StatTiger: Analyzing Alabama at Auburn

StatTiger (Stuart Carter) crunches the numbers to predict what will happen when Auburn takes on Alabama.

No. 2 Alabama 10-1 (6-1) at No. 24 Auburn 7-4 (4-3)

Series Record: Alabama leads 40-34-1

National Statistical Rankings:

Rushing Offense: Alabama (No. 16), Auburn (No. 36)
Pass Offense: Alabama (No. 73), Auburn (No. 106)
Total Offense: Alabama (No. 32), Auburn (No. 93)
Scoring Offense: Alabama (No. 20), Auburn (No. 78)
Rushing Defense: Alabama (No. 1), Auburn (No. 98)
Pass Defense: Alabama (No. 1), Auburn (No. 48)
Total Defense: Alabama (No. 1), Auburn (No. 81)
Scoring Defense: Alabama (No. 1), Auburn (No. 72)
Net-Punting: Auburn (No. 17), Alabama (No. 69)
Punt Return Offense: Alabama (No. 18), Auburn (No. 78)
Punt-Return Defense: Alabama (No. 22), Auburn (No. 29)
Kick Return Offense: Alabama (No. 27), Auburn (No. 31)
Kick Return Defense: Alabama (No. 52), Auburn (No. 72)

Inside the Numbers:

•Alabama's offense is No. 53 nationally in tackles for lost yardage allowed, which will face an Auburn defense ranked No. 50 in tackles for loss.

•Auburn's offense is No. 117 nationally in tackles for lost yardage allowed, which will face an Alabama defense ranked No. 20 in tackles for loss.

•Alabama is No. 4 nationally on offense in turnovers surrendered, which will face an Auburn defense that is No. 20 in forcing turnovers. Auburn's offense is No. 61 in turning over the football facing an Alabama defense, No. 86 in forcing turnovers.

•Alabama's offense is No. 12 nationally in third down offense facing an Auburn defense ranked No. 104 in third down defense. Auburn's offense is No. 93 in third down offense facing an Alabama defense ranked No. 1 in third-down defense.

•Auburn averages 5.14 yards per play on first down facing an Alabama defense which allows 4.15 yards per play. Alabama averages 7.22 yards per play on first down, which will face an Auburn defense allowing 6.04 yards per play.

•Auburn runs the ball 79 percent of the time on first down while Alabama runs the ball 61.6 percent of the time. Alabama's defense allows only 3.2 yards per rush on first down while Auburn has averaged 4.85 yards per rush on offense.

•Alabama's offense has generated 63 pass plays of 15 yards or more and 16 pass plays of 25 yards or more. Auburn's pass offense has 45 pass plays of 15 yards or more and 21 pass plays of 25 yards or more.

•Alabama's offense has 68 run plays of 10 yards or more and 29 run plays of 20 yards or more. Auburn's offense has totaled 69 run plays of 10 yards or more and 12 plays of 20 yards or more.

A.J. McCarron has a pass rating of 164.3 on third downs with a conversion rate of 47.6 percent. Clint Moseley has a pass rating of 165.2 and a conversion rate of 35.5 percent.

•Alabama's defense has allowed 19 runs of 10 yards or more and five runs of 20 yards. Auburn's defense has allowed 67 runs of 10 yards or more and 13 runs of 20-yards or more.

•Alabama's defense has allowed 25 pass plays of 15 yards or more and 12 of 25 yards or more. Auburn's defense has allowed 50 pass plays of 15 yards or more and 18 of 25 yards or more.

•Alabama's Trent Richardson wears down his opponent averaging 4.54 yards per rush in the first quarter, 5.02 in the second, 7.25 in the third and 6.78 in the final period.

Trent Richardson runs the football vs. Arkansas.

•During the last 25 Iron Bowls the team with the most rush attempts at the end of the game has won 22 of the games. Auburn is 12-0 and Alabama is 10-3 in those games.

•Alabama has averaged 122.0 yards rushing against Auburn under Nick Saban while allowing Auburn to rush for 120.3 yards. Alabama has averaged 71.0 yards rushing against coordinator Ted Roof's Auburn defense.

What to watch for...

•The majority of the Iron Bowls are physical games, which are decided up front in the trenches. Alabama has been the more dominant team up front, giving it a huge edge in the ball game. Auburn will need to play its most physical game of the season to make it competitive.

•Though the primary goal for the Auburn defense will be stopping Richardson and the Alabama running game, Auburn must defend the running back in the passing game, too. Richardson has 26 receptions for 322 yards this season and opposing running backs have caught 31 passes for 381 yards against the Auburn defense.

•Auburn came out in several two tight end sets with the quarterback under center. The Tigers primarily ran from this formation, but did complete a 14-yard pass to Lutzenkirchen. Look for the Auburn offense to build off this formation against Alabama.

•During Auburn's three biggest losses of the season, Onterio McCalebb accumulated 153 yards on 21 carries and nine receptions for 85 yards. That's 7.93 yards per play, which is something Auburn will need against a great Alabama defense.

Onterio McCalebb runs the football for the Tigers.

•Auburn will need to obtain explosive plays from its pass offense. Quindarius Carr has become a factor as of late with Moseley as the starter at quarterback. Carr has been targeted by Mosley nine times in the last five games with Carr catching four for 146 yards, which is 36.5 yards per reception.

•Alabama's defense has allowed the most points and highest yards per play during the first period. It is vital the Auburn offense plays well during the first period. The first quarter, by far, has been the most productive quarter for the offense.

Michael Dyer is Auburn's best offensive player and will be needed to play a significant role for Auburn to win. In the last 30 Iron Bowls, Auburn is 10-4 with a 100-yard rusher and 7-9 without one. If Dyer has 25 or more carries in this game, it's good news for the Tigers. Because Dyer will likely find very few gaps to run through, it would be beneficial to utilize him in the passing game, too.

•During the last eight games, Auburn has turned the ball over 16 times, surrendering 51 points off their miscues. The Tigers must win the turnover battle.

Final word...

During Auburn's three conference losses the Tigers have been outscored 128 to 31 and out-gained by an average of 453 yards to 279 yards. Auburn's performance in those games makes it difficult to predict that the Tigers can pull off a major upset as a 21-point underdog. Looking at the scoring averages and margins from conference play only, the game projects as an Alabama victory by the score of 32-6.

Redshirt sophomore Clint Moseley will be making his fourth start this season.

The last two meetings were close games with Alabama winning by five in 2009 and Auburn winning by one in 2010. Though Auburn struggled on offense in both games, the Tigers were able to generate enough explosive plays to remain competitive. Auburn's ability to produce explosive plays has dropped considerably in 2011. The Tigers currently have 77 through 11 games compared to the 106 in 2009 and 115 in 2010 through 11 games.

Statistically speaking, the 2011 Auburn defense is perhaps the worst defense during the modern era of Auburn football. Though Alabama doesn't possess an explosive offense it has been extremely efficient this season with its success geared around a power running game. This year's Iron Bowl will match up an Alabama team ranked No. 16 in run offense against an Auburn defense ranked No. 98 in run defense.

Because this game has historically favored the more physical team, it's easy to see why Alabama is a heavy favorite to win. Five different opponents have rushed for more than 200 yards against Auburn and the opponent's leading rusher has averaged 92.2 yards per game on 5.7 yards per rush. The Auburn defense will face a major challenge, stopping the combination of Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy. The two running backs have combined for 182.3 yards per game at 6.3 yards per rush.

Though the numbers indicate an Alabama victory, there are a few factors that could make this an interesting and competitive Iron Bowl. Auburn has struggled as a youthful team in 2011, but has been far more competitive at home than on the road. With this being the final game of the regular season, Auburn's players can completely attack for 60 minutes of football with no worries about pacing themselves for a game next week. The players will be focused this Saturday, driven to play their best game of the season.

Emotions could keep Auburn in the game early, but to beat the No. 2 ranked team in the country the Tigers will have to make plays in every phase of the game. Games are rarely won on emotion, but it will likely be Auburn's biggest weapon Alabama won't be able to defend. If Alabama gives Auburn its best game, it could be a long afternoon for the Tigers. Alabama 34, Auburn 10


Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories