War Eagle Extra

Auburn football: Closer look at today's game against South Carolina

No. 12 South Carolina (3-0, 1-0 SEC) at No. 17 Auburn (3-0, 1-0 SEC), 7:45 p.m. (ESPN/ESPN 3D)

Line: Auburn by 3.

Series Record: Auburn leads 6-1-1

What’s at Stake

Legitimacy for both teams. South Carolina hasn’t started 4-0 since 2001 and could establish itself as an SEC East contender with a win. Auburn coach Gene Chizik is 1-2 against ranked opponents in his time with the Tigers. After squeaking by Mississippi State and Clemson, this is a chance for Auburn to prove it’s for real.

Key Matchup

Irresistible force meets immovable object. Auburn leads the SEC with 259.3 rushing yards per game. South Carolina leads the league by allowing 59.7 rushing yards per game. Something has to give in this one.

Players to Watch

South Carolina: WR Alshon Jeffery has an SEC-high 19 receptions for 306 yards. If Auburn focuses most of its attention on RB sensation Marcus Lattimore, it could open space for him downfield.

Auburn: LB Craig Stevens was rusty in his return from a two-game suspension to start the year. The Tigers need him to be sharp to limit Lattimore in the running game.

Facts & Figures

The teams last met in 2006, when Auburn came out of Columbia, S.C., with a 24-17 win. … The Tigers and Gamecocks have met only four times since S.C. joined the conference in 1992. Auburn has won all four meetings. … This is the first time under Chizik’s watch that Auburn and its opponent will be ranked heading into a matchup. … The Tigers are 21-4 in home night games since 2000. … The game features four of the SEC’s top-10 rushers: Lattimore (111.0 ypg, second), followed by Auburn QB Cam Newton (103.0, fifth), RB Onterio McCalebb (75.0, eighth) and RB Mike Dyer (70.7, 10th). … South Carolina will wear No. 11 helmet decals in memory of its all-time leading receiver, Kenny McKinley, who committed suicide earlier this week.

— Andy Bitter