Want a weird stat? Raise your hand if you knew this:
With the Georgia-Auburn rivalry, the team with the highest time of possession is 9-0 this decade, which includes their splitting of two meetings last year.
If that holds up, it’s probably not good news for Gus’ team.
Malzahn’s tempo-oriented Tigers are a wretched 124th nationally with an average possession time of 26 minutes and 31 seconds per game. Auburn had the ball for less than 26 minutes in its 30-24 home loss to Tennessee on Oct. 13 and less than 25 minutes in its 22-21 home loss to LSU on Sept. 15.
In Auburn’s 23-9 loss at Mississippi State on Oct. 6, the Tigers had an embarrassing 18:07 in possession time.
Even in last Saturday’s 28-24 win over Texas A&M, Auburn had the ball for 21:19 but awoke from six consecutive three-and-outs with two late touchdown drives engineered by junior quarterback Jarrett Stidham.
A large part of the reason for that is how poor Auburn’s rushing game has been this season. Take out Alabama State, and the Tigers are 13th in the conference in average yards per carry. (That’s even with the benefit of having faced Ole Miss.) Against D-1 opponents, Georgia averages two yards more per rush than does Auburn.
Georgia, in case you were wondering (and, given those rushing stats, you probably weren’t), sits 75 spots higher than Auburn in time of possession. I suspect it’s going to be a bigger factor than Gus is hoping it will be.