Here are five things to know about the 2017 Auburn Tigers:
1. Balance: Georgia had won 12 of the previous 15 meetings with the Tigers, but Auburn emphatically responded Nov. 11. The Tigers blew out the Bulldogs 40-17 at Jordan-Hare Stadium, nothing new for this group. Auburn set a school record for most SEC wins in a season and scored 40 or more points in six of the seven victories. The Tigers are one of five teams ranking in the top 20 in scoring offense and scoring defense, and one of four averaging over 230 passing yards and rushing yards.
Auburn ranks 11th nationally in total defense and ninth in scoring. This has been its best showing on defense since 2007, including allowing just 4.42 yards per play (sixth best nationally). It forces an average of 5.08 three-and-outs per game, ninth-best in nation. The Tigers have also prevented the big play, surrendering just three plays of over 50 yards.
Auburn’s allowed just two touchdowns in the first quarter.
2. Best since Cam: Kerryon Johnson has 17 touchdowns, up three for the conference lead and more than 45 FBS teams. It’s the second season in Auburn history when it has had a 15-touchdown rusher and 15-touchdown passer (Jarrett Stidham). The only other season was 2010, when Cam Newton achieved both on his own. Their 327 points this season, however, make for the best offensive showing in program history, surpassing the 306 scored in 2010. They’re one of eight FBS teams with a 2,600-yard passer and 1,200-yard rusher.
3. Scoring duo: Kicker Daniel Carlson is a three-time Lou Groza award finalist. He’s the SEC’s all-time leader in scoring (470), field goals made (90) and consecutive extra points (194). Johnson averages 11.4 points per game, making him and Carlson the only teammates ranked in the top 10 scorers in college football.
4. Offense wins championships: In his only season of SEC play, Stidham led the league in completion percentage (.685) and ranked third in passing efficiency (160). The Tigers’ offense is a clear conductor to winning: Auburn has scored first in 10 of 12 games, and is 34-9 under coach Gus Malzahn when striking first. The Tigers are 10-1 when exceeding 300 yards, doing so in every game except an early-season loss to Clemson. Auburn is 10-0 when surpassing 400 yards, and 8-0 when passing 30 points. Their 27 players of 40 or more yards are fourth most in the country.
5. First time for everything: Auburn’s 122nd meeting with Georgia will be the first time they’ve met each other twice in a season. The Tigers have faced a team twice in a season four other times, sweeping three. Auburn will become the first SEC West team to face each of the five East winners in the conference championship.
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