Record: 2-0 Overall
Auburn enters Tiger Stadium Saturday after barely escaping FCS foe Jacksonville State last weekend. The Tigers/Plainsmen/War Eagles have not looked particularly smooth on offense this season, at least not yet. The reason for this may be they lost eight offensive starters from last season. Auburn lost three starters on what was a good offensive line.
Running backs Cameron Artis-Payne and Corey Grant are gone. Nick Marshall, who could run the Auburn spread offense in his sleep, is gone. Sammie Coates, one of the best receivers in Auburn history, is gone. Reese Dismukes, who anchored the Auburn offensive line at center for four years, is gone.
Junior quarterback Jeremy Johnson, a big kid at 6’5, 240 pounds is the quarterback. Johnson has raw talent, but has not looked great this season. He is a drop back passer learning to run the spread offense. Caution: In the first game against Louisville, Johnson completed a pass to five different players. Last week he completed a pass to eight different players. Auburn loves to throw the ball to many receivers, and Johnson seems to be getting better at it.
The Tigers/Plainsmen/War Eagles have three senior wide receivers. They are Ricardo Louis, Melvin Ray, and D’haquille Williams. Louis is the leading receiver after two games with 130 yards and a touchdown. Louisiana native Williams is extremely dangerous, and is probably the most talented catcher of the bunch.
Sophomore Peyton Barber is the leading rusher for the Tigers/Plainsmen/War Eagles. He has rushed for over 100 yards in both Auburn games this season. He scored the winning touchdown last week. Like LSU, Auburn has good running backs. The four top running backs on their depth chart are either sophomores or freshmen. Another running back who saw a lot of playing time last year is Roc Thomas.
Auburn returns two offensive lineman from the squad last season. They are left tackle Shon Coleman and right tackle Avery Young, both juniors.
Auburn returns most of their starters on defense. Junior safety Johnathan Ford is the leader in the secondary. Ford led the team in tackles last season with 93 stops, 62 solos. He has 24 tackles, with 17 solos after his first two games this year.
The Tigers/Plainsmen/War Eagle linebackers, perhaps the focal point of the defense, return seniors Kris Frost and Casanova McKinzy, who had 87 and 91 overall tackles respectively last season. McKinzy has two sacks this season. Sophomore Tre Williams sees a lot of playing time at linebacker.
Senior defensive end DaVonte Lambert and junior defensive tackle Montravious Adams are returning starters on the Auburn defensive line. Sophomore Carl Lawson is a good pass rusher, but his health is questionable.
The Tiger/Plainsmen/War Eagle placekicker is sophomore Daniel Carlson. The Auburn punter is junior Kevin Phillips.
The Purple and Gold are catching Auburn at the right time (September) and in the right place (Tiger Stadium). LSU has to take advantage of it, because another key returnee for Auburn is head coach Gus Malzahn. This means Auburn will probably not be the same team later in the Fall, something that may be a problem for the rest of the SEC.