Alabama Crimson Tide Football

Alabama vs. Auburn: What Each Team Must Do to Win 2013 Iron Bowl

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 24:  The Alabama Crimson Tide offense faces off against the Auburn Tigers defense at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 24, 2012 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Jesse ReedCorrespondent INovember 23, 2013

Perfection is on the line when Alabama and Auburn hit the field in Week 14, as the Tigers will attempt to dethrone the repeat national champs at home in the 2013 Iron Bowl. 

Alabama easily cruised past Chattanooga on Saturday, 49-0, at home to improve to 11-0 on the season. The Crimson Tide are the No. 1-ranked team in the nation (to nobody's surprise), and Florida State is a distant second place in the BCS standings

Auburn has been nearly as impressive this season, however, posting a record of 10-1. The Tigers' only loss of the season came back in the first half to LSU.

Since that time, Auburn has taken down Ole Miss, Texas A&M and Georgia, and a victory over Alabama would give the Tigers the overall lead in the SEC West. 

Needless to say, this upcoming contest is kind of a big deal. Adding to the hype, ESPN's College GameDay will be posting up in Auburn for the festivities, as noted by Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News:

Both teams need to show up sharp to this game. Though Alabama easily won last year's Iron Bowl, 49-0, and the one before that, 42-14, this Auburn team is much more of a threat to win the game. 

Here's what both teams must do in order to secure the win. 

 

Alabama Must Attack the Corners

TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 19:  AJ McCarron #10 and Kevin Norwood #83 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrate a touchdown by T.J. Yeldon #4 against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 19, 2013 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Auburn's defense is vulnerable to pass-happy aerial assaults that attack the perimeter. 

For the season, the Tigers rank No. 101 in the nation against the pass, allowing 254.8 yards per game, and teams have completed 11 touchdowns against Auburn this year. 

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron is having a fantastic year.

He's thrown for 21 touchdowns, throwing just five interceptions, and he has done a phenomenal job spreading the ball around to his receivers. In particular, Christion Jones, Amari Cooper, DeAndrew White and Kevin Norwood have been effective targets. 

If Alabama can take advantage of Auburn's porous secondary, then the Tigers could be subjected to another blowout. 

 

Auburn Must Control the Clock and Pound the Rock

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - NOVEMBER 2:  Tre Mason #21 of the Auburn Tigers rushes the ball against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Razorback Stadium on November 2, 2013 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Tigers defeated the Razorbacks 35-17.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Auburn comes into the game with the nation's No. 3-ranked rushing offense, averaging 320.3 yards per game—an astonishing number, considering the level of competition the Tigers have faced this year. 

However, if any team is equipped to shut down this potent offensive attack, it's Alabama. The Crimson Tide are tied with Stanford for the nation's No. 3 run defense, allowing just 91.1 yards per game. If 'Bama can cut Auburn's per-game total in half on Saturday, then the Crimson Tide will have done a fantastic job.

Head coach Gus Malzahn likes his team's chances if the Tigers can keep the score close, as noted by Auburn Gold Mine:

Alabama is known as a defensive powerhouse, but the Crimson Tide feature a potent offense capable of putting up huge points totals. 

As such, the biggest key to the game for Auburn is keeping McCarron and his offensive teammates on the sideline for as much of the contest as possible. 

AUBURN, AL - OCTOBER 26:  Quarterback Jeremy Johnson #6 of the Auburn Tigers hands the ball off to quarterback Nick Marshall #14 of the Auburn Tigers during their game against the Florida Atlantic Owls on October 26, 2013 at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn,
Michael Chang/Getty Images

Auburn's potent rushing attack has served it well so far this year, and the Tigers will need to effectively run the ball once more this upcoming Saturday to upset 'Bama. Tre Mason and Nick Marshall must take care of the football and pound out tough yardage, and a few monster runs wouldn't hurt either. 

 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78 

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