Connect with us

Alabama Football News

Previewing Auburn in its match-up with Alabama

John Reed - USA TODAY Sports

Jordan-Hare Stadium should be packed out this week as Auburn will host the 80th edition of the Iron Bowl.

Multiple news sites picked the Tigers to win a Southeastern Conference title during the summer, yet preseason hype and early struggles plagued it to a 6-5 season.

One game remains on Auburn’s schedule and it’s the game that can salvage its season.

A win for the Tigers would spoil Alabama’s chances at an SEC title and a College Football Playoff spot. A win also guarantees a bowl for Auburn. CBS Sports is set to have the call at 2:30 p.m. CT.

Yours truly of Touchdown Alabama Magazine now looks at Auburn’s impact players.

Auburn Tigers: 6-5, (2-5 in SEC)

Guz Malzahn is in his third season as Auburn’s head coach. This year’s group struggled with consistency early on, but is starting to figure things out as of late. The Tigers are coming off a 56-34 win over Idaho last week at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Solid performances against Texas A&M and Idaho have allowed Auburn to stick with Jeremy Johnson at quarterback. Johnson, a junior, has completed 63.2 percent of his throws for 873 yards with eight touchdowns to seven interceptions. 

The Tigers have four talented running backs, but sophomore Peyton Barber has been the most impressive one. Barber leads the team with 947 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns on 218 carries. 

Jovon Robinson, a junior, has been productive down the stretch. He has totaled 462 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 76 carries through six games. Sophomore Roc Thomas and freshman Kerryon Johnson will also see playing time. Both have combined for three touchdowns. 

Auburn returned Ricardo Louis as its primary wide receiver. He leads the bunch in receptions (44) and receiving yards (675) with three touchdowns. Senior Melvin Ray falls second with 223 receiving yards and two touchdowns on 16 catches. Dropped passes have been an issue for the Tigers this season.

Scoring defense and stopping the run game are two aspects that have hurt Auburn. It allows 26.5 points and 186.7 rushing yards per game. Opponents have totaled 20 rushing touchdowns this year.  

Safety Jonathan Ford sets the tone on defense for Auburn. He anchors the group with 104 tackles, two tackles for loss and two interceptions. He averages 9.5 tackles per game.

Senior linebacker Kris Frost is second on the team in tackles (85) and has two stops for loss. He chimes in with two interceptions and averages 7.7 tackles per game.

Linebacker Cassanova McKinzy is Auburn’s sack specialist. The senior has five sacks for a loss of 46 yards. McKinzy leads the team in tackles for loss with 10 and has 66 total tackles.

Iron Bowl rivalry notes

Alabama leads the series 43-35 with one tie. Numerous memories stem from this rivalry, including “The Drive” (2009), the “Cam-back” (2010), “The Kick” (1985) and “Kick Six” (2013). Since 2009, the victor of the Iron Bowl has gone onto win an SEC title and a national championship. A win for Alabama would deliver its fourth SEC West crown since Saban’s arrival in 2007. Anything can happen on rivalry week. Saturday will be interesting.

Game Prediction: Alabama 38, Auburn 14

Stephen M. Smith is a senior analyst and columnist for Touchdown Alabama MagazineYou can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @ESPN_Future.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

More in Alabama Football News