Stat Tiger Column: Analyzing Furman at AU

Stuart Carter crunches the numbers to predict what will happen on Homecoming as the Auburn football Tigers take on Furman.

Furman 4-4 (3-3 Southern Conference) at Auburn 6-3 (3-3 SEC)

2009 National Rankings:

Auburn: Rush Offense: 10th
Pass Offense: 77th
Total Offense: 26th
Score Offense: 22nd
Rush Defense: 96th
Pass Defense: 33rd
Total Defense: 70th
Score Defense: 75th

About Furman…

Furman is 4-4 after losing three of its last four games. The Paladins have faced one other FBS school this season, losing to Missouri by a score of 52-7. Furman maintains a balanced offense passing for 228 yards and rushing for 151 yards per game.

Senior quarterback Jordan Sorrells has averaged 217 yards passing per game and has thrown 14 touchdown passes to six interceptions. Tersoo Uhaa leads the Paladins in rushing with 441 yards and nine touchdowns. Wide receiver Adam Mims enters the game with 55 receptions for 613 yards.

Linebacker Kadarron Anderson leads the Furman defense with 102 tackles, including 5 1/2 for losses. The Paladin defense has struggled this season and is currently ranked No. 112 of 118 FCS schools. This includes a pass defense ranked 113th in their subdivision and dead last nationally in quarterback sacks.

As a unit the Furman defense has 31 tackles for loss, ranked 113th among FCS teams. Linebacker Chris Riley and safety Ryan Steed both have more than 50 tackles for the season. Six of eight opponents have gained more than 400yards on the Furman defense.

Inside the Numbers…

*Since 1951 Auburn is 27-0-0 against Non-FBS schools with an average score of 38-6.

*Auburn currently holds a 3-0 record against Furman with an average score of 40-2.

*Ben Tate is currently on pace for a 1,500-yard season. Coming into the Furman game he is averaging 118.5 rushing yards per game. Tate is currently ranked No. 11 nationally in rushing yards per game.

*The Auburn offense recorded its sixth 400-yard game in total offense against Ole Miss, equaling the season total of the 2005 offense. The 1970, 1995 and 2004 Auburn offenses hold the school record with eight 400-yard games.

*The 2009 Auburn defense has surrendered more than 350 yards in six of nine games. The most 350-yard games allowed in a season is seven, a mark currently held by the 1975, 1976, 1979, 1995 and 1996 Auburn defenses.

*Auburn opponents have averaged 189.4 yards rushing in the last eight games.

*The Auburn offense is currently averaging 32.9 yards per offensive possession and is scoring a touchdown every 20.9 plays.

*During the first four games of the season, the Auburn offense converted at least 40 percent of its third down opportunities, but has failed to reach that mark in its last five games. Auburn has converted only 32 percent of its third down conversions in the last five games.

*Last year at this same point of the season, Auburn had amassed 1,171 yards rushing at 3.3 yards per carry. This season Auburn has 2,018 yards rushing at 5.0 yards per rush.

*Last year at this same time, Auburn had six touchdown passes and 13 interceptions. This season the Tigers have improved to 16 touchdown passes and only four interceptions.

Why Auburn should win…

*Auburn has never lost to a Non-FBS school during the modern era of college football, including a 3-0 record against Furman.

*Auburn is currently No. 26 nationally in total offense and Furman possesses one of the worst defenses in the Football Championship Subdivision.

*The Paladins have allowed at least 38 points in three of their four losses this season.

*In its last 15 meetings against Non-FBS teams, Auburn has averaged 430 yards and 39 points per game while allowing 209 yards and eight points.

*In their last 10 meetings against a Non-FBS opponent, Auburn has averaged 223 yards rushing to 96 yards allowed on defense.

Why Furman should win…

*The numbers show the odds of Furman pulling an upset victory over Auburn are low, but the Paladins nearly caught North Carolina napping in 2006 with UNC pulling out a 45-42 victory. Auburn coaches might find it difficult to motivate their players, especially after a big conference victory over Ole Miss. Furman coaches will tell their players this is an opportunity of a lifetime.

Final Word…

Auburn's victory over Ole Miss made the Tigers bowl eligible, but additional victories should improve their position for a more lucrative bowl game. After five consecutive conference games, of which three were on the road, Furman will be a break from the physical grind of conference opposition.

With Zac Etheridge going down for the season with an injury against Ole Miss, Auburn coaches need to work through this game without any additional injuries. This game should provide Gene Chizik the opportunity to clear his bench and to rest the majority of his starters by halftime.

Though this isn't a game Auburn should be in jeopardy of losing, it's still important that the players improve their execution, especially on offense. The sooner Auburn can dispose of Furman, the more opportunities the reserves will have to play. The last thing Auburn coaches want is for the majority of starters having to play deep into the second half against Furman with Georgia around the corner.

The last time out against a lesser opponent, Ball State managed to score 30 points against the Auburn defense. This game should also help the coaches to evaluate their secondary with Etheridge out for the year.

This game will be more about how Auburn executes this Saturday than whether or not they will win. Should Furman not prove to be a physical challenge on the field, there is plenty to achieve for the Auburn Tigers. It's an opportunity to improve the quality of their depth with valuable playing time on the field.

Darvin Adams has been a key receiver for the Tigers.

For running back Onterio McCalebb, this game could be an opportunity to rest for the second consecutive week and heal an injured ankle. A healthier McCalebb will be needed as Auburn closes the regular season with its two biggest rivals. Someone other than Darvin Adams or Terrell Zachery needs to step up at wide receiver and they could have their opportunities against Furman. Auburn 48, Furman 13

Around the SEC…
Alabama over LSU by 9
Arkansas over South Carolina by 7
Ole Miss over Northern Arizona by 27
Florida over Vanderbilt by 16
Georgia over Tennessee Tech by 30
Kentucky over Eastern Kentucky by 22
Tennessee over Memphis by 17


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