Editor’s Note: This is the 12th in a series of previews of Auburn’s 2015 football opponents.
The narrative of the Iron Bowl for the last two seasons has been Gus Malzahn’s high-powered offense vs. Nick Saban’s stout defense.
In last year’s contest Auburn’s offense put up 44 points and 630 total yards against the Crimson Tide, yet the Tigers still lost due to their struggles on defense.
The Tide and Kiffin will have a lot of rebuilding to do. Perhaps the biggest loss was star receiver, Amari Cooper, who was one of the top players in the country last season.
With only returning two starters on the entire offense, Alabama may have to rely heavily on running back Derrick Henry. The junior has received a solid amount of playing time while backing up T.J. Yeldon the past two years and has been productive in his time on the field, totaling 990 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. In his first season as the featured back, Henry should be primed for a true breakout year.
The defense may have questions in the secondary that need to be addressed, but the front seven is expected to be dominant. The talented group might be one of the best that Saban and Defensive Coordinator Kirby Smart have put together.
Reggie Ragland is a senior linebacker for Alabama.
The headliner of the defense is tackle A’Shawn Robinson. The junior is a prototypical nose tackle who compiled 50 tackles last season. However, Alabama has multiple defenders who could be considered the best player on that side of the ball such as end Jonathan Allen (5 1/2 sacks) or linebacker Reggie Ragland (93 tackles). The Crimson Tide defense will most likely be as good as it has been in recent seasons..
On Nov. 28 friends and family will gather for the yearly tradition of watching this classic battle. Houses will be divided, and feelings may be hurt, but in the end only one team can come out of Jordan-Hare Stadium victorious and hold bragging rights for a whole year. Plus, it is possible the contest could be for the Western Division crown as it was in 2013.
Top Offensive Player: Junior Running Back Derrick Henry
Top Defensive Player: Junior Defensive Tackle A’Shawn Robinson
Quick Fact: Amari Cooper was clearly an important part of Alabama’s offense last season and when explained in numbers it is even more obvious. Cooper made up 43 percent of the team’s receiving yards (1,656 of 3,890) and 44 percent of the touchdowns (14 of 32).
2014 Results: 12-2 (7-1 SEC)
Sept. 5--Wisconsin vs. Alabama (Arlington, Tex.)
Sept. 12--Middle Tennessee State at Alabama
Sept. 19--Ole Miss at Alabama
Sept. 26--Louisiana-Monroe at Alabama
Oct. 3--Alabama at Georgia
Oct. 10--Arkansas at Alabama
Oct. 17--Alabama at Texas A&M
Oct. 24--Tennessee at Alabama
Nov. 7--LSU at Alabama
Nov. 14--Alabama at Mississippi State
Nov. 21--Charleston Southern at Alabama
Nov. 28–Alabama at Auburn
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