Clemson At Auburn
Clemson has won the last two games over the Tigers by a combined score of 64-43. Clemson has won by an average margin of victory of 10.5 points per game. Auburn’s six losses in 2015 came from opponents with a combined record of 59-19 or .754%.
Clemson averaged 38.5 points per game in 2015 and will be led by dynamic dual threat quarterback DeShaun Watson. Watson enters the 2016 campaign as a junior and is one of the top Heisman Trophy candidates in the nation. Last year, Watson completed 67.8% of his passes for for 4,104 yards with 35 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. On the ground, he rushed for 1,105 yards with 12 touchdowns while averaging 5.5 yards per carry. Clemson averaged over 500 yards of total offense in 11 straight games and was able to rush for over 200 yards per game in 11 of their 15 contests. Running back Wayne Gallman gives the Tigers a legitimate homerun hitter who is a threat to take it the distance every time he touches the rock. Last season, Gallman led the team with 1,527 yards averaging 5.4 yards per carry with 13 touchdowns on the ground. In 13 of the Tigers 15 games, the offense completed more than 60% of their pass attempts. The team’s two lowest totals came against Notre Dame (47%) and Oklahoma (53%).
Defensively, the Tigers were one of the top statiscal defenses in the nation last year allowing 302 yards per game. The team allowed 125 rushing yards per game and 187 passing yards per game. The strength of the defense was the secondary that held opponents to under 43% completion percentage in 8 of the team’s 15 games. The front seven also did a fantastic job in stuffing the run and held opposing offenses to under 150 yards rushing in 10 the team’s 15 games. By forcing third down and long situations, Clemson was able to create three and outs by opposing offenses which put their offense in great field position. On the year, Clemson held teams to 27% on their third down attempts. The Tigers were able to genrate a pass rush led by defensive end Shaq Lawson as the team recorded 48 total sacks on the year. Lawson accounted for 12.5 while teammate Kevin Dodd accounted for 12 total sacks. Both players have moved on to the NFL Draft and the defense will need to make up 50% of the defense’s sack total entering 2016. Clemson finished the 2015 season with -2 in turnover margin. The Tigers will need to change that entering the 2016 season as they lost the turnover battle in 7 of their 15 games. Clemson allowed 21.7 points per game in 2015.
Auburn has struggled recently the past two seasons on the offensive side of the football. When looking at the Tigers offensive issues, the lack of production in the running game can be the main reason why the team has not had continuity. In 2013 the team rushed for 328 yards per game, while in 2014 the team averaged 255 yards per game. However, last season the Tigers failed to rush for 200 yards per game and averaged 196 yards on the ground in 2015. In the team’s six losses in 2015, the offense averaged 158 rushing yards per game. That total was 38 yards less than their season average. Auburn averaged 27.6 points per game which was their lowest scoring output since the 2012 season. Quarterback Jeremy Johnson and Sean White will continue to battle it out this coming spring as both players combined to throw 11 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 2015. Auburn passed for over 300 yards in one game last season a 27-19 loss to Ole Miss at home. Without that performance, the Tigers averaged 163 passing yards per game in the team’s 12 games and will need a better effort in the 2016 season if they are to build on last year’s 7-6 overall record. In 8 of the team’s 13 games, the offense passed for less than 171 yards per game.
Defensively, the Tigers have struggled stopping the run. When looking at the team rushing defense since 2013, the defense has gotten considerably worse over the last couple of years. In 2013, Auburn allowed 163 rushing yards per game, while in 2014 the total was 168 yards per game. However, in the team’s five losses in 2014, the defense allowed 95 yards more per game on the ground. In 2015, the Tigers allowed 182 yards per game to opposing offenses. When looking at the team’s six losses during last year, the defense allowed 211 yards per game to their opponents (LSU, MSU, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Georgia and Alabama). The lack of defensive production was also evident in sacks. In 2014, the Tigers recorded 21 total sacks which ranked in the bottom third of FBS. In 2015, many fans and experts expected the addition of defensive coordinator Will Muschamp to help with getting pressure on oppposing quarterbacks. However, Auburn finished the season with 19 total sacks which ranked 104th in the nation of 127 teams. In order to build on last year’s record, the Tigers must be able to generate a pass rush. The team finished the 2015 campaign with +2 in turnover margin and did have 14 interceptions as a secondary. Auburn allowed 222 passing yards per game to their opponents and allowed 26 points per game.
Joseph Lisi is a college football analyst and has hosted his own show on Yahoo Sports Radio Network called: Go For The 2 with Joe Lisi
He is former ABC Sports college football researcher and owner of www.Goforthe2.com. He is also the sports content editor for two-time Super Bowl Champion Mark Collins website called:www.2fivesports.com
He is a member of the FWAA (Football Writers Association Of America), the Maxwell Football Club and the National Football Foundation. Jospeh is the Director of Communications for the NY Chapter of the National Football Foundation.
He has been featured on Yahoo Sports Radio, ESPN Radio, Sirius XM, The Sid Rosenberg Show (640 AM Sports) and The FNTSY Network.
Jospeh recently publised his own eBook on Amazon called: “From The Gridiron To The Sandbox”-Memoirs of A College Football Junkie which is availbe for purchase here: