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Friday, November 26, 2010

Running Iron Bowl pre-game blog post

You're looking LIVE at an empty Bryant-Denny Stadium, a little less than three hours before kickoff in the Iron Bowl.

Despite great weather yesterday, it's cold out. It's 44 degrees, according to weather.com, but feels like 38. Although it rained intermittently on the drive up from Auburn, there's no rain falling right now. The field looks in great shape, so I don't know if slipping will be an issue.

Have I mentioned it's cold? Well, it is. Open air press box too. But we'll tough it out. Follow along at Twitter for updates throughout the day.

And if you've got a spare minute, read today's game advance and a breakdown of the matchups.

And check back to this post periodically leading up to the game. I'll be updating it with any pertinent (and some non-pertinent) information.

Minutia -- who wants it? Coming at ya:
  • Alabama leads the all-time series 40-33-1. But Auburn is 6-1 all-time in Tuscaloosa.
  • Eighteen of the last 22 meetings have been decided by 10 points or less.
  • Auburn has not allowed a first-quarter touchdown to Alabama since 1996.
  • The Tigers are third nationally in rushing offense (307.9 ypg), fifth in scoring offense (42.8 ppg) and sixth in total offense (505.2 ypg).
  • QB Cam Newton leads the SEC and is ninth nationally in rushing (117.9 ypg) and is the only player in the country with five games of 170 yards or more.
  • Newton 20-20 watch: He has 21 passing touchdowns and 17 rushing.
  • RB Mike Dyer's 859 rushing yards are sixth-most nationally among freshmen.
  • LT Lee Ziemba will break the schools consecutive starts record by making his 50th career start today.
  • DT Nick Fairley leads the SEC and tied for eighth nationally with 18 tackles for a loss. It's tied for fourth-most in a season in school history.
  • Alabama is 8-2 against teams in the Associated Press top 10 in the last three seasons. Prior to its loss against South Carolina, the Tide had won nine straight against AP top 25 teams.
  • Bama has won 20 straight at Bryant-Denny Stadium, dating back to a 2007 loss to Louisiana-Monroe.
  • The Crimson Tide leads the SEC and is ranked third nationally in points allowed (12.8 ppg). Alabama has allowed only two offensive touchdowns at home this year.
  • Alabama has the No. 2 pass efficiency defense nationally (96.02). It has intercepted 21 passes, most in the country.
  • The Tide has allowed only four 100-yard rushers since head coach Nick Saban arrived in 2007.
  • WR Julio Jones is two catches shy of the school record for receptions in a season. He needs 115 yards for 1,000 this year.
  • One gambling note: Alabama is a four-point favorite at most places right now.
UPDATE, 12:02 p.m.: Well, Cam Newton is here, so rest easier Auburn fans. Alabama's musical choices for when Auburn took the field? "Take the Money and Run" by Steve Miller Band and "Son of a Preacher Man" by Dusty Springfield. There's no punches pulled in the Iron Bowl.

UPDATE, 12:32 p.m.: Another Newton note: as he was leaving the field with the other quarterbacks after the pre-game walkthough, some Alabama fans from the student section threw what appeared to be fake dollar bills near him. They fluttered to the ground as Newton walked by, a state trooper escort in tow.

UPDATE, 1:08 p.m.: No injury updates, but CB Neiko Thorpe doesn't have that huge brace on his left arm anymore. He's wearing short sleeves, in fact.

UPDATE, 1:14 p.m.: Here's the fake dollars that were thrown at Newton.

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