As Auburn prepares for their season finale in the Iron Bowl against Alabama, the No. 24 team in the BCS standings have, to say the very least, an uphill battle ahead of them on the plains for the Tigers today.
With the Crimson Tide an almost 20 point favorite in today’s game, Gene Chizik and the Auburn coaching staff will need a near perfect game this afternoon if they want to win their second straight against Alabama.
Since most people would love to see Auburn upset Alabama and throw a wrench into the BCS, here are the five biggest ways the defending national champions can score a win over Alabama.
Let’s start with the classic tip that every coach, television pundit and armchair quarterback will spout out before a big game on a Saturday afternoon.
But there is one tiny problem about forcing turnovers from Alabama. The Crimson Tide hasn’t turned the ball over much this year.
The team has only lost three fumbles and eight interceptions this season, due largely to the breaking in of new starting quarterback, AJ McCarron.
So from the Auburn point of view, the defense should focus on forcing McCarron to throw the ball, and hope he has some more first year nervousness during the game.
I know, easier said here on this article than on the football field for the Auburn defense.
Richardson has played huge for Alabama, as most expected, getting 100 yards in all but two games this season while scoring 22 touchdowns this season.
Since the Tigers will not be able to completely shut down Richardson, Auburn will need to limit his carries and catches out of the backfield if they want to upset their in-state rival.
Cam Newton isn’t walking through that door today.
With their former Heisman Trophy winner playing on Sundays in Charlotte, the star player of the Auburn offense will be sophomore running back Michael Dyer.
After being limited last season, gaining only 27 yards of total offense against the Tide, Dyer must find a way to break through the tough Alabama defense and be the focal point of the offensive attack if Auburn wants to win today.
While AJ McCarron isn’t as dangerous as his backfield partner Trent Richardson, the young quarterback would be forced to step up in the game if the Tigers could find a way like I said previously to control the aforementioned Richardson.
After avoiding mistakes outside of the two interceptions in the season opener, McCarron has thrown an interception in three of the last four games, and if Auburn can force an pick or two today, it might be the opening the Tigers need.
While Jordan-Hare Stadium might not be as state-of-the-art as Bryant Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, the home field advantage on the plains must be a factor. The Tigers will need the burnt orange and navy blue clad masses to help possibly force the biggest upset of the Iron Bowl.