Stats & Info: Auburn

Alabama wins record-setting Iron Bowl

November, 30, 2014
Nov 30
The ending wasn’t quite as memorable as the 2013 Iron Bowl, but it was certainly a record-setting Iron Bowl that will go down in history.

Top-ranked Alabama tied an Iron Bowl record by scoring 55 points. The Crimson Tide also scored 55 points in a 55-0 win over Auburn in 1948.

The two teams combined for 99 points, setting an Iron Bowl record for combined points. They also combined for an Iron Bowl-record 1,169 yards.

There were plenty of offensive stars in this game, but perhaps the star of stars was Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper, who set an Iron Bowl record with 224 receiving yards.

The 224 yards tied Cooper’s own school record for any game. He also set a school record with his 14th career 100-yard receiving game.

Cooper wasn’t the only stud receiver in this game. Auburn's Sammie Coates had 206 receiving yards, the second most in Iron Bowl history.

Alabama quarterback Blake Sims struggled early with three interceptions, but after his third interception, he completed 10 of 12 passes with three passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown.

In the loss, Nick Marshall set a school record with 456 passing yards.

The 44 points for Auburn are the most Alabama has ever allowed in a win.

The Tide will try to repeat the success of the past five Iron Bowl winners: Each of those five reached the national championship game, and four of the five won the title.

First, the Tide will face Missouri next Saturday in the SEC championship game.
Every Friday during college football season, we're taking fans' questions and answering them on our blog. You can send questions to our Twitter account @ESPNStatsInfo. Be sure to follow so you can tweet us your questions (facts, not opinions) and we'll answer the best of the best.

When is the last time the previous year’s college football national champion was unranked by Week 2 of the following year?
-- asked by @TEEnsign

The Auburn Tigers dropped from the polls after defeating the Utah State Aggies in their season opener. When was the last time the defending AP national champions were unranked by the second poll of the season?

Well, Gene Chizik was just three years old at the time.

You have to go back to 1965 to find the last instance. That’s when the Alabama Crimson Tide entered the season ranked No. 5. After a loss to the Georgia Bulldogs, the Tide fell out of the poll. Keep in mind, though, the AP only ranked the top 10 teams back in those days.

We discussed this and more in our Nickel Package on Thursday.

How often do preseason ranked teams lose their season opener and stay ranked the next week (TCU for example)?
-- asked by @tsmith15

The Oregon Ducks and TCU Horned Frogs both stayed in the AP top 25 despite falling to 0-1 in the opening week. Certainly it helps if a team’s initial ranking was high, as was the case with the Ducks at No. 3.

However, a team remaining ranked after losing its opening game is not all that uncommon.

Last year, it was Virginia Tech that lost its opener but remained ranked. In 2009, it happened with the Oklahoma Sooners, the Virginia Tech Hokies and Georgia.

In fact, in each of the past 32 years, a team has remained ranked after starting 0-1. You have to go all the way back to 1979 to find the last time it didn’t happen.

No touchdowns were scored in three of the 10 games Alabama and Penn State played from 1981-90. How rare was that in college football's modern age?
-- asked by @scontor

How rare is it these days? Try very.

Over the previous five seasons (2006-10), there were 4,003 games played. Of those, only 12 did not include a touchdown for either side. That’s 0.003 percent. Needless to say, that’s a far cry from the 30 percent of the games you mentioned.
The 2011 USA Today Preseason Coaches' Poll was released late Thursday morning with the Oklahoma Sooners taking the top overall spot. This is the first time Oklahoma is the preseason No. 1 in the poll since 2003, a season in which they reached the BCS National Championship game before falling to LSU. The team finished third in the coaches' poll that season.

However, the Sooners do not have recent history on their side - the last team to open up the season No. 1 in the coaches' poll and finish the season No. 1 was USC in 2004.

One challenge the Sooners will have to overcome in order to stay No. 1 will be performance on the road. Specifically, the performance of quarterback Landry Jones.

Jones was much more effective at home during the 2010 season - he had a 37-6 touchdown-to-interception ratio at home compared to 27-to-20 on the road. The team's first road test will be on September 17 at Florida State, with other notable road/neutral games including Texas on October 8, Baylor on November 19 and Oklahoma State on December 3.

Beyond The Top Spot
The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame made the largest jump of all teams inside the top 20, going from unranked and 36th in receiving votes to No. 18 in the preseason poll. Three other teams jumped 10 or more spots based on their final ranking from the previous season, including Texas A&M and Florida State, both of whom jumped into the top 10.

On the other hand, three of the final top five teams from the final coaches poll last season dropped by more than 10 spots. Auburn fell 18 spots down to 19th, the largest drop for any team. That's thanks in part to returning only three starters on each side of the ball. It is the lowest debut for a defending national champion since USA Today began administering the coaches' poll in 1991. Meanwhile Ohio State found itself 16th in the preseason poll and TCU sits 15th after finishing No. 2 last season.

Alabama, which picked up 13 first-place votes, comes in at No. 2 and will once again be relying heavily on the running game to stay there. The team lost starting running back and former Heisman Trophy-winner Mark Ingram to the NFL and will now turn to Trent Richardson to pick up where he left off.

Thankfully, Richardson proved himself to be effective last season - perhaps more effective than even Ingram himself. Richardson was superior to Ingram in his yards per rush figures from virtually every angle; rushing inside the tackles (Richardson' 5.0 to Ingram's 4.7), rushing outside the tackles (7.8 to 6.5) and even yards after contact (2.7 to 2.4).

After completing fewer than half of his passes that were thrown in the air 10 yards or more in 2009, LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson's deep passes regressed even further in 2010.

Jefferson is going to have to improve his deep touch if the Tigers are going to overcome of the nation's toughest schedules.

That schedule features an opener against Oregon, trips to Alabama, West Virginia, Mississippi State and home dates against Florida, Arkansas and Auburn. In other words, it will be a challenge for the Tigers to remain in the top five all season long.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Big East failed to place a team in the preseason Top 25 for the second time in three seasons.

However, a lot can change between now and January - just ask defending champion Auburn as it was ranked No. 23 in the 2010 Preseason Coaches Poll.
Monday’s Auburn-Oregon clash was worthy of a championship game. Here are some of the most noteworthy nuggets from an epic contest:

• It's the first time in more than 70 years that two different teams from the same state are crowned national champs in consecutive seasons. The only other time it happened in the history of the AP poll (since 1936) was when TCU and Texas A&M won back-to-back titles in 1938 and 1939.

• Auburn started the season ranked No. 22 in the AP Poll and becomes the first team since Georgia Tech in 1990 to win a national championship after starting the season ranked outside the top 20.

• With Gene Chizik in just his second season as Auburn head coach, 10 of the last 11 coaches to win the BCS National Championship have done it within their first four seasons with the program.

• Cam Newton is the ninth Heisman winner to play in the national championship game in the last 11 years. Heisman winners are 3-6 in those contests.

• Auburn averaged over five yards per rush on Monday night and pounded Oregon’s defense on the ground. This success running the ball set Cam Newton up to beat Oregon with play-action fakes. Meanwhile, even though Oregon’s rushing game had its worst performance of the season, Darron Thomas still put up big numbers after a run fake.

• This was the first time this season Oregon was held under 100 yards rushing. The Ducks' previous low was 125 yards against Arizona State. It was the first time all season the Ducks failed to score a point in the third quarter.

• It was also just the second game in which Oregon was blanked in two quarters within the same game. The only other time that happened was at Cal when the Ducks did not score in the first and fourth quarters.

• Oregon converted two-point conversions on both its touchdowns and finished the season with an FBS-best six two-point conversions this season, one more than USC.

• Despite the loss, Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas threw for 363 yards, two shy of the BCS title game record held by Matt Leinart in 2006 against Texas. He also threw two first-quarter interceptions. He threw two interceptions in the final seven games of the regular season.

History to be made in BCS bowls

December, 5, 2010
There are plenty of tradition-rich programs in the BCS bowls this year -- Oklahoma, Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Virginia Tech among them.

But so much for history in any of the matchups. Four of the five bowls feature two teams that have NEVER played each other before.

And the only two teams that DO have a history are Wisconsin and TCU. Those two played to a 14-14 tie 40 years ago.

A few notes to whet your appetite on some matchups, with many more notes on the other games to come on this blog over the next few weeks:

• This will be the third BCS National Championship game in which each team was making its BCS Title Game debut. The other two took place in the inaugural game in 1998 (No. 1 Tennessee beat No. 2 Florida State, 23-16) and 2001 (No. 1 Miami defeated No. 2 Nebraska, 37-14)

An SEC team has finished in the top two in the final BCS standings in each of the last five years and in seven of the previous 13 final standings. The SEC is 6-0 in the BCS title game, winning the championship in each of the last four seasons.

By contrast, a Pac-10 team has finished in the top two of the final BCS standings three times (’04-’05 USC, ’10 Oregon). The Pac-10 is 1-1 in the BCS title game.

The matchup that might garner the most attention in this game: Oregon ranks fourth in FBS in rushing, averaging over 300 yards a game. Auburn brings the SEC's second-ranked rush defense, which holds teams to 111.7 yards a game.

Auburn has had to come from behind in eight of its 13 wins this season, but Oregon is outscoring opponents 125-24 in the 4th quarter.

• The Rose Bowl should be a high-scoring affair, with Wisconsin and TCU having scored exactly 520 points through 12 games, which puts them in a tie for fourth place among FBS teams (TCU's defense leads the nation in fewest points-per-game allowed. Wisconsin is averaging a whopping 67 points per contest in its last three games.

• Is Connecticut the mostly unlikely BSC bowl participant? The Huskies have only been playing at the FBS level since 2000 and this is just their seventh year playing in an automatic-bid conference.

They started the season 3-4 before winning their final five games and they have never been ranked this season. Their four losses are tied for the most losses by a team to make a BCS bowl game.

• Something’s gotta give in the Orange Bowl. Virginia Tech, the highest-scoring team in the ACC, takes on the best defense in the Pac-10, Stanford, which is allowing 18 points per game and has posted three shutouts this season.

• Arkansas is playing in its first BCS bowl game, with Ryan Mallett leading the Razorbacks' potent passing offense. Mallett was fifth in FBS in passing yards per game, throwing for 299 yards per contest. But he’ll be challenged by an Ohio State pass defense that ranked fourth in the nation, allowing only 156 yards per game. The most yards Ohio State has allowed through the air this year was 232 -- while Mallet has passed for fewer than 300 yards just three times in 12 games this year.

Oregon vaults over Auburn in BCS

October, 31, 2010

Even a convincing win at Ole Miss, couldn't keep the Auburn Tigers the No. 1 team in the BCS Standings.

The Oregon Ducks are the new No. 1, the 15th different school to hold No. 1 BCS spot and third from the Pac-10, joining USC and UCLA.

For the first time in BCS history, there are three teams from non-AQ conference schools (TCU, Boise State, Utah) in the top five at the same time.

It’s the second time in BCS history there have been three different No. 1 teams in the first three standings of the year. In 1998, the first season of the BCS, UCLA debuted at No. 1, Ohio State was No. 1 the following week, and Tennessee was the top team a week later. The Vols held the No. 1 spot the rest of the season.

Will a No. 1 team go down for the fourth straight week? If history is any indication, the Auburn Tigers had better be prepared for a battle Saturday night in Oxford, Miss. Houston Nutt has a long history of pulling major upsets and has many other close calls as a big underdog. Let's revisit some of these:

• In 2008, Nutt's Ole Miss Rebels went into Gainesville as 22-point underdogs and gave the eventual national champion Florida Gators their only loss of the season.

• In 2007, Nutt's Arkansas Razorbacks knocked off the No. 1 LSU Tigers 50-48 in triple overtime down in Baton Rouge as two-TD underdogs. LSU went on to win the national championship that season.

• In 2006, it was No. 2 Auburn that fell to Nutt's Arkansas team 27-10 at Jordan-Hare as a 15-point favorite.

• There also are wins over highly ranked Texas and Tennessee teams. And 10 other losses by six points or fewer when the Nutt-coached team was at least a touchdown underdog.

So, if Nutt pulls off some more magic this weekend, please don’t say we didn’t warn you.
1. Alabama (18 straight games) and Nebraska (12 straight) are each carrying long streaks of allowing 21 points or fewer. How impressive is that? No other FBS team has a streak longer than four games. Two other teams, Rutgers and West Virginia, have done it in every game this season. But both of those teams have played four games and their streak does not extend into last season.

2. Urban Meyer and Les Miles both started their SEC coaching careers in 2005, and Meyer is one of the few FBS coaches with a better record than Miles since that time. When you factor in the 2007 BCS title, Meyer and Mack Brown are the only two coaches who have been inarguably more successful than Miles during this stretch.

NOTE: Boise State's Chris Petersen began in 2006, so he doesn't make the list.

3. It's not often that Alabama and San Jose State are mentioned in the same sentence, but that is the case this week. The Spartans will join the Crimson Tide as the only FBS teams to have played four ranked opponents after this weekend. San Jose State travels to No. 21 Nevada this week after having already lost to ranked teams Alabama, Wisconsin and Utah.

4. Denard Robinson became just the second player with two 200-yard rushing and passing games in the same season, joining Vince Young in 2005. It was Young's final season and he led the Longhorns to the national title. Robinson's numbers through 5 games are better than Young's that season.

5. On Saturday, Georgia will attempt to avoid its first five-game, single-season losing streak since 1953. Pretty amazing considering that every other current SEC team has had at least one such losing streak since then, including some perennial powerhouses. A bit of trivia … other than Georgia, which current SEC schools have the fewest five-game, single-season losing streaks since 1953?

Answer: Auburn and Tennessee with one each.

Nation's most efficient pass attacks collide

September, 9, 2010
Thursday night be sure to check out the college football action on the ESPN Family of Networks:

Central Michigan at Temple, 7 ET on ESPNU
• The Temple Owls are the preseason MAC favorite, but the Central Michigan Chippewas have won three of the last four MAC titles.

• Temple has won six straight at home, which is one shy of the school record home win streak. It's been awhile since the Owls have been this good … that record was set all the way back in 1940 and 1941!

• However, don't expect the Chippewas to become easy road kill. They have won 11 of their last 12 MAC road games.

21 Auburn at Mississippi State, 7:30 ET on ESPN
• The Auburn Tigers have won 16 of their last 17 SEC openers. Their only loss over this span was to the Mississippi State Bulldogs, however, in 2007.

• The last time these teams met in Starkville, a baseball game broke out. Auburn won by a remarkable score of 3-2 in 2008.

• Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen coached Auburn QB Cam Newton at Florida.

• After Week 1, these teams are No. 1 and No. 2 nationally in pass efficiency. In other words, don't expect another 3-2 game. These teams combined for 101 points in their opening week wins.