Auburn Football 2011: Opportunity Awaits the Tigers in Columbia South Carolina
The Auburn game this week was nothing but a practice scrimmage and was treated exactly as such. Several starters did not play and were given the day off to heal from injuries. Other starters were played sparingly to prevent rust from settling in.
Gus Malzahn specifically called a game of plays that have not worked well this season. Presumably this was to allow the team to get better at them for later in the season. Young defensive backs got some opportunity to hone coverage skills on defense.
While Florida Atlantic did put together a drive, it was not accomplished against players high in Auburn’s playing rotation. It was a great opportunity to simply gain experience and allow work on areas that needed improvement.
Some Fun Facts
After three games, Utah State is averaging 483.33 yards per game and 42 points.
After four games, Mississippi State is averaging 327.25 yards per game and 31 points. (They have lost the majority of their offensive line this season to injury.)
After four games Clemson is averaging 505 yards per game and 37 points.
After four games, South Carolina is averaging 392 yards per game and 36 points.
Both Clemson and Mississippi State have played more difficult schedules than South Carolina so far, as has Auburn.
South Carolina is a team that does not rank particularly high in any major statistic other than pass defense. The pass defense statistic is deceiving as they have played Navy for one of their four games so far. Navy simply does not pass the ball often, and this skews statistics some.
Both East Carolina and Georgia were quite successful passing the ball against this team.
Navy did rush for 274 yards against South Carolina, and this likely skewed their rushing defense statistics as well. Of course, Georgia did rush for 188 yards against them earlier this season.
South Carolina played Vanderbilt last week, and their star offensive player, Marcus Lattimore, averaged 3.9 yards per carry for a total of 77 net rushing yards. South Carolina had 367 total offensive yards and 14 points scored by the offense in that game.
South Carolina does not top the conference in any major statistical category even though they have not played a very difficult schedule. They do come in ranked second in sacks averaging two per game.
South Carolina is allowing an average of 26 points per game on defense. This compared to Auburn’s 31 points allowed.
South Carolina started the season favored to repeat in the East. The team’s lackluster performance thus far when combined with a surprisingly strong showing by Florida has largely swayed that opinion in most venues at this point.
South Carolina remains ranked in the top dozen in most polls around the nation.
As is customary this time of the season, there will be more analysis and data to come out that will have an effect on the prognostication of this game. For this reason, all predictions will be delayed until later this week in hopes of being as accurate as possible.
With LSU having taken over the top ranking in the nation, it appears the SEC is poised to have another very successful season. The next four weeks of competition will make or break many teams in the conference.
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