Tag Archives: Kamryn Pettway

Allstate Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma’s Offense vs. Auburn’s Defense

The Auburn Tigers and Oklahoma Sooners will do battle in the 83rd annual Allstate Sugar Bowl on Monday, January 2nd, 2017, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA. Kickoff is set for 7:30 local time (CT).

The seventh ranked Sooners (10-2, 9-0 Big 12) are Big 12 Champions and winners of nine games in-a-row.

The Tigers (8-4, 5-3 SEC) finished the 2016 campaign ranked 17th in the College Football Playoff Poll. That was good enough for second place in the SEC and a spot in a New Year’s Six  bowl game.

This will be only the second time these two college football powers have met on the gridiron. The first encounter came in the Sugar Bowl, oddly enough, following the 1971 season. In that game, Oklahoma jumped out to a 34-0 lead and never looked back, winning 40-22.

Auburn will be making its sixth (2-2-1) appearance in the Sugar Bowl while the Sooners have played in seven (5-2) of these events.

Oklahoma has a high octane offense which scores at a 44.7 (third in the nation) points per game clip. Its total yardage is 557 yards per game (third in the nation), with 319.8 (12th in the nation) of that coming through the air and 237.5 (21st in the nation) on the ground.

Auburn’s strength is its rushing attack, averaging 278.5 yards per game (sixth in the nation and first in the SEC). The Tigers pass for 170.8 yards per game (112th in the nation) and score an average of 32.3 points per game (47th in the nation).

From these statistics, it is clear that Oklahoma is capable of scoring a lot of points and piling up a great deal of yardage. Auburn has a good offense and can run the ball extremely well.

This is where it gets interesting. Auburn is very stingy in points allowed. It only gives up an average of 15.6 points per game. That is fifth in the nation. And total yardage? The Tigers allow 348 yards per game and that is 20th in the nation.

Oklahoma? It gives up 29.7 points per game and allows 440 yards per game.

Auburn gave up as much as 30 points in only one game this season. That came in a 30-12 loss to SEC Champion and College Football Playoff bound Alabama.

Oklahoma, on the other hand, allowed 59 points to Texas Tech, 46 to TCU, 45 to Ohio State, and 40 to Texas.

It all boils down to Oklahoma’s superb offense vs. Auburn’s stellar defense. And I think the game’s key matchup, within this context, is the Tigers’ defensive line versus the Sooners’ offensive line.

Baker Mayfield is an excellent quarterback and Dede Westbrook is as good as it gets at wide receiver. When you combine those two with the running back tandem of Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine you begin to get an idea of just why the Sooners vaunted offense is, indeed, so lethal.

Mayfield completed 235 out of 330 pass attempts for 3,669 yards (71.2%) and 38 touchdowns with only eight interceptions.

Westbrook caught 74 passes for 1,465 yards. 16 of those receptions went for touchdowns. He averaged 19.8 yards per catch.

Mixon ran for 1,183 yards on 168 tries for 7.0 yards per carry. Perine ran the ball 179 times for 974 yards and 5.4 yards per carry.

But back to the battle of the trenches. I like Auburn’s d-line to handle Oklahoma’s o-line. And I like Auburn’s o-line to fare well against Oklahoma’s d-line.

Auburn should be able to establish the run with Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson each at full speed. Stanton Truitt and Kam Martin should contribute, as well.

Also, Gus Malzahn says Sean White is well and will not be limited in anyway. That is big news for the Tiger faithful.

One more key is motivation. The news from the Plains is that Auburn is fresh, explosive, highly motivated, and are chomping at the bit to pick up a big win versus a high profile opponent, The Big 12 Champion.

I certainly don’t think Oklahoma will come out flat or listless, but I do think it is disappointed in not making the playoff, and I believe that Auburn wants this one more.

The Sooners are a three-point favorite.

I can see a three-point win, but with the victory going to the Tigers of the SEC.

Auburn 31, Oklahoma 28

Here is some more excellent info, with predictions, on this big game:

http://www.espn.com/blog/ncfnation/post/_/id/134103/sugar-bowl-auburn-tigers-vs-oklahoma-sooners

http://collegefootballnews.com/2016/allstate-sugar-bowl-prediction-game-preview-history-scores

 

E-mail Bird at bird [dot] lecroy [at] campuspressbox [dot] com or follow him on Twitter @Autull.

Picking Up the Pieces of the 2016 SEC Football Season

The championship games are now in the book as well as a few straggling regular season games. Army-Navy remains. That being said, let’s do some housekeeping and tidy up a few odds and ends concerning the SEC.

First, we’ll saunter back to SEC Media Days and review how the scribes’ picks turned out.

As you see in this article, Alabama was picked to win the SEC West and Tennessee was the choice to represent the SEC East in Atlanta. Alabama, obviously, held up their end of the deal but the Vols did not. The Florida Gators managed to take the division by default. The Crimson Tide steamrolled the West in dominant fashion. They won their division by three games over who? The Auburn Tigers.

Auburn was picked not second, or third, of fourth, or fifth. They were picked sixth in the West behind LSU, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, and Arkansas.

Bravo for the Tigers! And they were rewarded with a trip to the Big Easy and the Sugar Bowl. They will take on Big 12 champion, Oklahoma. It could be one of the better games of the entire bowl season. More on that, and other bowls, in later columns.

What about the cellar dwellers? South Carolina was the choice to bring up the rear in the East, but the Gamecocks, modestly exceeded expectations and came in fourth. Missouri had the distinction of finishing last in the “Easy.”One of the Mississippi teams was tagged by the media to sink to the bottom in the grueling West. But it was the Bulldogs of Mississippi State that was chosen for that “honor.” Ole Miss, much to the surprise of most every football fan in the country, plummeted to the number seven spot while predicted to come in third.

Here is a complete look at how the standings shook down in 2016.

Here is how the media sized up the All-SEC selections.

And here are the coaches’ choices (the only one we have when this article was composed) for All-SEC.

Glaring discrepancies on the first team offense? Chad Kelly at quarterback, Leonard Fournette at running back, Nick Chubb at running back, Calvin Ridley at wide receiver, and O.J. Howard at tight end.

Jalen Hurts, Kamryn Pettway, Derrius Guice, ArDarius Stewart, and Evan Engram took those slots.

Defense? As you peruse the lists you will note that things went pretty much as expected. Good job media!

The coaches individual award winners on offense, defense, and coach went to Jalen Hurts, Jonathan Allen, and Nick Saban. As Gomer Pyle used to say, “Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!”But, in all fairness, who’d a thunk Jalen Hurts would walk off with the offensive player of the year? No one could have seen that coming.

In this interim, between the regular season and bowl season, and beyond, there are some questions we look forward to seeing answered.

What will the NCAA decide in the way of punishment for Ole Miss?

Will Nick Saban retire? (Wishful thinking)

What underclassmen might surprise us by succumbing to the lure of dollars and the NFL?

How hot is Butch Jones’ fanny?

Kevin Sumlin’s?

Will Lane Kiffin take a head coaching position? (More wishful thinking)

How about Rhett Lashlee?

Will Jim McElwain ever find a quarterback?

Will Gus Malzahn?

Will Kirby Smart be a bust?

Will Barry Odom?

Who might be the next Jalen Hurts or Kamryn Pettway?

Is anyone capable of bridging the gap between Alabama and everybody else?

And… is the SEC still the top of the heap in the world of college football.

The bowl games are upon us and, with their conclusion, the season of 2016 will be but a memory.

What does 2017 hold for us as college football fans?

In the words of a wise man… we shall see.

 

E-mail Bird at bird [dot] lecroy [at] campuspressbox [dot] com or follow him on Twitter @Autull.

 

Rivalry Week: The Iron Bowl

Here we are again, fast approaching the last Saturday in November, and that means one thing to college football fans… Rivalry Week.

Well, there’s that matter of Thanksgiving, and football, on Thursday (the Egg Bowl in the SEC), but this weekend is all about our favorite teams renewing matchups with our arch-rivals.

In the Southeastern Conference we have the intrastate contests pitting Ole Miss-Miss State (in the aforementioned Egg Bowl), Florida-Florida State, Georgia-Georgia Tech, South Carolina-Clemson, Tennessee-Vanderbilt, and the Big Kahuna… Auburn and Alabama.

The Iron Bowl, or as I prefer to call it, the Auburn-Alabama game.

Alabama has been installed as an 18 or so point favorite, depending on which source you look to. Personally, I think that is too many points to give. The game is in Tuscaloosa but that doesn’t necessarily matter. Auburn is 7-3 in T-Town.

Here is an excellent little primer on the game, courtesy of WSFA-TV in Montgomery, AL.

One thing that jumped out at me from that piece of information: six Auburn-Alabama games have been decided by one point and Auburn won five of those battles. I attended games two through six.

I have attended 39 Iron Bowls, but I’m not going into that until next year when I plan to show up for my 40th in the series at Jordan-hare Stadium in Auburn.

Back to the one point games. This year’s game could be one of those and I think that favors Auburn.

If it’s a low-scoring game, say in the teens or low 20’s, Auburn will be right in the thick of it until the final gun. The longer the Tigers can hang around, the more they will continue to believe they have a shot at it. A one score deficit, either way, in the fourth quarter will point to another humdinger of a game, or as Keith Jackson would say, a dandy.

For Auburn to find itself in that position will require great play in the trenches from the Tigers, and they are more than capable of that.

Also, Sean White and Kamryn Pettway will have to be in good health and play lights out football.

Will Carroll, of SEC Country, examines the injury situation.

Another potential motivating factor for Auburn is the Sugar Bowl is at stake. If the Tigers can pull off the upset it would probably put them in New Orleans for a New Year’s Six Bowl game. Read more here.

There are many other factors to consider in order for Auburn to have a realistic chance Saturday. There are key Alabama players that need to be stopped, slowed, or neutralized.

Saturdays Down South delves into this topic.

Here is something that intrigues me, about this classic rivalry, since Nick Saban became the head coach at Alabama.

Auburn won in 2007, which was Saban’s Iron Bowl debut, 17-10 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Three years later, in 2010, Auburn pulled off the remarkable “Camback”, winning 28-27 at Bryant-Denny Stadium. And three years later, in 2013, who will ever forget the “Kick Six”, which will go down in the annals of college football as one of the greatest games ever played.

And now, yet again, it’s another three years later. 2007, 2010, 2013… Will 2016 be another epic upset in the series?

It could happen. It’s not probable, but it certainly is within the realm of possibility.

So, what will transpire over in west Alabama on Saturday afternoon?

I will gladly provide you with an Auburn optimist’s view on the game.

Both teams come out slugging, like a heavyweight fight, with fur and hide flying everywhere. Auburn scores, on its first possession, on a 54-yard Daniel Carlson field goal, 3-0.

Alabama finally gets on the board, in the second quarter, with a Jalen Hurts scramble to put the home team up 7-3.

Auburn counters with another three-pointer by Carlson, 7-6 Bama, at the half.

Rudy Ford takes the second half kickoff back to the Tide 22-yard line.

Kamryn Pettway bursts into the end zone from there. 13-7, Auburn.

Bama answers with a 65-yard bomb form Hurts to Calvin Ridley and that puts them up, 14-13.

The battle rages on into the fourth quarter. Bama gets a field goal from Adam Griffith and leads, 17-13, late.

Auburn takes the ball at its own 25 following the kickoff. It marches 45 yards to Alabama’s 30. Time is running out. It’s fourth and inches.

Everybody and their grandma is looking for Pettway up the middle. The quarterback (White, Franklin, Johnson?) pulls the ball, on a zone read, and makes it to the pylon to give Auburn the lead and, ultimately, the win, 20-17.

Hang on to your hats, folks. Here we go!

 

E-mail Bird at bird [dot] lecroy [at] campuspressbox [dot] com or follow him on Twitter @Autull.