2011 Chick-fil-A Bowl Preview

Written by rocketman | December 31, 2011

2011 Chick-fil-A Bowl Preview

The ACC and SEC clash each year in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta.
This year, two teams that haven’t met in nearly 15 years will face off
when Virginia takes on 2010 national champion Auburn.

These teams have met just twice all-time, splitting contests in 1997 and 1998.

The latest Chick-fil-A Bowl odds show Auburn favored by 1 point and the total set for 49 points.


The Cavs were riding the momentum of four-straight wins to end their
regular season before Virginia Tech stopped them in their tracks with a
38-0 defeat in their regular-season finale. Virginia did earn a 5-3
record in conference play, and won games at Miami and at Florida State
as part of a 4-1 record away from home this season.

The Virignia defense ranks 32nd in the nation in points allowed (22
points per game) and surrenders 343 yards per game (215 passing, 128
rushing) while recording 19 sacks and forcing 21 turnovers one of which
was returned for a touchdown (Chase Minnifield, interception).

Steve Greer leads the defensive unit with 103 tackles (22 more than
anyone else), adding two sacks and one fumble recovery, while Matt
Conrath has three blocked kicks and two forced fumbles to go with two
sacks and 64 tackles. Rodney McLeod has four interceptions with 55
tackles and Cam Johnson has four sacks with two forced fumbles.

The Cavs haven’t had much success on offense, ranking 88th in the
country in scoring offense (23 ppg) while compiling 397 yards per game
(232 passing, 165 rushing). Michael Rocco has completed 60 percent of
his passes for 2,359 yards and 11 TDs with 11 interceptions. The
offensive line has allowed 15 sacks.

Perry Jones and Kevin Parks anchor the running game by combining for
1,544 yards and 13 touchdowns on 4.9 yards per carry. Kris Burd paces
the receiving corps with 60 receptions for 810 yards and one TD, while
Jones has 41 grabs for 416 yards and three scores.


Auburn started their national title defense at 4-1 on the season, but
alternated losses in their last seven games and ended the conference
season at just 4-4 in the SEC West after a 42-14 loss to Alabama. The
Tigers also went just 1-4 on the road this year, losing their last three
such games in a row.

Auburn ranks 80th nationally in points allowed (29 ppg) and allows
406 yards per game (211 passing, 195 rushing) while recording 21 sacks
and forcing 21 turnovers with three returned for TDs (Demetruce McNeal
and Jermaine Whitehead, interceptions; Kenneth Carter, fumble).

Daren Bates leads the defense with 96 tackles, while Neiko Thorpe has
94 stops to go with a team-high three interceptions. Corey Lemonier has
team-highs of 9.5 sacks and five forced fumbles, while Eltoro Freeman
has two fumble recoveries and a pair of forced fumbles.

On offense, the Tigers rank 82nd nationally in points scored (24 ppg)
while compiling 328 yards per game (175 rushing, 153 passing). Michael
Dyer and Onterio McCalebb anchor the running game with 1,774 yards and
14 touchdowns on 5.1 yards per carry.

Barrett Trotter and Clint Moseley have combined to complete 58
percent of their passes for 1,803 yards and 15 TDs with nine
interceptions. The offensive line has allowed 31 sacks. McCalebb and
Emory Blake are the top pass-catchers with 60 combined receptions for
796 yards and six scores.

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