Auburn, Ala.--Back on Oct. 13 in Fayetteville, Ark. the Auburn Tigers faced one of the nation's top rushing attacks led by Heisman Trophy candidate Darren McFadden and Felix McFadden. Doing what most thought was almost impossible, the Tigers held Arkansas to just 67 yards on the ground in a 9-7 victory.
Auburn will once again get the opportunity to face one of the nation's top one-two punches in the Chick-fil-A Bowl as the duo known as "Thunder and Lighting", James Davis and C.J. Spiller, lead a potent Clemson offense that averages 412.4 yards per game and 158.8 on the ground.
James Davis and C.J. Spiller are one of the top tandems in the country.
Thunder is Davis, who has rushed for a team-high 992 yards and nine touchdowns this season. Spiller, or Lightning as he's become to be known, has added 656 yards and two touchdowns. Throw in 32 catches for 629 yards and four touchdowns from Spiller and you have a dangerous combination. Auburn senior defensive end Quentin Groves says he's excited about the chance to face two players of that caliber in the upcoming Chick-fil-A Bowl.
"You see them all the time on ESPN," Groves says. "You see how ‘Thunder and Lightning', C.J. and James, hurt people. You watch them and wonder if they are that fast in real life. Now we get a chance to see.
"We pride ourselves on stopping the run around here," he adds. "Any time you can hold probably the Heisman winner (McFadden) to 40-something rushing yards is big. Those two, if we can contain them, I pray to God we'll have a good chance of stopping C.J. and James."
The catalyst for the offense is quarterback Cullen Harper. Running the show in Clemson's spread attack, Harper has thrown for 2,887 yards and 27 touchdowns with just six interceptions. Even with all those numbers, Auburn senior defensive end Quentin Groves knows that Clemson's offense is full of playmakers. That makes for a big challenge for Auburn come Dec. 31.
"You get a chance to see what your defense is about when you play a team like Clemson," Groves says. "They have a great running attack and great passing attack as well. Their receiver number 80, Aaron Kelly, is a great vertical threat and he poses a lot of problems for us. Their quarterback, Cullen Harper, is probably going to be the ACC Player of the Year. He's done a great job for them. They have a lot of weapons they can hurt you with."
Coming into the season Auburn was a team that many thought would have a chance to play for the SEC Championship at the end of the season. While they came up just short, Groves says it doesn't take anything away from their year and he's looking forward to another chance to win a game for the Auburn Tigers and leave his career on top.
"A lot of teams are at home right now," Groves says. "We're getting a chance to play in a postseason bowl. It's always great when you make a bowl game. The season didn't go the way we wanted it to at some points, but God always has a way of blessing you if you stay humble and stay true to Him. Postseason play is always a blessing."