Auburn Football 2011: Auburn Faces Clemson in Death Valley

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Auburn Football 2011: Auburn Faces Clemson in Death Valley
Butch Dill/Getty Images

The 2011 version of the Auburn Tigers are progressing in a similar fashion to the 2010 team. There appears to be improvement in each game played. There are also multiple areas where a huge amount of improvement is needed to stay competitive as the season moves along.

 

Opponent Update

Utah State had a very good outing in the second game on their schedule. They rolled up 794 combined rushing, passing, kick return and punt return yards in a dominant victory over their opponent.

Mississippi State leads the SEC in both rushing and total offense. This is a very good team that will make waves in the SEC Western Division this season.

 

Next Opponent

Auburn travels to Clemson for their first away game of the 2011 season this week. Clemson mirrors the Plains Tigers in many ways this season. They have almost as much youth and inexperience to overcome as Auburn.

General statistics have proved less than effective in comparing teams at this stage of the season and especially in non conference matchups. A closer look at actual efficiency in each area is much more revealing.  

 

Statistic

 

Clemson

Auburn 

Rushing Offense Per Play

5.15 yards per carry

4.74 yards per carry

Passing Offense Per Play

8.87 yards per attempt

9.19 yards per attempt

Kick Return Average

19.6 yards per attempt

31.14 yards per attempt

Punt Return Average

8.5 yards per attempt

7.33 yards per attempt

Turnovers Lost

1 per game

.5 per game

Sacks Allowed Per Game

3.5 per game

1.5 per game

Rushing Defense

4.70 yards per play

4.83 yards per play

Pass Defense

7.70 yards per play

6.45 yards per play

Kick Return Coverage

18.33 yards per attempt

18.5 yards per attempt

Punt Return Coverage

7.33 yards per attempt

16 yards per attempt

Average Sacks Per Game

.5 per game

1 per game

Average Tackles For Loss

3 per game

8.25 per game

Clemson has faced both Troy and Wofford this season and dispatched both. Their last game with Wofford was a one score thriller. Both games were at home in Death Valley.

Clemson is a formidable opponent that will give Auburn as hostile an environment to play in as any they will see this season.

How much the leadership has developed on this Auburn team will be the difference in this game. Auburn can match any level of play Clemson can offer. The way that this young Auburn team handles the adversity of a hostile environment will reveal something about their chances in future SEC games.

Prognostication

Auburn should win the game more handily than their last outing. The Plains Tigers faced an 84-play offensive assault from Mississippi State and came away with a win. The fact that the Auburn defense had the depth to not collapse under that pressure is proof of improvement.

The X-factor is how this young team will react to their first road game. This is a much bigger factor for a young and largely inexperienced team. If they continue to work hard and progress this week and leadership keeps the team calm and focused, then they should prevail.

Winner: Auburn, even odds.

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