When the Auburn Tigers (3-8) travel to Bryant-Denny Stadium to square off with the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide (10-1), the 2012 edition of the annual Iron Bowl will be more of a beating than a two-sided battle.
Alabama has been arguably the best all-around team in college football this season, and Auburn has been disappointing to say the least.
While this is normally a battle for SEC supremacy, the Crimson Tide will roll over the Tigers.
These are the keys to each team sneaking out a big win.
When: Saturday, Nov. 24 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Live Stream: CBS Sports
Radio: Free Football Radio
Alabama’s Key To Victory: Eddie Lacy, RB
While there is no question that the Crimson Tide defense should be able to shut down the Auburn offense, Alabama must utilize its stellar run offense led by junior Eddie Lacy to control the clock and seal a big win.
Alabama is 27th in the nation in terms of rushing yards per game (209.4), and that has as much to do with Lacy and his six yards per carry average as anything else.
The Tide must continue to roll with the young star on Saturday.
With Auburn’s defense giving up an average of 26.5 points per game (59th in the country), this is Lacy’s chance to shine in the final game before the likely SEC Championship and BCS Championship games.
Auburn’s Key To Victory: Emory Blake, WR
While there haven’t been many bright spots for the Auburn Tigers so far in 2012, the evolution of senior wide receiver Emory Blake as one of the nation’s top stars has been something to behold.
Alabama’s vaunted defense will be tough to beat, but Blake’s 47 catches for 733 yards and three touchdowns make him Auburn's most reliable weapon. If the Tigers can turn him loose along the sidelines, they actually could steal this win.
The Crimson Tide boast the No. 1 defense in the nation (allowing just 10.1 points per game). If Blake and the Tigers can’t solve Alabama’s defensive riddle, this will be a huge loss.
Prediction: Alabama 30, Auburn 13
With sheer dominance in the defensive zone from Alabama and enough impact on the offensive side of the ball to take an early lead and not relinquish it, the Crimson Tide will walk all over Auburn and dominate the Iron Bowl.
As long as Alabama doesn’t completely underestimate the Tigers, the Crimson Tide will win convincingly.
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