Dec. 2, 2010
Auburn, Ala. -
The second-ranked Auburn football team put in its final full practice of the week, going 60 minutes on the outdoor practice fields Thursday afternoon. The Tigers will travel to Atlanta Friday for an afternoon walk-thru, which is closed to the public, at the Georgia Dome.
Auburn will face South Carolina for the second time this season when the teams meet Saturday. Auburn defeated the Gamecocks 35-27 Sept. 25, in Auburn. Faced with a rematch, Auburn head coach Gene Chizik said there is little advantage of having won the first meeting.
"That game was so close and it was here at home and it could have gone either way, right down to the wire," Chizik said at his Tuesday press conference. "That's what our team remembers. Our team remembers that we fought back, we came back and won the game. They also remember that it could have very easily gone the other way. This is a new game, it's eight weeks later, it's a new team, it's a better (South Carolina) team than they were eight weeks ago and the whole deal."
South Carolina comes into the game having won three straight, including a pair of road wins at then No. 23 Florida and in-state rival Clemson.
"They've just kept improving every week," Chizik added. "They've done a tremendous job on both sides of the football if you just go back and look at their offense and how they've evolved even since we played. They have a running back that's obviously rushing for well over 100 yards per game. They have a receiver who is off the chart in terms of receptions and yards per game, as well. The quarterback is throwing the ball very well in terms of pass efficiency. They're great in the time of possession category; they're controlling the football.
"Obviously they're the No. 1 rushing defense. They've done a great job stopping the run. They lead our league in sacks. Their red-zone defense is really good. Again, I think they've steadily improved week-by-week since we played last. This is an extremely good football team. We have our work cut out for us. There are challenges all over the field for us - offensively, defensively and special teams. We're going to face a much-improved team, there's no question."
Auburn (12-0, 8-0 SEC), which is ranked No. 2 in the polls but No. 1 in the latest BCS standings, will be making its fourth appearance in the SEC Championship game, while South Carolina (9-3, 5-3 SEC) will be playing in the conference title game for the first time.
Saturday's game between Auburn and South Carolina will kick off at 3 p.m. CT from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta and will be televised by CBS. Auburn fans are encouraged to wear orange to the game.