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Preview capsule: No. 1 Alabama at No. 4 Auburn - abc27 WHTM

Preview capsule: No. 1 Alabama at No. 4 Auburn

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Matchup:  No. 1 Alabama (11-0, 7-0 SEC) at No. 4 Auburn (10-1, 6-1)

Time:  2:30 p.m.

TV:  CBS

Line:  Alabama by 10 1/2.

Last meeting:  Nov. 24, 2012 -- Alabama 49, Auburn 0 (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)

Series Record: Alabama leads 42-34-1.

WHAT'S AT STAKE

Bragging rights, the SEC West title and a spot in the league championship game are on the line. Alabama and Auburn are both also trying to keep their national title hopes alive in a state that has claimed the last four BCS championships.

KEY MATCHUP

Auburn's running game versus Alabama's run defense. The Tigers rank second nationally in rushing, averaging 320.3 yards on the ground with 37 touchdowns. Tre Mason is the SEC's No. 2 rusher and quarterback Nick Marshall ranks sixth and keeps defenses guessing with the zone read. Crimson Tide linebacker C.J. Mosley leads a run defense that is fifth in the nation, allowing 91.3 rushing yards per game with five touchdowns.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Alabama: QB AJ McCarron. The Heisman Trophy candidate doesn't post gaudy stats — except for the 36-2 career record. McCarron does have 23 touchdowns against five interceptions. He faces a defense that just yielded 415 passing yards to Georgia's Aaron Murray but has been effective at harassing quarterbacks. Alabama has allowed two sacks in the past 29 quarters.

Auburn: Marshall. Much of his production in the second half of the season has come on the ground, but Marshall is actually averaging more yards total offense in SEC games (277.7) than McCarron (244.9). All four of his 200-yard passing games have come against SEC defenses, and he will almost certainly have to have some success through the air in his toughest test yet.

FACTS & FIGURES

This is only the second top-five Iron Bowl matchup. No. 3 Alabama beat No. 5 Auburn 31-7 in 1971. The last time the teams had one combined loss or fewer was 1994 when Alabama was 10-0 and Auburn 9-0-1. ... The Tigers are the highest ranked opponent Alabama has faced in the regular season when ranked No. 1. The previous high was No. 5 LSU last season. ... Auburn is 3-8 against No. 1 teams and 1-2 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. ... Alabama hasn't given up an offensive touchdown in the last two meetings, winning 49-0 and 42-14 while allowing one special teams TD and a defensive score. ... This is the first season Auburn has played both Georgia and Alabama at home.

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