#2/2/2 AUBURN (11-0, 7-0 SEC) vs. #9/11/11 ALABAMA (9-2, 5-2 SEC) NOVEMBER 26, 2010 œ 1:30 PM CT œ TV: CBS BRYANT-DENNY STADIUM (101,821) œ TUSCALOOSA, AL
Gene Chizik (Florida, 1985)
Auburn Record 19-5 (2nd year)
vs. Alabama 0-1
Overall Record 24-24 (4th year)
vs. Alabama 0-1
Nick Saban (Kent State, 1973)
Alabama Record 38-10 (4th year)
vs. Auburn 2-1
Overall Record 128-52-1 (15th year)
vs. Auburn 4-4
Alabama leads, 40-33-1
at Auburn AU leads, 7-3
at Tuscaloosa AU leads, 6-1
Neutral sites UA leads, 30-19-1 (6-1)*
at Birmingham UA leads, 28-17-1 (6-1)*
at Montgomery, AL Tied, 2-2
Last Meeting UA 26, AU 21
Nov. 27, 2009 in Auburn, AL
*Birmingham games counted as neutral site until 1988 when ticket allocation changed.
Auburn 2 BCS/2 AP/2 USA Today/2 Harris
Alabama 11 BCS/9 AP/11 USA Today/11 Harris
Auburn and Alabama meet for the 75th time in the Iron Bowl on Nov. 26 in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Auburn, which is coming off of its bye week after playing for the first 11 weeks of the season, is looking to remain undefeated heading into the SEC Championship game, while Alabama will try to get to double digit wins for the third straight season.
* Eighteen of the last 22 meetings in the series have been decided by 10 points or less.
* Auburn has not allowed a first-quarter touchdown to Alabama since 1996.
* Auburn has 54 players on its roster from the state of Alabama, including seven starters.
* Auburn is the only team nationally hat has beaten four teams currently ranked in the Associated Press Top 25. Arkansas has beaten three, and no one else has beaten more than two.
* Auburn has trailed in seven of its 11 victories, and has rallied from a double-digit deficit in three of the wins.
* Auburn is ranked third nationally in rushing offense (307.9), fifth in scoring offense (42.8) and sixth in total offense (505.2).
* Auburn is averaging 324.7 yards rushing against SEC opponents and has rushed for at least 300 yards against six straight SEC teams for the first time in school history.
* Cam Newton leads the SEC and ranks ninth nationally (second among
quarterbacks) in rushing (117.9). He is the only player in the country with five 170-yard rushing games this season.
* Newton is the first player in SEC history and one of nine different FBS players ever to pass for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in a single season.
* Newton ranks second in the nation with 39 TDs scored or passed for, which is more touchdowns than 62 of the other 119 FBS schools have scored as a team this season.
* Michael Dyer has rushed for 859 yards, which is sixth most nationally among freshmen, and broke Bo Jackson's Auburn freshman rushing record of 829 yards.
* Onterio McCalebb is averaging 8.76 yards per carry, which is best in the nation among rushers ranked in the top 100 in the country.
* Lee Ziemba will break Auburn records for most starts and most consecutive starts by starting against Alabama. It will mark his 50th consecutive start.
* Auburn's defense has held opponents to 17-of-64 (.266) on third-down conversion attempts in the second half and overtime this season.
* Nick Fairley leads the SEC and is tied for eighth nationally in tackles for loss with 18.0, which is tied for fourth most in a season in school history (since 1981).
AUBURN-ALABAMA SERIES NOTES
This will be just the fourth time the teams have met on Thanksgiving weekend since 1992 ... Auburn won six straight meetings from 2002-07, which was the second-longest winning streak in the series for either team ... The Tide won nine straight from 1973-81 ... Since 1980, with the exception of 1982, 1998, and 2003, at least one of the two teams has been ranked in the AP poll for every game ... The team leading at halftime has won 74.0 percent of the time (54-of-73) ...
There have been 23 shutouts in the rivalry, with the Tigers winning eight ... Eighteen of the last 22 meetings have been decided by 10 points or less ... The visiting team has won six of the last 11 games after the home team had won the previous seven ... The game has been tied at the half on eight occasions, with Alabama winning seven of those ... Since 1996 (last 14 meetings), the team trailing at the half has won five times - Alabama in ‘96, ‘98 and ‘99, Auburn in ‘97 and
‘04 ... Auburn has held Alabama to 112 or fewer yards rushing in nine of the last 12 meetings.
BATTLE OF TOP TEN TEAMS
Friday's game will mark the sixth time in the series that both Auburn and Alabama were ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press poll when meeting. The last time both teams were ranked in the top 10 was in 1994, when No. 4 Alabama beat No. 6 Auburn, 21-14, in Birmingham.
Three of the top-10 meetings took place in a four-year span in the 1970s. In 1971, No. 3 Alabama beat No. 5 Auburn, 31-7, before the No. 9 Tigers beat No. 2 Alabama 17-16 the following year. In 1974, No. 2 Alabama earned a 17-13 victory over No. 7 Auburn. The first meeting between the teams when both were ranked in the top 10 came in 1963, when No. 9 Auburn claimed a 10-8 victory over No. 6 Alabama.
ALABAMA QUICK HITTERS
Alabama has won 20 consecutive games at Bryant-Denny Stadium ...
Alabama is ranked third nationally in scoring defense (12.8) and seventh in total defense (293.5) ... The Crimson Tide has allowed just 39 points in their six home games ... Alabama's defense has intercepted 21 passes this season, which leads the nation ... The Crimson Tide leads the SEC in turnover margin at +12, forcing twice as many turnovers (24) as it has committed (12) ... WR Julio Jones has caught 65 passes this season, which is just two shy of the Alabama single-season record of 67 set by DJ Hall in 2007 ... RB Mark Ingram has 39 career rushing touchdowns, which is just two short of the school record of 41 held by Shaun Alexander (1996-99) ... DB Robert Lester's seven interceptions lead the SEC.
Auburn defensive coordinator Ted Roof started his coaching career as a graduate assistant coach at Alabama in 1987-88.
Auburn has 54 players on its roster from the state of Alabama, which easily surpasses Georgia (20) as the state that has produced the most members of this year's team. Included in the list of 54 players are 27 players listed on the current depth chart, including seven starters (Zach Clayton, Zac Etheridge, Nick Fairley, Mike McNeil, Ryan Pugh, Demond Washington and Terrell Zachery).
AU-UA: THE 41-YEAR BREAK
Auburn and Alabama did not play for 41 years, from 1908 through 1947. There are two common misconceptions about the reason for the 41-year lapse. The first is that a fight broke out after a 6-6 tie in
1907 and caused both schools to discontinue the series. The second is that the state legislature got the two schools back together. Neither is true.
Auburn and Alabama quit playing because of money and officiating. Auburn wanted a northern umpire for the 1908 game, Alabama wanted a southern umpire. Auburn wanted to bring 22 players and allow $3.50 per day for expenses. Alabama wanted to bring 20 players and allow $3 per day for expenses. The two schools could never reach an agreement on these items and they became the bone of contention for years. After a period of time, scheduling became a problem.
The two schools quit playing in all sports. They renewed their athletic rivalry - the rivalry off the field never quit - in 1948 after actually "burying the hatchet" in Birmingham's Woodrow Wilson Park.
In the winter and spring of 1948, Auburn president Dr. Ralph B.
Draughon and Alabama president Dr. John Gallalee decided the disagreement had gone on long enough and agreed the series should be renewed after doggedly fighting what they considered interference into their internal affairs by the state legislature. Several cities, including Montgomery and Mobile, were considered for the game site.
Birmingham was chosen because it had the largest stadium in the state, 44,000-seat Legion Field.
Alabama won that renewal game, 55-0, in 1948. The Tide was a prohibitive favorite the next year, too, but Auburn pulled off one of its biggest upsets ever, 14-13, and one of the nation's great football rivalries was reborn.
PUNT BAMA PUNT
One of the most incredible Auburn-Alabama games was played on Dec. 2, 1972. A few days before the game, Alabama head coach Bear Bryant incited the rivalry when he told reporters that he would rather, "beat that cow college once than beat Texas 10 times." That set the stage as second-ranked Alabama brought a 10-0 record into Legion Field to meet the ninth-ranked Tigers, who were 8-1.
For the entire game, Bama's defense held the Auburn offense in check. With 5:30 remaining in the game, 16-point favorite Alabama held a seemingly insurmountable 16-3 lead. The Tigers, perhaps fueled by Bryant's remarks, came roaring back for one of the best finishes in Auburn-Alabama history. Auburn's Bill Newton blocked two Alabama punts and David Langer ran both in for touchdowns as Auburn came back to win 17-16. Newton and Langer will forever be remembered by Auburn fans for their play in the now famous "Punt Bama Punt" game.
BO OVER THE TOP
One of the more memorable games from the 1980s was the 1982 affair which is remembered for "Bo over the top." Auburn had a nine-year losing streak against Alabama entering the game, but Bo Jackson's 1-yard leap over the Alabama goal line on fourth down with
2:26 left capped a 66-yard drive and gave Auburn a 23-22 victory, setting the stage for what Auburn people consider the Tigers' "coming out" party in the 1980s.
THE 1980'S: thE NEW CHAPTER
Though Alabama dominated the series through the 60s and 70s, the rivalry reached new heights in the 80s as the average margin of victory was a mere 6.4 points. Some classic battles were waged in the decade.
Two games that epitomize the series came in 1985 and 1986.
Auburn won the 1986 meeting on a Lawyer Tillman reverse into the endzone with 32 seconds remaining to down Bama 21-17. Alabama won the 1985 game, 25-23, on a 52-yard Van Tiffin field goal as the clock expired.
A historic new page was added to the rivalry in 1989 when Alabama came to Auburn's Jordan-Hare Stadium for the first time.
SETTING A SACKS RECORD
In Jordan-Hare Stadium in 2005, Auburn set a new school record by sacking Alabama quarterbacks 11 times. Auburn record five sacks during the first quarter alone while holding Alabama to minus-17 yards of offense in the period. Seven different players had at least half a sack for Auburn, led by 3.5 sacks from Stanley McClover.
TIGERS DOMINATE FIRST QUARTER VS. TIDE
Auburn has dominated the first quarter against Alabama in recent seasons, outscoring the Crimson Tide 97-17 in the last 13 opening periods dating back to the 1997 game. Alabama has not scored a first-quarter touchdown against Auburn since 1996, collecting just five field goals and a safety in the last 13 meetings. Auburn has shut out Alabama in the opening period in eight of the last 13 games, while the Tigers have scored 10 or more points in the first quarter in six of those 13 contests.
TIGERS VS. NO. 9-RANKED TEAMS
Auburn has an all-time record of 6-8 against teams ranked No. 9 in the Associated Press poll. The last time Auburn played a No. 9-ranked team was last season when the Tigers lost at No. 9 LSU, 31-10. The Tigers won their two previous games against teams ranked ninth, winning at Georgia, 31-30, in 2005, and in the 2005 Sugar Bowl against Virginia Tech, 19-16.
Auburn has twice played ninth-ranked Alabama teams. In 1980, the No. 9-ranked Tide earned a 34-18 victory in Birmingham, and in 2002, unranked Auburn stunned No. 9 Alabama in Tuscaloosa, 17-7.
Auburn is 2-0 when playing against No. 9 teams when Auburn is also ranked in the top 10. In addition to the victory by No. 3 Auburn against Virginia Tech, No. 5 Auburn won at No. 9 Tennessee, 10-9, in 1971.
ON THIS DATE
Auburn has an all-time record of 2-8-2 in games played on Nov.
26 and has lost four straight. The last time Auburn played on this date was in 1992 - a 17-0 loss to No. 2-ranked Alabama in Birmingham.
Auburn's last victory on Nov. 26 came in 1955, when No. 10 Auburn blanked unranked Alabama, 26-0. The Tigers' other Nov. 26 win was a
13-6 victory over South Carolina in 1931.
SEC WEST CHAMPS
Auburn's victory over Georgia on Nov. 13 clinched the SEC West title for the Tigers, who will play in their fourth SEC Championship game (1997, 2000, 2004, 2010). The Tigers have now won or shared the SEC West title seven times since 1997, and a win against Alabama would give the Tigers their third outright title (2000, 2004).
IN THE BCS AND POLLS
Auburn is currently ranked second in the BCS standings as well as in the Associated Press, USA Today and Harris Interactive polls. The Tigers continue to shine in the computer rankings used by the BCS, as five of the six computers have Auburn ranked No. 1. On Oct. 24 Auburn was ranked No. 1 in the BCS standing, marking the first time Auburn had ever been the BCS No. 1-ranked teams since the inception of the BCS in 1998. The Tigers also currently have matched their highest ranking in the AP poll since the 2006 season, when Auburn was ranked No. 2 for three weeks.
BEATING THE BEST
Auburn is the only team that has beaten four teams currently ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 (No. 6 LSU, No. 12 Arkansas, No. 18 South Carolina, No. 25 Mississippi State,). Arkansas, whom Auburn beat on Oct. 16, has defeated three currently ranked teams, and no other ranked team has beaten more than two other teams currently ranked in the AP top 25.
WINS VS. RANKED TEAMS
Auburn has won three games this season against teams that were nationally ranked at the time of the game, beating No. 6 LSU, No. 12 Arkansas and No. 12 South Carolina. It marks the first time Auburn has beaten three ranked teams in the same season2006, when Auburn beat No. 2 Florida, No. 6 LSU and No. 22 Nebraska. The Tigers beat five ranked teams during their undefeated 2004 season.
11-0 START PUSHES WIN STREAK TO 12
Auburn's 11-0 start is just the third in school history.
Auburn previously started 11-0 in 2004 before finishing 13-0, and in
1993 when the Tigers ended the season 11-0. Auburn has also extended its winning streak to 12 games, which is the longest since Auburn won 15 in a row from 2003-04 and the fifth longest in school history.
THROUGH 11 GAMES
Below is a statistical comparison of Auburn's two Gene Chizik-coached teams after 11 games.
Category 2009 2010
Record 7-4 11-0
Points Scored 34.0 42.8
First Downs 21.2 24.6
Total Offense 441.5 505.2
Rushing Yards 219.5 307.9
Passing Yards 221.9 197.3
Time of Possession 28:26 29:01
3rd Down Conversion Pct. .414 .533
Points Allowed 27.0 24.9
Yards Allowed 359.2 355.7
Rushing Yards Allowed 169.7 111.5
Passing Yards Allowed 189.5 244.2
Auburn's win over Georgia on Nov. 13 made Auburn the 13th Football Bowl Subdivision team to reach 700 all-time victories. The Tigers, who are 700-400-47 (.631) all-time, are the fifth SEC team to reach the 700-win milestone. Ironically, Auburn's very first win also came against Georgia - a 10-0 win in 1892 in Atlanta.
Auburn is 217-168-21 (.560) all-time in the month of November.
The Tigers are 13-7 in their last 20 games in November since the 2004 season.
Senior Lee Ziemba has the longest staring streak on the squad, having started all 49 games over the past four seasons since arriving at Auburn as a true freshman in 2007. If he starts against Alabama, he will break Will Herring's school records of 49 career starts and 49 consecutive starts.
One other senior has a streak that dates back to his freshman season, as Ryan Pugh has made 39 straight starts. Senior Josh Bynes is next with 32 consecutive starts and senior Mike Berry has made 29 straight starts.
PILING UP THE TOUCHDOWNS
Junior quarterback Cam Newton has accounted for 39 touchdowns this season, which is second most in the nation. He has thrown for 21, rushed for 17 and caught one. Of the 119 other Football Bowl Subdivision schools, 62 of them (52.1 percent) have not scored 39 touchdowns this season as a team.
Newton's 39 TDs scored and passed for is the best in a single season in school history, smashing the old school record of 26 held by Pat Sullivan (1970).
On Nov. 13 against Georgia, Cam Newton became the first player in SEC history to throw for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in a season. His achievement had previously been accomplished by just seven quarterbacks in NCAA history entering this season, including just three from BCS conference schools. Michigan's Denard Robinson also reached the milestone on Nov. 20. The list of quarterbacks who have achieved the 2,000/1,000 milestone follows:
QB School Year Pass Rush
Cam Newton Auburn 2010 2,038 1,297
Denard Robinson Michigan 2010 2,229 1,538
Dwight Dasher Middle Tenn. 2009 2,789 1,154
Colin Kaepernick Nevada 2009 2,052 1,183
Joe Webb UAB 2009 2,299 1,427
Colin Kaepernick Nevada 2008 2,849 1,130
Joe Webb UAB 2008 2,367 1,021
Dan LeFevour Central Mich. 2007 3,652 1,122
Brad Smith Missouri 2005 2,304 1,301
Vince Young Texas 2005 3,036 1,050
Brad Smith Missouri 2002 2,333 1,029
Woodrow Dantzler Clemson 2001 2,360 1,004
Cam Newton leads the SEC and ranks ninth nationally (second among quarterbacks) in rushing, averaging 117.9 yards per game, and is tied for the national lead with 17 rushing touchdowns. He is the only player in the country with five games of 170+ rushing yards this season.
Newton's numbers are even better in SEC games, as he averages
149.3 yards per game and has 14 rushing touchdowns - both league bests.
He averages more yards rushing in SEC games than eight other entire SEC teams. Newton is the first player in school history to rush for three or more touchdowns in three consecutive SEC games, and the second player in school history to rush for three or more touchdowns in back-to-back games, joining Joe Cribbs (1979).
It took Newton just eight games to break the SEC's single-season rushing record by a quarterback of 1,006 yards, and he now has 1,297 yards. With three games left, Newton is on pace to finish the season with 1,651 yards rushing, which would rank second in Auburn history behind Bo Jackson's 1,786 yards during his Heisman Trophy-winning season.
Newton, who has 231 more yards rushing than anyone else in the SEC, also has a chance to become the first quarterback to lead the SEC in rushing since Auburn's Jimmy Sidle in 1963.
FIVE OF THE TOP 51 (FORMERLY 50)
Cam Newton has only played 11 games at Auburn, but amazingly, he already owns five of the top 51 rushing performances in the history of a school known for its long line of stellar running backs. He had five of the top 50 until Michael Dyer rushed for 180 yards at Ole Miss, bumping Newton's fifth-best effort down one spot.
In his Auburn debut, Newton posted the second-highest rushing total ever for an Auburn quarterback, gaining 171 yards and two touchdowns against Arkansas State. He topped that against South Carolina, going for 176 yards and three scores, then went for 198 yards and four TDs at Kentucky, tying the school single-game record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback. He added 188 yards and three TDs against Arkansas before shredding LSU for a career-high 217 yards and two more scores.
Newton is the only player in school history to rush for 170 or more yards in four consecutive Southeastern Conference games, and no one else had done it more than twice in a row. Newton is also only the second player in school history to rush for 170 or more yards five times in a single season, joining Bo Jackson who accomplished the feat in 1985.
DOMINATING VS. THE SEC
Cam Newton has excelled all season, but has really been on a tear in his last six SEC games. In the last six conference games (three against ranked opponents), he has rushed for 975 yards (162.5 ypg) and 14 TDs, including 603 yards during a three-game span (Kentucky, Arkansas, LSU). The last time an Auburn player rushed for 600 total yards over three consecutive games was in 1985, when Bo Jackson tallied 658 yards against Ole Miss (240), Florida State (176) and Georgia Tech (242). Newton's 603 yards are the most rushing yards ever by an Auburn player over a three-game span in SEC action. The previous best was Jackson's 570 rushing yards in 1983 against Florida (196), Georgia (118), and Alabama (256).
Newton has also completed 71.2 percent of his throws during those six games, completing 79-of-11 throws for 951 yards and seven touchdowns with just two interceptions.
MORE THAN JUST A RUNNER
Cam Newton has not only excelled with his feet, but also throwing the ball. Newton ranks second nationally in passing efficiency (183.58) and became the first quarterback in school history to throw at least two touchdown passes in each of the first five games of a season.
No other Auburn quarterback had done that in as many as the first three games.
Newton has accounted for five TDs in a game three times this season (vs. Arkansas State, South Carolina and Chattanooga) and was named SEC Offensive Player of the Week after the first two games, two of five such awards he has earned this year. In addition to his rushing and passing efficiency numbers, he leads the SEC and ranks 10th nationally in total offense (303.2), ranks fourth in the SEC in all-purpose yards (121.7), has caught two passes for 42 yards and a touchdown and even punted once for 22 yards.
OFFENSE KEEPS ROLLING
Auburn's offense continues to shine under second-year offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, as the Tigers rank third nationally in rushing offense (307.9), fifth in scoring offense (42.8) and sixth in total offense (505.2). Auburn is on pace to break the school single-season records for scoring per game (38.5 - 1995) and total offense per game (485.0 - 1970) and currently has the second-best rushing yards per game average in school history (312.5 - 1985). Auburn has already set a new school record for points scored in a season (471).
Auburn has scored at least 50 points in five different games this season, which is the most in one season in school history. The Tigers missed adding a sixth occurrence by one point, scoring 49 vs. Georgia.
In 24 games under Malzahn, Auburn has totaled at least 500 yards of offense 10 times, including six this season. Prior to Malzahn's arrival, Auburn hadn't had a single 500-yard game since the 2005 Georgia game - a streak of 40 games.
DOMINANT GROUND GAME
Auburn's running game has been dominant this season, as the Tigers easily lead the SEC with their average of 307.9 yards per game -
87.4 yards per game more than second-place Ole Miss. Auburn has three of the top 12 rushers in the SEC, led by junior quarterback Cam Newton, who averages a league-best 117.9 yards per game on the ground. Freshman Michael Dyer is ninth in the SEC averaging 78.1 yards per game, while sophomore Onterio McCalebb (62.1 ypg) is 12th. The Tigers have been so good on the ground that even if you take away Cam Newton's 1,297 rushing yards, Auburn would still have 2,090 yards rushing, and its average of 190.0 yards per game would still rank third in the SEC and 28th nationally.
Auburn is averaging 6.5 yards per carry, which would be the second-best average over the course of a season in SEC history, trailing only LSU's average of 6.8 in 1945.
The Tigers have a chance to become the first SEC team since the 1985 Auburn squad to average more than 300 yards rushing per game in a season. The 2007 Arkansas squad came closest in the last 25 years, averaging 286.5 yards per game.
Auburn has rushed for at least 300 yards eight times this season, and 10 times in the past two years. Prior to Gus Malzahn's arrival, Auburn had just four 300-yard rushing games in the previous six seasons combined (76 games).
FEASTING ON SEC DEFENSES
Auburn has put up amazing rushing numbers against the tough defenses of the SEC. The Tigers are averaging a whopping 323.3 yards per game on the ground against SEC opponents, which leads the league by 126.3 yards per game over runner-up LSU (197.0). Auburn has outrushed LSU by 884 yards in seven conference games, and has more than doubled the rushing output in SEC games of eight teams.
Auburn rushed for 440 yards against an LSU defense that ranked sixth nationally in rushing defense (83.6), marking the most yards rushing by Auburn against an SEC opponent in school history. Auburn had 315 yards on the ground against a Georgia defense that entered the game ranked 13th nationally against the rush.
The Tigers have put up more than 300 yards rushing against six straight SEC opponents, as Auburn also had 334 yards against South Carolina, 311 yards at Kentucky, 330 yards against Arkansas and 343 against Ole Miss. Since records became available in 1967, Auburn had never before rushed for at least 300 yards in even three straight SEC games, let alone six.
THIRD DOWN SUCCESS
Auburn offensive success is due in part to the Tigers' ability to convert on third downs. Auburn is currently ranked third nationally in third-down conversions at 53.3 percent. Auburn has converted on at least half of its third-down attempts in eight of its 11 games, including seven of the last eight. In its last three games, Auburn has converted a whopping 68.6 percent of its third-down conversion attempts (24-of-35).
DYER SETS FRESHMAN RUSHING RECORD
True freshman Michael Dyer has established a new Auburn record for yards rushing by a freshman this season, rushing for 859 yards this season to break Bo Jackson's record of 829 set in 1982. His average of 78.1 yards per game ranks sixth nationally among freshmen.
Dyer had his third 100-yard rushing performance of the season and second in a row by rushing for a career-high 180 yards at Ole Miss Oct. 30. His rushing total was the third best ever by an Auburn freshman and most ever by an AU freshman against an SEC opponent.
McCALEBB ON RECORD PACE
Sophomore Onterio McCalebb is 12th in the SEC in rushing, averaging 62.1 yards per game, but he has done it while averaging just 7.1 rushes per game. McCalebb is averaging a whopping 8.76 yards per carry, which is easily the best average of anyone ranked in the top 100 in the nation in rushing (second best is 7.77 ypc by Florida State's Chris Thompson). The Auburn single-season record with a minimum of 80 carries is 8.44 yards per carry by Tommy Lorino in 1956. McCalebb also has had at least one rushing touchdown in five straight games, including three straight games in which he had a TD run of at least 49 yards.
Auburn currently ranks second in the nation in passing efficiency with a rating of 182.07, thanks largely to two key factors.
First, the Tigers are the only team in the country to average a touchdown pass on more than 10 percent of their attempts (10.38).
Second, the Tigers also lead the nation with an average of 10.24 yards per pass attempt.
Individually, Cam Newton leads the SEC and ranks second in the country with a rating of 183.58, thanks largely to his nation-leading touchdown percentage of 10.61 and his average of 10.29 yards per pass attempt, which is second in the country.
The Tigers have run 27 plays already this season that covered at least 35 yards, including 18 that resulted in touchdowns. Six of the plays, all touchdowns, covered at least 68 yards. Last season, Auburn had 22 plays of at least 35 yards. In 2008, before Gus Malzahn's arrival, the Tigers had just nine plays that covered 35 or more yards all season.
EXPERIENCED O-LINE PAVES THE WAY
Auburn has one of the most experienced if not one of the best offensive lines in the country, with four starters returning who have combined to make 153 career starts. Senior All-American candidate Lee Ziemba has started all 49 games at tackle since arriving as a true freshman, while center Ryan Pugh, a Rimington Trophy candidate, has made 43 starts since his true freshman season. Guards Mike Berry (32 starts) and Byron Isom (29 starts) round out the experienced group.
Auburn's offensive line was ranked as the fifth-best OL unit in the country by Phil Steele and Lindy's in their preseason publications.
Auburn has won five games this season by single digits, including three games that were decided by just three points. The last time Auburn won three games by three of fewer points in the same season was 2007, and the last time Auburn was 3-0 in any season in games decided by three points or less was in 2001, when the Tigers beat Vanderbilt (24-21), Mississippi State (16-14) and Florida (23-20) on consecutive Saturdays. In five of Auburn's nine victories this season, the Tigers did not take the lead until the fourth quarter or overtime.
Auburn has trailed in seven of its 11 victories this season and overcame double-digit deficits to beat Clemson, South Carolina and Georgia. The Tigers trailed Clemson 17-0 in the second quarter Sept. 18 before winning 27-24 in overtime, trailed the Gamecocks 20-7 in the second period Sept. 25 before rallying for a 35-27 victory, and trailed Georgia 21-7 into the second quarter on Nov. 13 before coming back to win 49-31.
It marked the first time since 1970 that Auburn has had three wins in the same season while overcoming double digit deficits. Only twice previously had Auburn rallied from double digit deficits twice in one season. In 1997, Auburn overcame 11-point deficits to beat both Alabama in the Iron Bowl and Clemson in the Peach Bowl. In 1972, Auburn trailed Georgia Tech by 14 and Alabama by 16 in the Punt Bama Punt game before winning both contests.
The victory over Clemson also marked the first time that Auburn overcame a deficit of at least 17 points to win since Sept. 28, 2002, when the Tigers trailed Syracuse 17-0 at Jordan-Hare Stadium before coming back to win 37-34 in three overtimes. It was just Auburn's fourth 17-point deficit overcome in a victory since 1970.
Year Opponent Trailed (Qtr) Final
2010 Clemson 0-17 (2nd) 27-24 (OT)
2010 South Carolina 7-20 (2nd) 35-27
2010 Georgia 7-21 (2nd) 49-31
1997 Alabama 6-17 (3rd) 18-17
1997 Clemson 6-17 (3rd) 21-17
1972 Georgia Tech 0-14 (2nd) 24-14
1972 Alabama 0-16 (4th) 17-16
Nick Fairley has emerged as a force at defensive tackle for Auburn, leading the SEC in tackles for loss with 18.0, which is tied for seventh most in the nation, and ranking tied for third in the league in sacks with 7.5. He has had at least four games with at least 2.5 tackles for loss this season.
Fairley was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance at Mississippi State, where he totaled five tackles including 2.5 for losses and 1.5 sacks, an interception, a fumble recovery and three quarterback hurries. He has been named the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week three times since, making him the first Auburn defensive player ever to earn four weekly SEC awards in one season.
Fairley's 18.0 tackles for loss are the most by an Auburn player since Antonio Coleman had 18.5 in 2007 and tied for fourth most by a Tiger with his defensive line coach, Tracy Rocker, since tackles for loss began being charted in 1981. (Note: Prior to 2000, sacks and tackles for loss were kept as separate statistics. For purposes of this list, the two stats were combined as they have been since 2000):
Rank Player Year TFL
1. Terry Soloman 1995 20.0
Gary Walker 1994 20.0
3. Antonio Coleman 2007 18.5
4. Nick Fairley 2010 18.0
Tracy Rocker 1988 18.0
STOPPING THE RUN
Auburn's defense has shown drastic improvement against the run this season. After allowing 169.7 through the first 11 games last season, Auburn ranks second in the SEC and 11th nationally this season, allowing just 111.6 yards rushing per game this year. One key has been limiting big plays, as the Tigers have allowed only one running plays of more than 30 yards all season.
SECOND HALF DEFENSE
Auburn's defense has stepped up in the second half of games this season. The Tigers have surrendered just 111 points in the second half and overtime this year (10.1 ppg), including just 45 in the fourth quarter and overtime. Auburn opponents have converted on 47.5 percent (38-of-80) of third down plays in the first half, but just 26.6 percent (17-of-64) after intermission. Auburn forced turnovers on all four of South Carolina's fourth-quarter possessions Sept. 25 and three straight fourth-quarter drives by Arkansas Oct. 16.
BEHIND ENEMY LINES
Auburn's defense has been able to get into the opposition's backfield at will, as the Tigers are tied for 25th nationally in tackles for loss, averaging 6.7 per game. Individually, Nick Fairley leads the league with 18.0 tackles for loss including 7.5 sacks, while Antoine Carter has 10.0 tackles for loss and Zach Clayton has 7.0. Nineteen different players have recorded tackles for losses this season for Auburn, including 12 players with at least two.
BYNES LEADS LINEBACKERS
Senior Josh Bynes led Auburn in tackles last season with 104, and is leading again this season with 58 tackles, including 5.0 tackles for loss. He has also recorded three interceptions, giving him seven for his career, two pass break-ups and seven quarterback hurries. Bynes has started the last 32 consecutive games at linebacker for the Tigers.
BYRUM BREAKING RECORDS
Senior Wes Byrum became Auburn's all-time leading scorer Ot.
23 against LSU, and now has 343 career points, which ranks eighth in SEC history. Byrum, who set a school single-season record for points by a kicker last season with 99, broke the record against with 103 points already this season while passing John Vaughn (2003-06) for the top spot on Auburn's career points scored list.
Byrum had a field goal attempt blocked in the fourth quarter at Mississippi State, snapping a streak of nine consecutive made field goal attempts dating back to last season, and had another streak of eight straight snapped against LSU. He has made 30 of his last 35 field goal attempts after hitting just 11-of-19 in 2008. He scored 17 points on three field goals and eight PATs vs. Arkansas Oct. 16, which was the most points by an Auburn kicker since Jaret Holmes had 17 against UAB in 1996.
SPECIAL TEAMS IMPROVEMENTS
In addition to Wes Byrum, a number of other players are excelling on special teams. Senior Demond Washington ranks fourth in the SEC averaging 25.5 yards per kickoff return, and has set an Auburn single-season record for kickoff return yardage with 918, including a 95-yard TD at Ole Miss. He had 176 kickoff return yards at Ole Miss, which is third most in a game in school history and most in the SEC this season. Also, sophomore Onterio McCalebb returned a kickoff 99 yards against Arkansas, and freshman Demetruce McNeal has a team-high 13 tackles on special teams.
In addition, senior Mike Blanc blocked a PAT against Arkansas State and freshman Antonio Goodwin blocked a punt against Arkansas.
THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT
Of Auburn's 73 scoring drives in regulation this season, 30 have taken less than two minutes off the clock, while 13 have taken more than four minutes. Twenty-four used just four plays or fewer, while 20 others have used nine plays or more. Auburn has had four scoring drives of 90 yards or more this season.
Auburn held the ball for the final 7:22 of the game against Kentucky, driving 86 yards on 19 plays before Wes Byrum kicked a game-winning 24-yard field goal as time expired. The 19-play drive tied for the second longest in school history, just missing the school record of 20 plays set at West Virginia in 2008.
CHIZIK ERA IN SECOND YEAR
Head coach Gene Chizik is in his second year at the helm of the Auburn program, after recording the second-most wins by a first-year coach in Auburn history last season. He also became the first Auburn head coach to take his team to a bowl game in his initial season, leading the Tigers to a 38-35 overtime victory over Northwestern in the Outback Bowl. Chizik also became just the third coach in Auburn history to win his first five games as head coach, and became just the third SEC coach since the league expanded in 1992 to start 5-0.
STAFF REMAINS INTACT
Auburn achieved a rare feat by keeping its entire coaching staff from last season, making Auburn the only school in the SEC to return its head coach and every full-time assistant coach. The last time Auburn returned its entire coaching staff was when the 2006 staff returned intact in 2007.
Of Auburn's 24 seniors, 13 have seen time in at least 35 games during their careers, including 12 who have played in 40 or more games.
Mario Fannin leads the group with 51 games played, including three in
2006 before redshirting and 48 games over the past four seasons, while Michael Goggans and Lee Ziemba have played in all 49 games since 2007.
Mike Blanc and Wes Byrum are next with 48 games played each, followed by Zac Etheridge and Craig Stevens (47), Ryan Pugh (44), Kodi Burns and Antoine Carter (43), Mike Berry (42), Josh Bynes (41) and Zach Clayton (38).
HIGHLY TOUTED RECRUITING CLASS
While Auburn's seniors are a critical part of the team, another strong recruiting class is playing a big role in the Tigers' success. Auburn's 2010 recruiting class was ranked No. 4 in the nation by both ESPN.com/Scouts, Inc., and Rivals.com and sixth by Scout.com. Seven members of the recruiting class were part of the ESPNU 150.
YOUNG GUNS GET FIRST ACTION
Auburn has played 16 true freshmen this season, including 12 who played in the season opener, which was tied for second behind Florida (15) for the most true freshmen played by any team in the country. The true freshmen who have played included: DL Kenneth Carter, P Steven Clark, LB Jessel Curry, DB Chris Davis, RB Michael Dyer, WR Antonio Goodwin, LB Jake Holland, WR Shaun Kitchens, DE Corey Lemonier, DB Demetruce McNeal, K Cody Parkey, WR Trovon Reed, DE Craig Sanders, DB Ryan Smith, DL Jeffrey Whitaker and DB Ryan White.
Auburn began the season with 11 graduates on its roster, which is second most among all FBS schools.
The Tiger graduates include: OL Mike Berry (Public Administration), DT Mike Blanc (Public Administration), DT Zach Clayton (Finance), S Zac Etheridge (Public Administration), RB Mario Fannin (Public Administration), DE Michael Goggans (Public Administration), OL Byron Isom (Public Administration), S Aairon Savage (Education/Master's in Exercise Science), P Ryan Shoemaker (Exercise Science), LB Craig Stevens (Business Management) and WR Terrell Zachery (Public Administration).
Listed are the top 3 FBS programs in the nation in terms of number of players who have completed their bachelor's degrees prior to the start of the 2010 season.
1. Boston College 14
2. Auburn 11
3. Tennessee 9
THE SENIOR CLASS
Head coach Gene Chizik has a senior class that includes 24 players at Auburn in 2010, which is the largest in Auburn history and almost double the size of last year's senior class of 13. The previous largest senior class was 23 in 1988.
The 2010 seniors include: OL Mike Berry, DL Mike Blanc, OL Jorrell Bostrom, WR Kodi Burns, LB Josh Bynes, K Wes Byrum, DE Antoine Carter, QB Neil Caudle, LB Wade Christopher, DL Zach Clayton, OL Bart Eddins, S Zac Etheridge, RB Mario Fannin, DE Michael Goggans, OL Byron Isom, DB Woody Parramore, OL Ryan Pugh, DB Aairon Savage, P Ryan Shoemaker, LB Craig Stevens, DB Demond Washington, WR Jay Wisner, WR Terrell Zachery and OL Lee Ziemba.
30+ POINTS EQUALS VICTORY
Auburn has won 64 consecutive games when scoring 30 or more points. The last time the Tigers lost when registering at least 30 points was a 56-49, four overtime loss to Georgia in 1996. In its history, Auburn is now 283-4 all-time when scoring at least 30 points.
WHEN SCORING 20+ POINTS
Since the 2000 season, Auburn is 89-11 (.890) when scoring 20 or more points in a game. Dating back to the start of the 1993 season, Auburn is 132-18-1 (.877) when scoring 20 or more points in a game.
INFORMATION SOURCE: Auburn Athletics
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