Auburn's leading rusher, Michael Dyer, is suspended for this game. Therefore, the Tigers will rely on speedy junior Onterio McCalleb and talented freshman Tre Mason to run the ball at Virginia.
McCalleb, sharing carries with Dyer all season, has averaged 5.2 yards per carry. With just 19 carries this year, Mason also averaged over five yards per touch.
At quarterback, look for Auburn to use sophomore Clint Mosely and freshman Kiehl Frazier tonight.
Both of them will be looking to get the ball in the hands of Emory Blake. The talented young wide out has been limited this season and missed several games with an injured ankle. However, he is back healthy for this game and could make a significant impact.
The Virginia defense has been solid against the run all season, holding teams to just 165 rushing yards per game in 2011. I expect the Cavaliers to limit the Tiger ground attack this evening.
The Cavaliers' passing defense, on the other hand, has struggled at times in 2011. They have allowed a porous 214 passing yards to opponents this season.
Look for the rebuilt Auburn ground attack to be held in check by Virginia for most of this matchup. However, the Tigers should be able to pass the ball, including screens to the speedy backs, consistently.
Auburn, especially the quarterbacks, has struggled much of the season. That being said, the Tigers had to play against dominant SEC defenses like South Carolina, Georgia, LSU and Alabama, and they should be able to put up points against the Cavaliers' defense.