Last year, Michael Dyer and the Auburn Tigers beat the South Carolina Gamecocksand kept Marcus Lattimore in check twice, once during the regular season and again in the SEC Championship game. Dyer racked up 100 yards on 23 carries versus Lattimore's 33 yards on 14 carries in the first game, but Lattimore out-gained Dyer with 84 yards off 16 carries to 64 yards off 14 carries in the second, respectively.
In the 2010 recruiting rankings, Lattimore and Dyer were ranked either the top back or the second back in the nation, depending on the service providing the rankings. The two nearly attended Auburn University together, but Lattimore had a change of heart in the final week of recruiting and chose the Gamecocks.
Marcus Lattimore 2011 Season Statistics - 107 rushing attempts; 611 yards rushing; 5.7 yard average per carry; 36 yard long; 8 touchdowns
Marcus Lattimore 2010 Season Statistics - 249 rushing attempts; 1197 yards rushing; 4.8 yard average per carry; 58 yard long; 17 touchdowns
Michael Dyer 2011 Season Statistics - 62 rushing attempts; 426 yards rushing; 6.9 yard average per carry; 52 yard long; 6 touchdowns
Michael Dyer 2010 Season Statistics - 182 rushing attempts; 1093 yards rushing; 6.0 yard average per carry; 38 yard long; 5 touchdowns
As bad as I would like to see Dyer have the better game, Auburn's rushing defense has been pathetic
this season. It is ranked 112th and gives up an average of 227 yards per game. The Tigers have given up over 200 yards in three of four games, including over 300 to Mississippi State, and they have yet to face a running back as talented as Lattimore, currently second in the nation.
The good news for the Tigers, however, is South Carolina has faced a much weaker schedule and is ranked 60th in rushing defense
and gives up 137.37 yards per game. As for Dyer, Georgia's true freshman running back, Isaiah Crowell, was able to carve the Gamecocks defense for 118 yards on 16 carries.
The Tigers plan is to make quarterback Stephen Garcia beat them. South Carolina's passing game has been terrible, even with wide receiver Alshon Jeffery
. Thus, Auburn will stack the box to stop the run, and try to force the Gamecocks to have to throw the ball to win the game.
Unlike the Gamecocks, Auburn's offense is more balanced. If the Gamecocks attempt to load the box and stop Dyer, Barrett Trotter is capable of burning them deep. Auburn receiver Emory Blake is an emerging star
having scored a touchdown in eight straight Tigers games. So far this season he has 137 receiving yards on 16 receptions (19.8 yard average per reception) for four touchdowns and a long of 53 yards.USC will have to account for him at all times.
Another advantage Auburn will have is in the kick-off return game. True freshman running back, Tre Mason
, has been...
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