Kneauxing the Enemy
Record: 6-1 overall, 3-1 SEC
The Big Game before the Big Game
Auburn visits Tiger Stadium in a contest Saturday which is the biggest game to date, in the 2019 season.
The Tigers/Plainsmen/War Eagles have played three out of their last four games on the road. Three of those four games have been against SEC teams, and they have won two of three of those contests. At the conclusion of this contest Auburn will have their remaining four games at home.
Auburn has not been a good defensive team this season, but nor have they been bad. They give up over 300 yards of offense per game, 224.7 of it through the air. The Tigers/War Eagles/Plainsmen give up 6 yards per pass. However, in seven, games, they have yielded only 10 touchdowns through the air, an average of under two per game. On the ground, Auburn allows an average of 94.3 yards per contest.
The Tigers/War Eagle/Plainsmen defense has a penchant for playing well against capable opponents.
In the Oregon game, at a neutral site, which Auburn won, the defense had six tackles for losses (tfls), including three sacks. Senior defensive back Jeremiah Dinson had 13 tackles, eight solos, and three tfls including two sacks, in the battle. Dinson is the leading tackler on the team with 46, 32 unassisted.
In the Texas A&M contest, on the road, Auburn won, but they lost the battle of total yards by one hundred. Yet, the defense had seven tfls, including three sacks for the contest. Senior defensive tackle Derrick Brown had three tfls and two sacks for Auburn.
In the Florida game, on the road, which they lost, 24-13, the defense played perhaps its best game of the season garnering 11 tfls and four sacks. In this contest, sophomore linebacker Zakoby McClain had 10 tackles, four unassisted, and one tackle for a loss. Auburn gave up two big plays for scores which inevitably cost them the game.
Senior defensive end Marlon Davidson leads the team with 8.5 tfls and 5.5 sacks on the year. Davidson is second in the SEC in sacks. Junior linebacker K.J. Britt has six tackles for losses for the season.
The Auburn offensive line has five returning starters, all seniors. Four of five are redshirt seniors. The line is anchored by its left side where Prince Wanogho starts at left tackle and Marquell Harrell starts at left guard.
The primary runningback is senior Kam Martin, who became the starter after JaTarvious Whitlow was injured in the Florida game. Martin ran for 84 yards in 10 carries in the win last week versus Arkansas. Martin has rushed for 258 yards on the season, averaging 5.9 yard per carry. All Auburn rushers who have ran the football at least 25 times on the season, except freshman quarterback Bo Nix, have averaged at least five yards per carry.
Nix is the starting quarterback for the Plainsmen/War Eagles/Tigers. Nix has thrown for 185.6 yards per game with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. He is seventh in the SEC in passing. He has completed 56 percent of his passes this season. Nix has not been spectacular, but he has been steady, consistent enough for his team to be 6-1 with its first five of seven games on the road or at neutral sites.
Nix has good receivers if he can get the ball to them. Seth Williams, a sophomore, leads the team with 25 receptions for 458 yards this season. He has seven touchdown receptions. He averages 18 yards per reception. Sophomore Anthony Schwartz has 11 catches for 183 yards, averaging 16.7 yards per grab with one touchdown. Schwartz is also a fast, dangerous runner. Junior Eli Stove has 25 receptions for 191 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 9.6 yards per catch. Senior Will Hastings has 10 receptions for 162 yards and a score, averaging 16.2 per grab.
During the season the Auburn defense has done something to keep the team in the game. It has been a big sack, a forced turnover, or a tackle for a loss. It is not a smothering defense, but it keeps the team in position to win ball games.
The winner of this contest takes a big step closer to controlling its own destiny in the SEC West. As already mentioned, Auburn will return home for its final four games. The Purple and Gold will have two of its last four contests at home. The story continues.