2013 MSU vs. 2013 Auburn
First off, The Auburn Tigers needed back-to-back miracle plays in the last two regular-season games to even be in a position to play in the SEC title game.
First, Auburn was down 38-37 against the Georgia Bulldogs facing a fourth-and-18 with 36 seconds to play. Quarterback Nick Marshall throws a deep ball into triple coverage when two of the Georgia defenders go after the ball but collide, tipping the ball into the air only for it to drop into Ricardo Louis’ hands and he ran in for the touchdown.
Just when you think that ending can’t be topped, Auburn won the Iron Bowl on the famous “Kick-Six” play against the Alabama Crimson Tide. But these things happened, and Auburn waltzed its way through the conference title game and was set into the national title game.
So, let’s establish why the 2013 Michigan State Spartans were a better team than at least one of the title game participants.
Auburn relied heavily on the run game, averaging a whopping 328.3 rush yards per game. However, the Spartans’ run defense was the best in the nation, only surrendering 86.3 rushing yards per game. If Auburn’s run game fails, their passing offense (173 yards per game/59 percent completion rate) isn’t enough to compensate against the Spartans’ top-three pass defense. Advantage: Michigan State
When the Spartans have the ball, they would have the right balance of rush yards (173 yards per game vs. Auburn’s 173.8 yards allowed) and passing yards (211.7 yards per game vs. Auburn’s 258.6 yards allowed). Take all the averages and MSU would gain about 403 total yards and 27 points while Auburn would gain 376 total yards and score 26 points based strictly on season averages. Advantage: Michigan State