The No. 7 ranked Auburn Tigers roll into Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Hollingsworth Field Saturday for the regionally televised Lincoln Financial SEC game of the week.
Auburn University was founded in 1856 and has been playing football since 1892. The Tigers have an all-time record of 663 wins, 383 losses and 47 ties. Their greatest success has come at home where the Tigers have a 254-61-7 record playing in Jordan-Hare Stadium, Pat Dye Field, which is the ninth largest on-campus stadium in America with a seating capacity of 87,451.
Auburn has won four national championships, six SEC championships, had 58 All-Americans and have played in 32 bowl games.
The Heisman Trophy is named after John Heisman who coached at Auburn between 1895 and 1899. In fact, Auburn is the only school where Heisman coached that has produced a Heisman Trophy winner. Auburn has had two, Pat Sullivan won the award in 1971, and Bo Jackson won the trophy in 1985. Shug Jordan won the most games of any coach in Auburn history, compiling a 176-83-6 mark over 25 years between 1951 and 1975.
Auburn brings a 7-1 overall record into this Rebel game and is second in the SEC West standings at 4-1 behind Arkansas, who remains undefeated in SEC play. Five of the Tiger wins have come at home with wins over Washington State 40-14, LSU 7-3, Buffalo 38-7, Florida 27-17 and Tulane 38-13. Their other two wins came at Mississippi State 34-0 and South Carolina 24-17.
The Tigers' only loss came at home when Arkansas rushed for 279 yards and won easily 27-10. Darren McFadden ran for 145 yards and Felix Jones managed to get 104 yards.
Saturday's game will be the 31st meeting between Ole Miss and Auburn dating back to 1928, a game won by the Rebels 19-0 that was played in Birmingham. Auburn has a big lead in the series holding a 22-8 advantage over Ole Miss. Auburn has won eight of the last ten games played, winning last year 27-3 behind the running of Kenny Irons, who gained 101 yards.
The Tigers have had great success in games played at Oxford, having won seven while only losing one. The one Rebel win was a 45-21 season-opening day victory in 1992. Oddsmakers don't give the Rebels much of a chance this week as Auburn is an 18.5 point favorite in this game. Ole Miss has not put together back-to-back wins over Auburn since winning the fourth, fifth and sixth games in the series between 1949 and 1952.
Tommy Tuberville, who is in his eighth year as the Tigers' head coach, will be returning to Oxford for the fourth time since bolting from Ole Miss to Auburn in 1998 after the Mississippi State game. He is yet to lose to the Rebels in Oxford and holds a 5-2 winning record over Ole Miss. The Rebels two wins were the 24-17 overtime win in 1999, and the 24-20 win in 2003. Tuberville is 67-28 at Auburn and 92-48 overall as a head coach.
Auburn will bring a solid offensive team to Oxford, averaging 27.2 points per game and second in SEC rushing at 159.6 yards per game. Al Borges is the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach who primarily uses a two-back, two-wide receiver set. The Tigers have rushed the ball 301 times while passing 179. Their third down conversion rate is third best in the SEC at 46%. The Tigers' quarterback, Brandon Cox, is not a flashy player but he is efficient with a 148.5 rating and is completing 65% of his passes. Borges has six starters returning from last year's 9-3 Tiger team. He will likely start six seniors, three juniors, one sophomore and one redshirt freshman. The Tigers' offensive line averages 309 pounds per man.
KEY AUBURN OFFENSIVE PLAYERS:
- QB 12 Brandon Cox, Jr., 6-2, 202 - 110-169-2int, 65%, 1411yards 8 tds, long 62 yards, rushing 38 times for (-105 yards) net;
- RB 23 Kenny Irons, Sr., 5-11, 203 - 121 carries for 581yards, 4.8 average, No. 2 in SEC @ 96.8/game;
- RB 1 Brad Lester, So, 5-11, 191 - 58 carries, 305 yards, 5.3 average;
-WR 86 Courtney Taylor, Sr. 6-2, 204 - 35 receptions, averaging, 11.4 yards/catch;
-WR 80 Roderiqus Smith, So., 6-0, 179 - 17 receptions, averaging, 17.7 yards/catch;
- TE 83 Gabe McKenzie, rFr. 6-4, 253 - 11 receptions, averaging 10.5 yards/catch;
- RB 22 Tre Smith, Sr., 5-11, 195 - Do-It-all-back, 22 rushes, 5 receptions;
- FB 32 Carl Stewart, Jr. 6-2, 224 - 18 carries, 5 receptions; and,
- RT 76 Tim Duckworth, Sr, 6-4, 310 - All-SEC from Taylorsville, Mississippi.
Auburn has their third different defensive coordinator in three years. This year Will Muschamp, a 1994 graduate of Georgia, heads up the Tigers' defense while coaching the secondary. Muschamp went with Nick Saban from LSU to Miami of the NFL for one year before returning to the SEC at Auburn. The Tigers are a 4-3-4 team that is only allowing 12.2 points per game which is third best in the SEC, they are second in sacks with 21 and number two in red zone defense allowing opponents to score only 55 per cent of the time when reaching the red zone. The Tigers' return six starters on defense and will likely start four seniors, four juniors and three redshirt freshmen. Their defensive front four average 276 yards per man, they are fast and like to zone blitz.
KEY TIGER DEFENSIVE PLAYERS:
- LB # 35 Will Herring, Sr., 6-3, 221 - 25 solo tackles, 17 assist, 42 total, All-SEC pre-season;
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