On February 22, 1893, the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Auburn Tigers (then known as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama) took the field for their first ever meeting at Lakeview Park in Birmingham.

Since that game, the iconic players and unforgettable moments of the series have catapulted the Iron Bowl as the top rivalry in college football.

Coming into Saturday’s clash at Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium, Alabama leads the overall series 45-35-1 and has a three-game winning streak over their cross-state rivals.

For the second consecutive season, the Crimson Tide is the top ranked team in college football with an 11-0 record while the Tigers are ranked sixth with a 9-2 overall record.

The winner of Saturday’s game will represent the SEC West in Atlanta for a chance at an SEC title and a likely spot in the College Football Playoff.

Prior to Saturday’s 2:30 PM kickoff on CBS, let’s find out the three things you need to know about the Auburn Tigers.

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SEC’s Most Balanced Offense

Throughout Gus Malzahn’s tenure at Auburn, the Tigers have featured a prolific running game that goes through a bruising running back or an athletic quarterback.

While Auburn was among the top rushing teams in the SEC last season, the addition of quarterback Jarrett Stidham has catapulted the Tigers offense toward the top of the college football world.

The Baylor transfer leads the SEC in completion percentage (.658) and is fourth in the country with 10 pass completions of 50+ yards.

On the ground, Kerryon Johnson has taken the SEC by storm as he leads the SEC with 130.2 yards per game and is seventh nationally with 16 rushing touchdowns.

Through their first 11 games of the season, Auburn is the only team in the SEC and one of three FBS teams to average 230 yards passing and 230 yards rushing per game.

Auburn is fourth in the conference in rushing and passing offense averaging 244 yards per game on the ground and 231.9 yards per game through the air.

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Suffocating Defense

Under the guidance of defensive coordinator Kevin Steele, Auburn’s defense has emerged as one of the top defenses in college football.

The area where the Tigers have excelled defensively is against the run. Auburn is third in the conference allowing 131.1 rushing yards per game and has allowed only five rushing touchdowns on the season.

Nationally, Kevin Steele’s defense comes in 10th national in total defense (302.5 yards per game) and eighth in scoring defense (16.6 points per game).

Auburn plays well at the line of scrimmage as they have forced plays of no gain or negative yards on 286 of 762 plays (37.5%) from scrimmage this season.

Additionally, the Tigers defense has put the team in position to win every game this season by surrendering only three first quarter touchdowns this season.

 

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Daniel Carlson’s Superior Leg

In a close game, Daniel Carlson could be a difference maker with his leg.

The senior placekicker has made 19 of his 25 kicks this season but it’s his consistency from long range that sets him apart from other kickers in college football.

Carlson has made 13 career kicks from 50 yards or longer and has already converted four of seven attempts from 50+ yards this season.

Over the last three meetings against Alabama, the Colorado Springs, Colorado native made 11 field goals including five in 2014 and four last season.

The senior kicker holds the SEC record for scoring (462 points), field goals made (88) and consecutive PATs made (192).