NCAA Football on ESPN: (13) Auburn Tigers at (3) Clemson Tigers

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Clemson hosts as 5.5 point favorites this week against a fellow-ranked team in No. 13 Auburn.

(13) Auburn – (3) Clemson
Time: 6 PM CT
Spread: CLEM -5.5
Total: 53.5

Odds c/o 5dimes

Auburn won easily 41-7 over Georgia Southern in Week 1, but it still slid from No. 12 to No. 13 in the AP rankings. A win this week would have more profound implications as it travels to face No. 3 Clemson in a big rivalry game that will air at 6 PM (CT) Saturday on ESPN.

Hosting Clemson is 5.5-point favorites according to college football oddsmakers at 5dimes who have set the over/under at 53.5 points for the affair.

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Last week, in the win over the Eagles, Auburn was able to get 185 passing yards from Jarrett Stidham, who completed 14 of 24 passes en route to two passing TDs and just one interception. The backfield was especially active for the Tigers, with 351 total yards, including 136 apiece from the tandem of Kam Martin and Kerryon Johnson. Both had a touchdown, as well, and Stidham chipped in another rushing TD as part of his 17 yards on nine attempts. Auburn held Georgia Southern to just 78 total yards, with the Eagles unable to get much of anything going against an active, aggressive Tigers’ defense.

Auburn did err in fumbling three times, including two from Stidham, but in a game it so thoroughly dominated the turnovers did not play much of a role. Tre Williams was a monster defensively with 10 tackles (6 solo), including two sacks and two tackles for loss. The Tigers had 12 total tackles for loss and six sacks in the game, as they basically put the clamps entirely on Eagles starting quarterback Shai Werts, who was able to complete just 4 of 8 including an interception to post a QBR of 1.5 (comical). Auburn is hoping for some measure of that success against a very tough Clemson Tigers team on its home field in Week 2.

Clemson began its season by beating up Kent State in a 56-3 trouncing. Much like Auburn, it shut down its opponent thoroughly. Kent State had, count it, ONE total passing yard and 119 via the rush, while falling to reach the end zone the entire game.

Clemson, conversely, did whatever it wanted with 312 passing yards and 353 rushing yards in the game. Kelly Bryant was dominant from the quarterback position in throwing 16 of 22 for 236 yards and rushing for another 77 yards on seven attempts. Clemson had four rushers with 50 yards or more in the game, paced by Travis Etienne’s 81 yards on eight carries.

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The Tigers managed six rushing TDs in the game and averaged 8.2 yards per attempt. Last year, Auburn held opponents to just 132.9 rushing yards per game, though, ranking No. 27 in the nation. The Auburn Tigers also were dominant overall defensively in allowing just 17.1 points per game to opponents, raking No. 7 nationally in scoring defense.

The defense returns eight starters, including three in the secondary and three linebackers, so much of that same stilling playmaking should be present again this year for Clemson. Overall, that tight defense should make the difference in this game, given that both teams are fairly evenly pitted offensively.

Clemson did lose three of its final four games last year, but it defeated Auburn 19-13 last season it the opener and this year should bring about the same result if all things go as oddsmakers anticipate, setting a line nearly exactly the same as last year’s margin of victory.

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