Countdown to kickoff: No. 2 Clemson at Auburn


Clemson kicks off the 2016 football season at Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday. The Tigers enter the game ranked No. 2 in the country, the highest preseason-ranking in the program’s history.

This is the second time in the last three years Clemson has opened a season with a true road game, the first time that has happened since opening up with back-to-back road openers in 1968 and ’69.

The game is scheduled to kickoff at 9 p.m. (EST) and will be televised by ESPN.

About Auburn: Auburn is 95-26-2 (.780) all-time in season openers. It has won nine of its last 10 and is 3-0 under head coach Gus Malzahn. Auburn’s 95 wins to open a season is second only to Alabama’s 97 in SEC history.

Auburn’s offense: Sean White will get the start at quarterback for the home Tigers, but expect to see Jeremy Johnson and John Franklin III get into the game at some point as well. Though he struggled some last season, White was the first Auburn quarterback since Dameyune Craig in 1997 to throw for 250 or more yards in three consecutive games.

Auburn’s defense: Auburn returns one of the best defensive lines in the SEC. It is led by defensive end Carl Lawson and defensive tackle Montravius Adams, who has 107 career tackles. At least seven different defensive backs had an interception for Auburn last year. However, opponents averaged 220 yards per game through the air and completed 60 percent of their passes. Kevin Steele, the defensive coordinator at Clemson from 2009-’11, is now the new DC at Auburn, its third defensive coordinator in four years.

Series record: Auburn leads 34-13-2

First meeting: Auburn won 34-0 at Auburn in 1899

Last Meeting: Clemson won 26-19 in 2012 (Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic)

Last Auburn win: at Auburn in 2010, 27-24, in overtime

Streak: Clemson has won two straight in the series

Stat worth noting: Clemson has not won at Auburn since 1950, a 41-0 Clemson victory. Clemson went onto the Orange Bowl that year and beat Miami to finish the season 9-0-1.

Second stat worth noting: Clemson is 9-13-2 all-time when opening a season with a true-road game.

Third stat worth noting: Clemson has not won a true-road game since 1985 … a 20-17 victory at Virginia Tech. David Treadwell made a 36-yard field goal with no time on the clock after he missed from 41 yards. Virginia Tech was called for running into the kicker on the missed kick and Treadwell was true on his second opportunity to win the game.

Third stat worth noting: Clemson is just 2-9-1 in its last 12 true-road games to open a season. The Tigers have lost three straight dating back to 1996 and five of their last six since 1974.

Here is another stat: Clemson’s No. 2 ranking in the Associated Press Poll matches Maryland’s from 1952 as Auburn’s highest-ranked regular season non-conference opponent since the AP Poll started in 1936. Clemson also ties Maryland as Auburn’s highest ranked opening game opponent in program history.

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