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Friday, December 6, 2013

The Tiger Bowl: From Worst to First

Auburn and Missouri have both turned heads in the SEC. Who would have guessed by this time last year that both teams would be number 3 and 5 respectively in the final BCS Standings? Auburn comes into the game off of two emotional final second victories and Mizzou have downed quality opponents in the past couple of weeks to keep their spot in the SEC Championship game. 

What To Watch For

James Franklin opened as starter for the 2013 season. Against Murray State on Aug. 31, 2013, Franklin finished with 318 yards passing and three touchdowns. He complete 26 of 38 passes. He also rushed six times for 44 yards. He was sacked once. Photo by Karen Mitchell.
James Franklin during the Murray State on Aug. 31, 2013, in which he passed for 318 yards and rushed six times for 44 yards. Photo by Karen Mitchell


Missouri is a very balanced team. They have great receivers and two QBs in James Franklin and Maty Mauk that can step in an make play upon play. They can also run the ball. Missouri has 4 players over 500+ yards, like Auburn. Henry Josey leads the way with 988 yards and 13 TD. Another big factor in the in the SEC Championship game is the receivers for Mizzou. L'Damian Washington and Dorial Green-Beckham. they are both taller than 6'4 and are very physical. Marcus Lewis is there go to receiver between the 20's, but Washington and Green-Beckham always find the ball in the endzone and space. Missouri is 42nd in the country throwing the ball and 18th in the rush game.


Auburn is going to have to stay focused and disciplined. The pass rush for Missouri has harassed opposing QBs all season long. Michael Sam has 10.5 sacks and seems like he is always in the backfield every play. The DB play for Missouri has also been high. E.J. Gaines has 4 INTs on the year and always has a hand in plays that come his way. Kentrell Brothers and Braylon Webb are both very well at defending their assignments. All there are among the leading tacklers for this Mizzou team. This defense allows only 119.1 yards a game, which is 14th best in the country.

What I'm Expecting

This is going to be a very physical game in the trenches. Expect Auburn to run the ball over and over and over. Alabama's rush defense had only allowed fewer than 108( which is their current opp. rush yards a game) before they came into Jordan-Hare where Auburn racked up 296. For Missouri, Sam needs to be in the backfield and hitting Nick Marshall. Not many teams have successfully brought him down inside the pocket. So when Auburn does throw the ball, Sam and the rest of the line have to pressure. The DBs need to stay disciplined to their assignments because Auburn WILL run the read option. With Missouri's top tacklers being DBs, they are going to make plays in the open field to keep Auburn from having chunk plays. They will bring pressure from blitzes and different looks, but if Auburn stays focused, I see many yards in the rushing game.

Nick Marshall was named SEC Offensive Player of the Week for the third time this season. (Lauren Barnard/Auburn University)
Nick Marshall was named SEC Offensive Player of the Week for the third time this season. (Lauren Barnard/Auburn University)

A Few Predictions

Auburn will rush for over 250.
Nick Marshall is elusive and fast. Once he gets a lane not many people can catch him. Tre Mason and Corey Grant will have their yards. Tre touches the ball often and well.

Marshall will throw the ball.
Auburn's rushing success will allow Marshall to throw TD passes in this one. The key is to not force passes or take sacks in the process. Marshall-2 TD passes.

I can easily see both teams trying to do too much and having a turnover a piece. I understand that Missouri is 15+ in the turnover margin, but Auburn will play smart and both teams will have only one turnover a piece.

The score.
There will be points. Auburn and Missouri both rank among the top teams in scoring offense. With two QBs that can run, expect big rushing plays on either side and expect Missouri to throw the ball. Auburn's bend don't break philosophy is going to have to hold. Auburn's pass rush is very lethal. With the rotations and depth for Auburn, that can possibly pay dividends. This game is going to be close early. Auburn's offense and rushing will be the deciding factor. Missouri 28- Auburn 42 War Eagle!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter @austin_preiss19 for Auburn, SEC, and many other topics. 
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