When No. 1 Florida State takes on No. 2 Auburn on Jan. 6 in Pasadena, it will be a battle of two prolific offenses, each anchored by a Heisman Trophy finalist. The defenses of the two schools are noteworthy as well, but in this piece, it'll be a comparison of the offensive attacks between the two schools; how they match up, how they're different and who holds the edge in each.
Who is the biggest threat to score points?
Florida State enters this game as the No. 2 scoring team in the country, averaging 53 points per game, right behind Baylor, which scores 53.3 a game. They've scored 90 touchdowns, the most in the country, and have failed to score more than 40 points only one time this season, when they were held to 37 by rival Florida Gators.
"When you turn on the film on both sides of the ball, the thing that jumped out to me is speed, super fast," Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said to al.com. "They've done a great job recruiting. They've got a whole lot of good players. It's not a coincidence they're the No. 1 team in the country and undefeated. Nobody has even come close to them."
Auburn comes in as the 12th-ranked scoring offense, averaging 40.2 points per matchup. They've gone over 40 three times this season, scoring 62 against Western Carolina, 55 against Tennessee and 59 against Missouri in the SEC Championship.
FSU arguably had the weaker schedule, but nobody has scored more points or scored them more easily than the Noles. They’re only 28 points from the NCAA single-season mark.
Edge: Florida State
Who has the deadlier rushing attack?
Florida State has benefited from three talented running backs this season, getting huge contributions from juniors Devonta Freeman, James Wilder Jr. and Karlos Williams who have combined for 32 touchdowns this season. Freeman is 57 yards away from becoming the 'Noles' first 1000-yard rusher since Warrick Dunn in 1996.
Auburn, on the other hand, has the nation's top-ranked rushing attack spearheaded by Heisman Trophy finalist Tre Mason, who with 2,137 yards has already broken Bo Jackson's all-purpose yard record of 1,859. The Tigers average 335.7 yards per game on the ground, and have accumulated 46 touchdowns.
"Gus does a tremendous job," FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher said in a teleconference, "because like I say they can handle on the speed sweep, they outflank you, they have great receivers and motion guys that way, they can run the ball inside with great power and the quarterback can run it and play action off of it, which is like a four‑headed monster ‑‑ you talk about a three‑headed monster, they have a four‑headed monster and they have an excellent offensive line."
Who has the better pass game?
Led by Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, Florida State has the 14th-most passing yards per game in the country with 322 along with the 4th-most by completion, averaging 15.62. They've scored 40 through the air, with 38 of those coming from Winston. In terms of passing efficiency, they're the top-ranked team in the country, with a score of 178.29.
Auburn's passing attack is led by Nick Marshall, who is noteworthy for converting to quarterback from corner. Auburn averages 169.9 yards per game and are ranked 107th in passing yards and 18th in terms of yards per completion.
Edge: Florida State
According to vegasinsider, the over/under for FSU-Auburn currently sits at 65.5, so Vegas anticipates a high scoring matchup, and with two offenses that are deadly in their own way, it's not hard to see why.
In the end, it's easy to see that the stats tip in favor of Florida State, who has both threats in the rushing and passing aspects of the game, rather than Auburn who mainly relies on the run game.