes into the game, No. 2 nationally, averaging 6.9 yards per rush on first-down. The UAT defense is No. 2 nationally in allowing explosive plays (10+) on run-defense or 1 every 15.9 attempts. Auburn's run-offense is No. 4 nationally in generating explosive run-plays with 1 every 4.9 attempts. Though UAT has been stingy on allowing explosive run-plays overall, they occur more frequently on first-down. UAT allows 1 every 9.5 snaps on first-down and 1 every 39.3 snaps on second-down. Auburn's run-offense generates 1 every 5.1 snaps on first-down and 1 every 4.4 snaps on second-down. Odds are if Auburn is to log an explosive run-play against UAT, it will likely happen on first-down. IMO, Auburn needs to challenge the UAT defense early with their running game, playing to their "team" strength. Should UAT defend the run consistently on first-down, then an adjustment needs to be made. Make UAT stop it first before attempting to out-coach them with a heavy dose of passing on first-down at the outset of the game. Keep in mind that Auburn is currently No. 60 nationally in pass-efficiency-offense on first-down and No. 51 in completion percentage on first-down. Auburn cannot afford to be in 2nd & 10 against UAT, which plays into their "team" strength on defense. For Auburn, it's better to be in 2nd & 7 than 2nd & 10.
  21. Last Saturday against the Georgia Bulldogs, Auburn had an opportunity to put the game away during the first-half but red zone issues kept the Bulldogs in the ball game. Had the Tigers maxed out their RZ opportunities, the score could have been 42-10 at halftime rather than 27-10. When the Tigers square-off with Alabama next Saturday, they will face the No. 2 defense in allowing red zone opportunities. The Crimson Tide basically allow 2 RZ trips per game, which is why they have maintained a great scoring defense. During the last 4 meetings against Alabama, Auburn has a total of 5 red zone trips to Alabama's 19. On this play Auburn faces a 2nd & goal from the UGA 5-yard line. The Tigers elect to go read-option with a full house backfield. At the snap, the Georgia defense bites on the inside give to Corey Grant with the OLB playing inside. Nick Marshall decides to keep and take the perimeter option. Brandon Fulse and Jay Prosch execute kick-out blocks and Marshall makes a terrific cut inside to score on the play. Nick Marshall's fake inside give to Grant freezes the OLB, who ends up taking a poor angle. After carrying out the fake and heading outside, his cut inside prevents the CB from making a play. Against Alabama, Auburn's perimeter plays will need to make quick and decisive movements towards the goal line. Slow developing plays and attempts to run lateral to the line of scrimmage will not work very often against their defense. When Auburn cracks the Alabama 20, it will be vital to come away with touchdowns because the trips there will likely be limited.
  22. The only positive thought that comes to mind regarding this season is it is mercifully over and Auburn can now move forward to better days. How and when this happens remains to be seen but just like upsetting Alabama this season, the return of Gene Chizik as Auburn's head coach in 2013 would take a miracle. Auburn can ill afford rolling the dice on this current coaching staff not after compiling a 11-14 record over the past 2 seasons. As shocking as winning the national championship in 2010 was to the nation, Auburn's complete collapse this season exceeds it. During Auburn's last 23 games, the Tigers lost 11 times by 14 or more points. No combination of two Auburn teams ever had that many blowout losses within a 23 game span. During the last 25 games, Auburn won the tackle for loss battle only 4 times. Auburn won the turnover battle only 6 times during the past 25 games. Auburn has allowed 193.8 yards rushing over the last 25 games. From 1990-2008, Auburn was penalized more than their opponent during the course of an entire season, 5 times out of 19 seasons. Under Chizik, Auburn was penalized more than their opponent in all 4 seasons. Bottom line, Auburn over the past two seasons has been plagued with turnovers, penalties, missed tackles and has been consistently beat within the trenches. This team became progressively worse as the season continued and there is not one positive aspect to make one believe better times are ahead without making massive coaching changes. Inside the Numbers: Tre Mason became the 15th Auburn Tiger to rush for over 1000-yards during a season, finishing the season with 1002-yards on 171 carries. During the 8 games he had at least 12 carries this season, Mason rushed for 858-yards on 137 carries, averaging 6.3 yards per carry. Auburn is 4-12 in their last 16 conference games, outscored by an average score of 32-15. The average score in the 12 losses was 34-9. The 2012 Auburn offense was held scoreless in half of the 48 quarters of football they played in during regulation. During the 1988 season the Auburn defense gave up a grand total of 92 points in 48 quarters of play. The 2012 defense allowed 96 points in the first quarter alone and 96 points during the second period alone. The 2012 Auburn offense scored a grand total of 224 points. The 2010 Auburn offense scored 180 points during the second quarter alone. The 2012 Auburn defense allowed 16.0 PPG during the first half this season, more than the 2004, 2005 and 2006 Auburn defenses gave up per game. From 1987-2008 Auburn averaged 9.3 yards per punt return. During the 4 seasons under Chizik Auburn averaged 6.5 yards per punt return, failing to exceed 9-yards per return in any of the 4 seasons. During the first 7 games of the season the Auburn defensive line accounted for 19 percent of the team's tackles. During the final 5 games of the season, they accounted for 30 percent. During conference play this season, Auburn converted 25 percent of their 3rd downs, while the opponent converted 45 percent. During conference play this season, Auburn quarterbacks were sacked 32 times, while the defense had only 10. Auburn had 99 offensive possessions in conference play this season, scoring on only 14. The defense defended 97 possessions, allowing 41 scoring drives. During conference play Auburn scored every 55 snaps, while the defense allowed a score every 16 snaps. The Auburn offense scored 8 offensive touchdowns in 8 conference games, while allowing 35. Auburn was outscored 272 to 81 in conference play this season. The Auburn pass-offense produced 3 TD passes in conference play along with 12 interceptions. On defense, the pass-defense allowed 16 TD passes with 0 interceptions. During the last 3 games of the season Auburn averaged 35.5 yards per punt on 17 punts. The Auburn offense gained 1881-yards on 442 snaps against conference opponents this season. In comparison, Auburn's conference opponents gained 1831-yards on 255 first down plays. Gabe Wright had his best game of the season with 8 tackles against Alabama. Emory Blake finished the season with 50 receptions for 789-yards. The final word... After falling behind 14-0, Auburn drove 40 yards on 8 plays to the Alabama 41-yard line. Facing a 4th & 5 from the Bama 41-yard line, Coach Chizik elected to punt. In a game he was favored to lose by 31, trailing by 14 in the first quarter and with a 3-8 record, Chizik elected to punt. What did he have to lose if he had gone for it and failed? This basically summed up the coaching mentality this season and why Auburn needs to go in a different direction. There were numerous times this season Coach Chizik showed a lack of faith in his players, which is why some of the players eventually showed a lack of effort as the season progressed. During a season the Auburn offense was horrible with inconsistent play by the offensive line, Tre Mason was a major breath of fresh air. The sophomore running back gained 1002-yards on just 171 carries. Speaking of Mason, did anyone notice he was carrying the football towards the defender's side, when he fumbled against Alabama? All of Auburn's running backs this season have consistently failed to move the positioning of the football away from the defender all year. Even Daren Bates moved the ball away from the defender during his fumble return for a touchdown this year. Just one example of having talent but not being fundamentally sound. Chizik likely has coached his last game at Auburn but whoever replaces him will have a major challenge in front of him and his staff. Though I believe there is better overall talent on this team compared to when Chizik arrived in 2009, Chizik's staff has failed to develop their talent mentally and physically. Auburn needs a hard-nosed coach, who will demand discipline on and off the field. The way this team collapsed during the second half of the season, it might be a wise decision to make a complete change and not retain any staff members from 2012. War Eagle!
  23. Thank God this will all be over in less than a week. I think the least embarrassing thing we could do is forfeit. No, I don't really mean that but I hope this team shows some manhood and heart this weekend, but my doubts of that happening are well grounded in reality.
  24. Auburn Student Ticket: South Upper 8 Row 28 Seat 22 Face value (85$) or best offer
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