RazOrbaX Report: Smithson's hot points for SEC title game: Auburn vs. S. Carolina

RazOrbaX Report: Smithson's hot points for SEC title game: Auburn vs. S. Carolina

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SEC Championship Game Hot Points
Arkansas fans find themselves in a particularly hard position this weekend. To possibly get to the Sugar Bowl, Razorback fans must root for the Auburn Tigers to win the SEC Championship and go to the BCS National Championship Game.  It is not an easy thing to do knowing the HOGS blew out SEC East champion South Carolina, and led the SEC West champion Tigers in a rough fourth quarter.  That game is the only thing keeping Arkansas from a rematch with the Gamecocks in Atlanta.  So, while it is not what any of us hoped for when this season started, no one in Razorback Nation wants to go to the Capital One Bowl instead of the Sugar Bowl.  That means Saturday in Arkansas will be full of “WAR Eagle” instead of WOOOOOO Pig Soooiieee!!

Stephen Garcia has passed for
2,646 yards and 18 touchdowns.
(Photo by M. Zarrilli/Getty Images)

Auburn Defense
Stephen Garcia completed 15 passes in 21 attempts for 235 yards and three touchdown in the first meeting.  Auburn’s pass defense has been torched by every good receiver in the SEC who it has faced, and Alshon Jeffery hopes to duplicate his eight-catch, 2 TD, 102 yard game against Auburn on the Plains.  The way to stop that is to hit Garcia often and hard.  Garcia can be rattled and has been erratic throughout his carrier.  Nick Fairley has a reputation as a dirty player, but the big defensive tackle can bring it, and he must do it Saturday.

The Auburn defense held Marcus Lattimore to 33 yards on 13 carries.  In fact, if not for sacks, USC’s leading rusher in the last game was Garcia with 44 yards.  Twenty-three yards in losses reduced his net to 21.  Auburn cannot let Lattimore get his motor running, especially in the fourth quarter.

Of the 12 teams Auburn has played this season, only one scored more in the second half than in the first half: the Arkansas Razorbacks.  And that was one point more.  The Auburn defense gets better and better as the game wears on.  Of all of the things Auburn needs to do to win this game, this one may be the most important..

Auburn Offense
Even with Gus Malzahn’s wide-open offense, the Tigers have only lost eight fumbles and thrown six interceptions.  That is 1.16 turnovers a game.  No turnovers will be a winning stat for the Tigers.

Much like the defense, the Auburn offense gets better in the second half.  The Tigers have scored more points in the second half than in the first half six times.  Four of those games were blowout wins over Arkansas State, Louisiana-Monroe, Chattanooga and Ole Miss.  Mississippi State (0) and Kentucky (6) are the only teams to hold the Tigers to less than one touchdown in the second half this season.

Cam Newton ranks 11th in the
nation in total offense.
(Rogelio V. Solis)

Cam Newton has been the most dynamic player in college football this season.  Is there anyone in the country who has willed his team to win like Newton?  I firmly believe that without Cam Newton, Auburn would have lost four or five games.  He should win the Heisman Trophy because he is the best player in college football this year.  Cam just needs to be that calm competitor he has been all year.  Run when you need to and complete the big pass when you need to.  Newton ranks 11th in the nation in rushing, second in the country in passing efficiency and 11th in the nation in total offense. 

South Carolina is a good football team but has only played two complete games this year – Alabama and Florida.   The Gamecocks played a half against Auburn on the Plains but it will take their best game of the year.  I find it interesting when everyone is talking about this game: one team is about a player and the team is about the coach.  Steve Spurrier seems to be the only one everyone is talking about for South Carolina.  I have heard many a coach say it is not about Xs and Os but the “Johnnys and Joes.” Yes, the Ol’ Ball Coach has been to Atlanta before, but in most of those cases, HE had the Joes!  Yes, the Gamecocks are good and they may have as many Johnnys as the Auburn Tigers but they do not have a CAM and that will be the difference.  Auburn will head to the BCS Championship game, and that should open the Sugar Bowl door to … the No. 7 Arkansas Razorbacks!


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