Iron Bowl 2012: Elite Players to Watch During Heated Rivalry Game

Tim KeeneyContributor INovember 23, 2012

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 17:  T.J. Yeldon #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tide looks to rush around Sertonuse Harris #39 of the Western Carolina Catamounts at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 17, 2012 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Let's face it. You probably aren't watching this year's Iron Bowl for its competitive nature.

Alabama is, after all, favored by, wait for it, 32.5 points against Auburn.


There have been some lopsided matchups during this heated rivalry in the past, but 32.5-point spreads are usually reserved for the first two weeks of the season when top-10 teams are playing cupcakes. Not for an intra-state rivalry game between two usually-premier SEC schools that has been played 76 times in the past.

Nonetheless, while the intrigue behind this matchup may be lacking, there are still individual performances to look forward to on both sides.


T.J. Yeldon, RB, Alabama

You'd be hard-pressed to find a better true freshman in the country than T.J. Yeldon.

Blessed with elite quickness, speed, power, vision and pretty much everything else you want in a running back, Yeldon has racked up 809 yards and nine rushing touchdowns on just 121 attempts. He's also added 10 catches for 131 yards and another score.

Despite splitting carries with Eddie Lacy, the youngster is ninth in the SEC in rushing yards and seventh in touchdowns. He's first in yards per attempt, which is pretty decent.

Auburn, meanwhile, is dead last in the conference in yards per attempt allowed (4.8) and total rushing yards allowed per game (191.3).

In what figures to be a blowout, Yeldon, running behind an NFL-caliber offensive line, should get a few more carries than the 11 he's been averaging this season. It's going to translate into a ginormous day. Yes, ginormous. Get him into your fantasy college football lineups, stat. 


Tre Mason, RB, Auburn

Believe it or not, Tiger fans, there have been some bright spots this season

One of those goes by the name of Tre Mason.

The talented sophomore has surpassed Onterio McCalebb as the lead back and sprinted away with the job. He's tallied 920 yards on 150 carries to go with eight touchdowns, including an impressive 86-yard scamper last week. 

Yardage will be tough to come by against Alabama's stout defense, but quarterback Jonathan Wallace has recently established himself as an interesting threat. He has the legs to at least keep the Crimson Tide honest and open up a few running lanes for Mason.

That's all the 5'10", 198-pound speedster needs:



C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama

Of course, Mason is going to need someone to block Mosley first, because the junior linebacker is an absolute beast.

Just consider this absurd stat, whether it's actually a record or not (via Travis Reier of

Mosley now nine-time POW on D. Pretty sure that's a single-season record under Saban.

— Travis Reier (@travisreier) November 19, 2012

Mosley leads the Crimson Tide in tackles (89), is third in tackles for loss (6.0), first in sacks (4.0) and tied for second in interceptions (two). He's even returned one of those for a touchdown, deflected four passes, forced a fumble and recovered one too.

Essentially, I'm pretty sure he has a Bugs Bunny-like ability to be in multiple places at once. 

Mosley, a Butkus Award finalist, is the heart and soul of this defense. He'll continue to prove that on Saturday.