Stuart McNair

In almost all areas, Alabama and Auburn are close statistically

Statistics point to battle of rushing teams when Alabama hosts Auburn

Personally, we have never seen anyone throw a record book out of a window. There are several good reasons for that, including, perhaps, the possibility of litigation should someone be under the window. The most important reason, though, is that records do matter.
That doesn’t mean there are no upsets in football, including the Alabama-Auburn game. But more often than not, the better team wins.
Alabama has an all-time record of 44-35-1 record against Auburn, and considering Bama’s overall superiority in things like all-time record, Southeastern Conference record, SEC championships, national championships, bowl victories, etc., it’s a bit of a surprise that the Crimson Tide hasn’t dominated more. That serves as warning for the 2016 edition of Bama, which hosts Auburn Saturday.
Once again, Alabama comes into the game as the favorite going for three consecutive wins in the series. The Tide is ranked first in the nation, undefeated at 11-0 overall and 7-0 in SEC games and headed to next week’s SEC Championship Game against Florida. Auburn is 8-3 overall and 5-2 in the league.
After 11 games, Alabama also has the edge statistically against the Tigers, but it’s not a chasm.
For instance, Alabama leads the SEC in scoring at 40.3 points per game, but Auburn is less than a touchdown a game behind, fourth in the league at 34.1 points per game. In scoring defense, it’s about the same story. The Tide leads the conference, allowing 11.4 ppg, but the Tigers are just a field goal behind, fourth at 14.3 ppg.
The focus in pregame analysis has been on the running game. Auburn leads the league in rushing at 297.8 yards per game with Alabama second at 249.8. On defense, the Tide is No. 1 allowing only 68.9 jpg, while Auburn is third, giving up 117.7.
In passing offense, Alabama is fifth, 227.8 jpg, and Auburn 11th, 175.7. In passing defense, the Tide is second, giving up 183.7, and the Tigers are ninth, surrendering 216.8. Bama is first and Auburn fourth in passing efficiency, the Tide second and Auburn third in pass defense efficiency.
Alabama is second in the SEC in total offense at 477.6 yards per game with Auburn second at 473.5, a difference of about a foot a game. In total defense, the Tide is first, giving up 252.6 ypg, Auburn fifth, allowing 334.5.
On third downs, Alabama has converted 72-153 (47.1 per cent), which leads the conference, and the Tigers are third at 69-156 (44.2 per cent). Defensively, Bama is first, allowing 51-175 (29.1 per cent) and Auburn third, 57-175 (32.6 per cent).
The teams are tied in turnover margin, both plus 3. Alabama has 10 fumble recoveries and 10 interceptions for 20 takeaways and has lost 10 fumbles and 7 interceptions for 17 turnovers. The Tigers have 6 fumble recoveries and 9 interceptions for 15 takeaways and have lost 8 fumbles and 4 interceptions, 12 turnovers.
Auburn has been better in the Red Zone (inside the 20). The Tigers are fifth offensively, scoring on 44 of 51 trips (86.3 per cent) with 29 touchdowns and 15 of 16 field goals. The Tide is sixth, scoring on 43 of 50 opportunities (86 per cent), 31 TDs and 12-15 FGs.
On defense, Auburn is second, allowing scores on only 22 of 33 chances (66.7 per cent, 11 TDs, 11-15 FGs), and Bama is seventh, giving up 14-17 (82.4 per cent, 6 TDs, 8-8 FGs).
The Tigers are the league’s least-penalized team, 35.7 yards per game, the Tide third at 42.7. Bama’s opponents are the least penalized, 32.2 jpg, Auburn’s seventh, 46.5.
Alabama leads the league with 40 sacks for 329 yards, with Auburn sixth, 25-161. The Tigers have been sacked only 18 times for 132 yards, tied for fourth, and Bama has been sacked 20 times for 117 yards, seventh.
Auburn has the edge in kickoff returns, kickoff coverage, and field goals, while the Tide has been better in punting and punt returns.
Time of possession is essentially even, Alabama 31:08, Auburn 30:17.

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