January 6, 2014 in Sports

FSU-Auburn: Who has the edge?

Los Angeles Times
 

BCS CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

Florida State vs. Auburn

Records: Florida State (13-0), Auburn (12-1)

Stars: 5 (out of 5)

Where: Pasadena, Calif.

Today: 5:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Line: Florida State by 10. Over/under: 67

Briefly: Had this matchup in your preseason pool, right? The Seminoles have been dominant all year; the Tigers have been a combination of excellent and fortunate. Florida State has to stop Tre Mason and the Auburn ground game. Missouri couldn’t in the SEC title game and was burned for 545 rushing yards, 304 by Mason. The Tigers have to contain Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Jameis Winston. Nobody could this season.

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Kansas City Star

Auburn run game

vs. Florida State run defense

 Auburn is the top rushing team in major college football, averaging 335.7 yards a game.

 Tre Mason was a Heisman Trophy finalist after rushing for 1,621 yards and 22 touchdowns behind a line led by center Reese Dismukes. Mason, a junior, ran for 304 yards and four touchdowns in 46 carries against Missouri in the Southeastern Conference title game.

 Quarterback Nick Marshall has gained 1,023 yards and run for 11 touchdowns. Running backs Corey Grant and Cameron Artis-Payne each rushed for more than 600 yards.

 Florida State’s defensive front features tackles Timmy Jernigan and Nile Lawrence-Stample and linebackers Christian Jones, Terrance Smith and Telvin Smith.

 The Seminoles have given up only five rushing touchdowns – fewest in the nation – and rank 13th against the run.

Edge: Gary Klein: Auburn. Chris Dufresne: Auburn.

Auburn passing

vs. Florida State secondary

 Marshall has completed 60 percent of his passes, 12 for touchdowns, with five passes intercepted. He has had only one pass intercepted in his last eight games.

 Sammie Coates is the top receiver with 38 receptions and seven touchdowns. He averages 22 yards a catch. Ricardo Louis, who caught the game-winning touchdown pass against Georgia. Marcus Davis and Quan Bray each have 20 or more receptions.

 Florida State cornerbacks Lamarcus Joyner and P.J. Williams and safeties Terrence Brooks and Jalen Ramsey helped Florida State rank first nationally in passing defense. The Seminoles are tied for first with 25 interceptions.

Edge: Klein: Florida State. Dufresne: Florida State.

Florida State run game

vs. Auburn defense

 Devonta Freeman has rushed for 943 yards and 13 touchdowns to lead a running game that ranks 23rd nationally.

 Speedy Karlos Williams has rushed for 705 yards and 11 touchdowns. He averages 8.2 yards per carry. James Wilder Jr. has rushed for eight touchdowns, quarterback Jameis Winston four.

 Auburn ranks 62nd nationally against the run. Five of the Tigers’ top six tacklers are defensive backs.

Edge: Klein: Florida State. Dufresne: Florida State.

Florida State passing

vs. Auburn secondary

 Winston, the Heisman Trophy winner, has completed 68 percent of his passes, 38 for touchdowns, with 10 passes intercepted.

 The redshirt freshman utilizes a talented receiving corps that features Rashad Greene, Kenny Shaw and Kelvin Benjamin, all of whom will eclipse 1,000 yards if they match their per-game averages. Tight end Nick O’Leary has seven touchdown catches.

 Auburn ranks 102nd among 123 major-college teams against the pass.

 Defensive back Robenson Therezie has four interceptions, Ryan Smith three.

Edge: Klein: Florida State. Dufresne: Florida State.

Special teams

 Florida State’s Roberto Aguayo, an All-American who won the Lou Groza Award as college football’s top kicker, has made 19 of 20 field-goal attempts, including one from 53 yards against Syracuse.

 His only miss came on a 43-yard attempt against Wake Forest.

 Freshman Kermit Whitfield has averaged 34.4 yards per kickoff return. He would lead the nation if he had the minimum of 1.2 returns per game.

 Auburn kicker Cody Parkey has made 14 of 19 field-goal attempts, including one from 52 yards.

 Chris Davis averages 20.1 yards per punt return, which ranks second nationally. He also famously returned an Alabama field-goal attempt for a touchdown.

 Tre Mason and Corey Grant have returned kickoffs for touchdowns.

Edge: Klein: Florida State. Dufresne: Florida State.

 Coaching

 Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher was the offensive coordinator on Nick Saban’s staff that guided Louisiana State to the Bowl Championship Series title in the 2003 season.

 He is 3-0 as a head coach in bowl games for Florida State.

 First-year Auburn coach Gus Malzahn was the offensive coordinator on Gene Chizik’s staff that guided Auburn to the BCS title in the 2010 season. With QB Marshall not arriving from a community college until summer, Malzahn made adjustments throughout the season.

Edge: Klein: Florida State. Dufresne: Auburn.

Final score

Klein: Florida State 44, Auburn 24. Dufresne: Florida State 40, Auburn 35.


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