Five X-Factors when the Tigers have the ball
#43 Philip Lutzenkirchen, 6-5, 255, sr., TE, Auburn. Anybody see an All-American around here? Somewhere? Anywhere?
#35 Jay Prosch, 6-0, 260, jr., FB, Auburn. The power running game will be the path the Tigers must take to control possession on the road. Obviously, Onterio McCalebb and Tre Mason will have to use those fleet feet to move the chains, but it’s in the red zone where Jay Prosch and Blake Burgess can truck defenders in the jumbo package.
#36 Cody Parkey, 6-0, 194, jr., K, Auburn. His only blemish this year was being short on a 49-yard try against Arkansas. He responded with a 46-yarder at Ole Miss which would have been good from 56.
#28 Karl Butler, 6-1, 215, jr., OLB, Vanderbilt. Sets up camp in backfields. Lutzenkirchen, fellow tight end Brandon Fulse and the Tiger tackles need to keep him compromised.
#23 Andre Hal, 6-0, 184, jr., CB, Vanderbilt. Pairs with Trey Wilson to make one of the best cornerback tandems in the league in breaking up passes. Emory Blake has never found a rhythm this year, and Hal will try to keep that trendy.
Five X-Factors when the Commodores have the ball
#2 Zac Stacy, 5-9, 210, sr., RB and #87 Jordan Matthews, 6-3, 205, WR, Vanderbilt. Obvious names, yes. But you know Stacy, approaching the title of Vandy’s all-time leading rusher and ground scorer, and Matthews, one of the SEC’s best receivers in the first half, will want to get a piece of Auburn for bragging rights. Stacy (Centreville) and Matthews (Madison) are each Alabama residents.
#30 Cassanova McKinzy, 6-3, 243, fr., MLB, Auburn. Should get the start tomorrow, and with a week of full reps under his belt, we’ll see if he’s mature enough to handle the heart of Auburn’s defense and make a difference as far as the inconsistency goes.
#13 Craig Sanders, 6-4, 257, jr. and #94 Nosa Eguae, 6-3, 268, jr., DEs, Auburn. If Dee Ford didn’t make the trip or is limited, Sanders and Eguae have to use those high motors to complement Corey Lemonier and plague QB Jordan Rodgers’ comfort level.
Three players you should watch since I can’t be at every game Saturday
#1 Ben Malena, 5-8, 195, jr., RB, Texas A&M. Johnny Manziel’s the leading SEC rusher, so LSU will undoubtedly sell out to contain the freshman. So Malena can take some pressure off by having an efficient game himself.
#3 Collin Klein, 6-5, 226, sr., QB, Kansas State. Is he ready for a prime-time shootout? Because the quarterback on the other sideline, Geno Smith, probably heard all the jawing that he’s no longer the Heisman frontrunner because of one lackluster road performance. Up to Klein to help K-State’s title survive another week.
#7 Jadeveon Clowney, 6-6, 256, so., DE, South Carolina. Kind of an obvious name, but the Gamecocks need a massive effort from their effort to have a chance in the Swamp. That falls on Clowney and linebacker Shaq Wilson.