Iron Bowl 2014 The Yin and Yang of College Football

Iron Bowl 2014 The Yin and Yang of College Football

Alabama Auburn Rivalry

What happens when a fast-paced, hurry up no huddle, high-scoring offense meets a stop the rush, stop the pass, push the line of scrimmage top-ranked defense?  The nation will find out, 6:45P, Saturday, November 29, when the SEC’s No. 1 ranked and playoff bound Alabama Crimson Tide faces off with the nothing to lose, dream-spoiler and bragging rights grabber No. 14 Auburn Tigers.

Alabama is number one in the SEC in defending the running game.

Auburn is number one in the SEC in rushing offense.

The Yin and the Yang of this year’s Iron Bowl 2014 is Auburn’s ability to run and score a lot of points and Alabama’s ability to stop the run and reject their opponents’ from scoring.

The Tide with a castor oil nasty taste in the mouth hankers for revenge for losing the extraordinarily rare opportunity to reach a goal that even Coach Bryant himself was not able to achieve with three shots at it.  Alabama’s chance to make college football history by winning three national championships in as many years was lost in the final seconds of the Iron Bowl last year.  Auburn arrives in Bryant-Denny Stadium with hopes to salvage a disappointing three-loss season, win the State’s bragging rights and crush the hopes and dreams of Tide fans around the world for the second year in a row.

It’s epic.

It’s the rivalry game of all rivalry games.

It’s the Iron Bowl 2014.

Offensive Score is Auburn’s Core

Auburn has one of the toughest schedules in all of college football and comes into the home of the Crimson Tide as battle tested and somewhat beaten up road warriors.  Through it all, they put up a ton of points.  Auburn hung the most points on their opponent’s season three times this year.  Auburn was the only team to score 35 points or more on LSU and they scored 41.  Auburn scored 45 points on Arkansas, which was the highest number of points any team hung on the hogs, except Georgia who also scored 45.  Auburn scored the highest sum of points on Ole Miss, 35.

Even in the loss to Texas A&M, the Tigers managed to accumulate amazing offensive yardage, 582 yards (greater than A&M) through 31 first downs (greater than A&M) and 38 points, which was not enough to outscore A&M who put 41 on the scoreboard that night.  It was in that game that Auburn lost to injury, star junior college transfer, wide receiver, #1 D’haquille ‘Duke’ Williams who had 609 yards on the season before going out with what may be a season ending injury.

Auburn Offense Powerful Playmakers

Auburn has two players in the SEC’s top thirteen for getting the ball in the end zone, Nick Marshall and Cameron Arits-Payne.  Auburn Senior, #44 Cameron Artis-Payne, or ‘Cap’ # is a Junior College transfer who came to the Plains last year and is a philosophy major.  With 1276 yards on the season and 10 touchdowns it appears that Cap’s ‘philosophy’ is score early score often.

Second-year quarterback, also a Junior College Transfer, #14 Nick Marshall, passed for 1688 and 14 TD and has 5 interceptions.  Nick Marshall is a dual threat quarterback, which historically has been a challenge for the Tide’s defense.  A magician at the faking the handoff in Coach Malzahn’s zone read offense, Marshall rushed for 739 yards and 11 touchdowns this season.

Marshall has many productive targets whether he passes or hands the ball off.  His favorite targets are wide receiver, Duke Williams who has 609 yards, #18 Junior wide receiver, Sammie Coates for 447 yards or handing it off to Auburn Freshman, #9 Roc Thomas, from Oxford, AL who has 297 yards and 1 TD this season.  The targets are many with Senior wide receiver, #4 Quan Bray who has 278 yards and Tight End, #81 6’5” tall C.J. Uzomah 125 yards and Senior transfer, #20 Corey Grant, who turns on the afterburners for 296 yards on the season and an impressive 6.2 yards per carry.

Auburn’s Rushing Offense spits out points like a pez dispenser and averages 273 yards per game.

Alabama’s Defense is Stingy and only allows 95 yards per game.

Alabama Defense, Score Stoppers

The Tigers will be greeted by a less than gracious host, The Alabma Crimson Tide, nearly undefeated were it not for a single blemish in a narrow loss to No. 8 Ole Miss, and they will mean to take care of business in this game.  Alabama is number one in the SEC in defending the running game and number one in total defense in the SEC.  The Tide is loaded on the D-line.  Look out for Alabama #47, 6’3”, senior, linebacker, Xzavier Dickson who is tied at seventh in the nation for the most sacks and is 10th in the SEC for tackles for loss.

Alabama is the only team to shut out the A&M Aggies, 59 – 0, a team held to under 21 points by only one other opponent and that was No. 8 Ole Miss who only allowed 20.  Alabama held Arkansas to 13 points which is the second lowest number of points the Hogs scored all season, the lowest was achieved by the Bulldogs No. 4 Mississippi State who only allowed 10 points from the Hogs.  In the season opener in the Georgia Dome, The Tide held West Virginia to what would turn out to be their second lowest score on the season, 23, and the Mountaineers only had one score lower in any game this year and that was 16 points.  Will the Tide hold Auburn to a low-scoring game in Iron Bowl 2014?

How does the Tide Prevent Scoring?

In the showdown with Mississippi State last week, Alabama’s defense met a great challenge to stop a well-rounded Bulldog team led by Junior quarterback, Dak Prescott.

Prescott came into Bryant-Denny with seven interceptions over the previous nine games and was confronted by three Alabama Defensive Backs who each grabbed one interception from the Heisman candidate quarterback.  The three-headed monster in Dak’s nightmare was #5 Junior Cyrus Jones, #27 Senior Nick Perry, and #26 Junior Landon Collins.  Landon Collins Tied for 4th in the SEC for interceptions and tied for 5th in the SEC in forced fumbles.  Jones has 13 tackles and 2 interceptions in the last 5 games.  He is tied for 5th in the SEC in passes defended.  Perry has 38 tackles in the last 5 games.

Mississippi State’s Josh Robinson, the SEC’s No. 2 rusher, was tackled by Trey DePriest in endzone for a safety in the first quarter.  Alabama held him to a meager 37 yards on 12 carries.  Alabama Senior Linebacker, #33 Trey DePriest has 35 tackles in the last five games.

Big Bama Backs on Defense

Number of Tackles In the last five games including solo and assists:

49 Tackles, #19 Reggie Ragland Junior LB, the 9th best tackler in the SEC.

35 Tackles, #33 Trey DePriest Senior LB

31 Tackles, #90 Jarran Reed Junior DL

27 Tackles, #86 A’Shawn Robinson Sophomore DL

19 Tackles, #24 Geno Smith Junior DB

16 Tackles, #25 Dillon Lee Junior LB

So many disciplined defensive backs who love to play on the other guy’s side of the line of scrimmage.

In Iron Bowl 2014

Will Alabama’s Defense get tangled in the shrewd play calling of one of the best offensive minds in football, Coach Gus Malzahn?  Or will Auburn’s Nick Marshall and company be met with the same three-headed nightmare that Dak Prescott did and wake up Sunday morning after the game to realize it wasn’t a dream.

In the Yin and the Yang of College Football, somehow, something will give.

Eventually, someone will push over the line and win.