A Tale of Two Tigers: Auburn Faces Missouri in the SEC Championship Game

Updated: December 3, 2013
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What a difference a year makes. 

In 2012 Auburn limped into the Iron Bowl with three wins. They were promptly put out of their misery 49-0 by Alabama. It capped off a season no Tiger fan would want to remember, and cost Gene Chizek his job. 

Fast forward 12 months and Auburn finds itself one win away from an SEC Championship, and possibly a berth in the BCS Championship game in Pasadena. The Tigers (11-1) are third in the BCS rankings following their stunning 34-28 win over the Crimson Tide. 

Missouri struggled in its inaugural season in the SEC in 2012. The former Big 12 school finished 5-7 with only two conference wins. This season the Tigers took advantage of injury-riddled Georgia and Florida teams to capture the SEC East Division. Missouri (11-1) sits fifth in the BCS following its 28-21 victory over Texas A&M last weekend. 

The scene is set for a SEC Championship game very few people would have predicted at the beginning of the season. It’s an all-Tiger affair. Two schools that won a combined two SEC conference games last season will battle for a chance to go to a BCS bowl game. 

Let’s see how the two schools match up.


James Franklin is the spark plug that makes the Missouri offense go. Franklin missed four games with a shoulder injury, yet still managed to account for 19 touchdowns. His touchdown to interception ratio is and outstanding 4:1. Franklin has bounced back nicely from a poor 2012 season. 

It’s hard to believe Nick Marshall began his college career as a defensive back. Marshall has run the Auburn offense efficiently and at times, brilliantly. The duel-threat Marshall has combined for 21 touchdowns through the air and on the ground.

Edge: Missouri

Courtesy of thecollegefootballgirl.com


Run Game

Henry Josey leads a three-headed rushing attack for Missouri. Josey is closing in on a 1,000 yard season and leads the team with 13 rushing touchdowns. Russell Hansbrough and Franklin compliment Josey as the Tiger running attack averages a respectable 236 yards a game.

Trey Mason has been unstoppable lately. In his last four games, Mason is averaging 141 yards a game. He rushed for 164 yards against Alabama last week. Mason has nine rushing touchdowns in his last four games. Nick Marshall’s 922 yards on the ground help Auburn average 318 yards a game.

Edge: Auburn 

Courtesy of sportsillustrated.com


James Franklin’s resurgence can be attributed to his two stud receivers. L’Damian Washington is having a breakout season. The 6’4” senior has nearly doubled his receptions and yardage totals from last year. Lined up on the other side of the formation is 6’6” Dorial Green-Beckham. Beckham followed up his freshman season by doubling his touchdown catches from 5 to 10. The duo combined for 13 catches for 190 yard and two scores against the Aggies. 

Sammie Coates has been the go-to guy for Marshall. Coates has 32 receptions for the season, none more memorable than his 39 yard touchdown catch to tie the score in the Iron Bowl.

Edge: Missouri 

Courtesy of zimbio.com


Missouri ranks 15th in the country in rushing defense. The Tigers allow just 118 yards a game. Teams average 3.6 yards per carry against the Missouri front seven. The passing defense is the weak link, ranked 109th while giving up 273 yards per game through the air. Missouri gives up an average of 19 points per game. 

Auburn’s run defense is ranked 65th and gives up an average of 167 yards a game. The Tigers surrender a full yard more per carry than Missouri’s defense (4.6). The secondary is just as vulnerable as Missouri’s, giving up 269 yards. Auburn yields 22 points a game.

Edge: Missouri

Auburn enters the game on an eight-game win streak. Missouri has won four in a row. Auburn is coming off its biggest victory of the season. The Tigers have pulled off improbable victories two weeks in a row (Georgia and Alabama). Do they have anything left in the tank? 

Missouri has its starting quarterback healthy again. The defense held a Johnny Manziel-led Texas A&M team to 21 points last Saturday. This game will test the strength of Missouri’s run defense against Auburn’s run offense? Something will have to give. 

Prediction: 31-21 Missouri 

Courtesy of helmetgame.com

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