2. Run game has a banner day.
If Auburn is going to make this game competitive, it’s going to be because the running game chews up the clock, shortens the game, and forces the Tide defense to load the box. The Tigers have the pieces to do that.
The Tigers won’t have a 1,000-yard rusher in the regular season, a stat that was once a guarantee for this program, but they have an extremely talented committee of backs they can throw at Alabama.
Auburn has four tailbacks that have carried the ball at least 30 times this year. Jarquez Hunter is averaging 5.8 yards per carry, Brian Battie 4.5, Damari Alston 4.7, and Jeremiah Cobb 5.6. Led by Hunter, this is a group that will be fresh for 60 minutes.
Thorne, despite his lackluster play overall, has been a part of a bigger, dynamic rushing attack. He adds the threat of the quarterback run, and while he’s no Cam Newton or Nick Marshall, he has shown the ability to gash defenses when things are rolling.
The quarterback won’t be Alabama singlehandedly with his arm. If the run game, as mentioned, keeps the defense honest and loading the box, it will open up some easier throws downfield for Thorne. He won’t slice the Tide apart with precision passing, but the run game could create some big passing plays, especially if Rivaldo Fairweather is healthy.