Big Game on the Plains
The biggest dilemma in 2018 for the Auburn Tigers was supposed to be their offensive line. The Tigers lost four of five full time starters from the 2017 squad. However, all of the starters on their line this season are redshirt juniors. All except one, Jack Driscoll, have been at Auburn since their freshmen seasons, which means this is their fourth season in the Auburn system. They are left tackle Prince Tega Wanogho, left guard Marquell Harrell, center Kaleb Kim, and right guard Mike Horton. Kim was the only one who had not started a game prior to the 2018 season. The line has performed well this year in Auburn's tempo offense.
After two games, the Tiger/Plainsmen/War Eagle rushing attack is led by two freshmen, JaTarvious Whitlow and Shaun Shivers, with 150 and 124 yards respectively. Both men have one touchdown. Junior Kam Martin is the third leading runner on the squad with 120 yards in two contests. Martin is also the fourth leading receiver on the team, and he can return punts and kickoffs. He had 83 yards on the ground against Washington.
The wide receivers are an experienced bunch. Senior Ryan Davis had 52 yards in receptions against Washington. Junior Darius Slayton had 41 yards in receptions
versus Washington. Junior Nate Craig-Myers had 38 yards in catches against the Huskies. Freshman Anthony Schwartz, a world class sprinter, had a 57 yard touchdown reception last
week against Alabama State. Fullback senior, or H-back Chandler Cox had 52 yards receiving against Washington.
The man who runs the Auburn offense is junior returning quarterback Jarrett Stidham. In the Washington contest, Stidham was 26 of 36 passing with 273 yards and two touchdowns. After
two games, Stidham has completed 68 percent of his passes for 386 yards and two touchdowns. He knows how to use anyone remotely capable of catching a football.
Auburn is a good defensive team. They are deep, especially along the defensive line. Against Washington, 15 players registered a defensive statistic. Sophomore defensive lineman Nick Coe had two tackles for losses (tfls)in game one against Washington. Senior defensive lineman Dontavious Russell had two tfls in the same contest. He is a returning starter from the 2017 season. Junior defensive lineman Derrick Brown is also a returning starter. Marlon Davidson and Big Kat Bryant are two good defensive ends
Senior linebacker Darrell Williams is a returning starter from last year. Middle linebacker Deshaun Davis is also a returning starter from last season.
In the Auburn secondary Jerimiah Dinson is a returning starter from the 2017 campaign. The secondary appears to be Auburn's weak link on defense. Yet, the Auburn front seven plays so well it gives the secondary great assistance.
The Purple and Gold have to be especially cautious because, with it being early in the season, the opponent may have other dangerous players yet to be revealed.
This game is important for both teams. An early league defeat does not end the season, but it puts extra pressure on the loser to win other league games to stay in the SEC West race. The contest is especially important for Auburn. While LSU plays Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Georgia, and Alabama at home, Auburn will have to face these teams on the road later in the season.