The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

November 22, 2012

A look at Saturday's Iron Bowl matchup


Associated Press

— Auburn (3-8, 0-7 Southeastern Conference) at No. 2 Alabama (10-1, 6-1), 3:30 p.m. (CBS)

Line: Alabama by 31.5.

Series Record: Alabama leads 41-34-1

WHAT'S AT STAKE

Alabama can secure an SEC championship game matchup against No. 3 Georgia with a victory and remain in line to play for the Crimson Tide's third national title in four years. The Tigers could put a soothing salve on a horrible season, avoid going winless in the SEC and secure state bragging rights.

KEY MATCHUP

Auburn's freshman QB Jonathan Wallace against one of the nation's top defenses. This will be his fourth career start and first in a hostile environment. Wallace has mostly avoided big mistakes but hasn't reached 200 passing yards in a game. He will likely need to have success running and throwing for the Tigers to have a chance.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Auburn: RB Tre Mason. Mason has somehow managed to gain 920 yards in a sputtering offense and the Tigers need him to take some pressure off Wallace. He has averaged 7.5 yards per carry and 132 yards in nonconference games versus averages of 4.9 and 55.9 yards against SEC defenses. Tide opponents are gaining 2.3 yards per rush.

Alabama: RBs Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon. The punishing duo has combined for 1,679 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns. They run behind one of the nation's best defensive lines and could pound away against the SEC's worst rushing defense. The Tigers are allowing 191.3 yards on the ground and have given up 20 rushing touchdowns.

FACTS & FIGURES: Auburn has won seven of the eight games played in Tuscaloosa and is 5-1 at Bryant-Denny Stadium, including a 28-27 win two years ago after rallying from a 24-0 deficit that marked the biggest comeback win in Iron Bowl history. Alabama holds a 98-97 edge in scoring in the rivalry at its home stadium. ... The Tide has won three of the last four meetings since a six-year losing streak. Alabama has already secured its fifth-straight 10-win season. ... The Tigers are 23-34 in the Iron Bowl when Alabama is ranked. ... The team that has rushed for the most yards is 38-7 in the game since 1967.