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SEC Championship Game Breakdown

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sec logo e1284474735497 SEC Championship Game Breakdown

Here is a complete breakdown of the SEC Championship game between South Carolina and Auburn.

No. 1 AUBURN (12-0, 8-0 SEC) vs. No. 19 SOUTH CAROLINA (9-3, 5-3 SEC)
4:00 p.m., Atlanta, Ga.
Georgia Dome (72,000)

LIVE TV: CBS (Verne Lundquist, play-by-play; Gary Danielson, analyst, Tracy Wolfson, sideline)

LIVE RADIO: SEC Radio Network (Dave Neal, play-by-play; Dave Archer, analyst, Dave Baker, sideline); Westwood One (John Tatges, play-by-play; Terry Donahue, analyst)

THE COACHES
Gene Chizik is in his second season at Auburn with a record of 20-5 (.800) and in his fourth season overall with a record of 25-24 (.510). The Tigers’ offensive coordinator is Gus Malzahn and the defensive coordinator is Ted Roof. This is Chizik’s first appearance as a head coach in the SEC Championship Game.

Steve Spurrier is in his sixth season at South Carolina with a record of 44-31 (.587) and in his 21st season as a college head coach with a record of 186-71-2 (.722). Spurrier serves as the Gamecocks’ offensive coordinator and the defensive coordinator is Lorenzo Ward. Spurrier is 5-2 in previous SEC Championship Games, all as head coach at Florida.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN AUBURN HAS THE BALL
Cam Newton leads the SEC and ranks 11th nationally (second among quarterbacks) in rushing (111.33). He is the only player in the country with five 170-yard rushing games this season. Newton is the first player in SEC history and one of nine different FBS players ever to pass for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in a single season. Michael Dyer has rushed for 886 yards and broke Bo Jackson’s Auburn freshman rushing record of 829 yards. Onterio McCalebb is averaging 8.52 yards per carry, which is second highest among the nation’s rushers ranked in the top 100 in the country.

The Gamecocks lead the Southeastern Conference and are tied for third in the nation with a school-record 39 sacks (3.25 per game). DE Melvin Ingram leads the way with 8.0 sacks on the season, ranking him third in the SEC; DE Devin Taylor has 7.5 sacks to rank fourth. Carolina has scored six defensive touchdowns this season (five interceptions, one fumble), the most since joining the SEC prior to the 1992 season. LB Antonio Allen returned an “oskie” for a touchdown against Clemson, his first interception of the season. CB Stephon Gilmore led the Gamecocks with seven tackles against Clemson.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN SOUTH CAROLINA HAS THE BALL
Marcus Lattimore holds the school record for single-season touchdowns scored with 19. He needs just one more score to tie Tennessee’s Reggie Cobb (1987) for the SEC freshman scoring record. Alshon Jeffery broke the school record for single-season receiving yards with 1,351 this season. Against Clemson, Jeffery had five grabs for 141 yards and a TD. Jeffery leads the SEC and is fifth in the nation in receiving yards per game with 112.58 yards per contest. Stephen Garcia is the third quarterback in school history to top 6,000 career passing yards. Lattimore has 1,114 rushing yards this season, giving the Gamecocks a 1,000-yard rusher and a 1,000-yard receiver in the same season for the first time in school history.

Nick Fairley leads the SEC and is tied for fifth nationally in tackles for loss with 20.0. He is second in the league in sacks with 9.5. He has had at least four games with at least 2.5 tackles for loss this season. Against Alabama, Fairley had two sacks and forced and recovered a fumble on the play, earning SEC Co-Defensive Lineman of the Week honors. Josh Bynes led Auburn in tackles last season with 104, and is leading again this season with 68 tackles, including 5.5 tackles for loss. He has also recorded three interceptions, giving him seven for his career. Neiko Thorpe had a game-high 12 tackles against Alabama and has 58 stops this season and eight pass deflections.

SPECIAL TEAMS
Demond Washington ranks sixth in the SEC averaging 25.2 yards per kickoff return, and has set an Auburn single-season record for kickoff return yardage with 983, including a 95-yard TD at Ole Miss. Onterio McCalebb returned a kickoff 99 yards against Arkansas, and freshman Demetruce McNeal has a team-high 14 tackles on special teams. Wes Byrum has made 30 of his last 35 field goal attempts after hitting just 11-of-19 in 2008.

Spencer Lanning has punted 49 times for an average of 43.8 yards per punt, ranking him fifth in the SEC in punting average. He is also 15-for-20 on field goal attempts on the season, including a long of 51 yards. Lanning has also made ten of his last 11 field goal tries. Against Clemson, he averaged 42.7 yards on seven punts and hit 3-of-4 field goals, earning SEC Special Teams Player of the Week honors.

CATEGORY……………AUBURN……..SOUTH CAROLINA
SCORING OFFENSE…….41.6 ……………33.2
TOTAL OFFENSE……..490.1……………394.7
RUSHING………………291.2……………155.5
PASSING………………198.8……………239.2
SCORING DEFENSE……25.1……………..20.2
TOTAL DEFENSE……..363.2……………338.7
RUSHING………………108.0…………….93.2
PASSING………………255.2……………245.5
TURNOVER MARGIN……+4………………..+5

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