Inside the Numbers: Auburn must keep game close late against Tide
No. 15 Auburn travels to Tuscaloosa on Saturday to square off against No. 1 Alabama in the Iron Bowl.
Let’s take a look inside the numbers of Auburn’s matchup this week.
0: The number of times Gus Malzahn has lost to Nick Saban. Auburn won in Tuscaloosa in 2010 with Malzahn as its offensive coordinator, and the Tigers’ head coach is 1-0 against Saban as CEO. Alabama marks the final leg in a grueling schedule Auburn has had to endure this season, but rest assured that with no classes this week, Malzahn will have his team prepared.
59: The number of points by which Auburn has outscored its opponents in the fourth quarter. It was the mantra last season, and has held true in 2014, when the Tigers are close late, they believe they will find a way to win. After opening as nine-point underdogs, if Auburn is in the game late, that could bode well for the Tigers.
20: Dating back to 2011, Auburn is 108-17 when scoring 20 or more points. The last two times the Tigers have downed Alabama, they needed 28 and 34 points, respectively. The offense struggled in its last two outings, but expect Nick Marshall and company to be ready to go on Saturday night. Auburn had its streak of games with at least 20 points scored snapped two weeks ago, but will need to eclipse that mark to stay in the football game against a threatening Alabama offense.
2: The Crimson Tide are allowing just over 85 rushing yards per game, good for second nationally. It’s strength against strength on Saturday night inside Bryant-Denny Stadium, as Auburn looks to get back on track and Marshall and Cameron Artis-Payne look to end their Auburn careers on a high note. Since 1967, the team that has out-rushed the other has gone 40-7.
36: The number of penalties the Tigers have committed in their last four games. Auburn has been haunted by flags during the past four weeks, a stretch in which the Tigers went 2-2. Auburn will not beat its cross-state rival with a lack of discipline. Malzahn’s team will have to play near-perfect football in order to leave Tuscaloosa with a win.
-35: Auburn is 35 games below .500 against ranked teams on the road. The task doesn’t get any easier this week as a sellout crowd of more than 100,000 awaits inside Bryant-Denny Stadium. Tigers players and coaches have acknowledged the hostile environment they’ll walk into on Saturday night. History is not on Auburn’s side, however.