Kneauxing the Enemy 2021 Auburn
by Bryan Follins
Auburn is the next opponent for the Purple and Gold. This will be the first league contest for the War Eagles/Plainsmen/Tigers. Auburn won their first two games against Akron and Alabama State, two outclassed opponents. Then, in a game at Penn State, they played well, but lost. Last week, against an obviously outmanned opponent, Georgia State, they almost lost. It was their homecoming.
Auburn had some good pieces coming back to their squad for the 2021 season, or at least it seemed. Junior Bo Nix, who has started at quarterback for Auburn since his freshman season, has fallen out of favor with the War Eagles/Plainsmen/Tigers coaching brain trust. Nix was benched in last week’s homecoming contest in favor of LSU transfer, sophomore T.J. Finley, who came off the bench to lead Auburn to a 34-24 win, avoiding what would have been an embarrassing loss.
Note: Finley is yet another example of the new transfer rule in college, which allows players to transfer to other schools without sitting out for a year, provided it is their first transfer. Finley, like Nix was a much heralded player coming out of high school. He left LSU, looking for a school where he could get more playing time.
Sophomore Tank Bigsby, a returning starter from 2020, leads Auburn in rushing with 403 yards and four touchdowns. He averages 6.3 yards per carry, and is coming off a season low 60 rushing yards against Georgia State. Bigsby shares rushing duties with freshman Jarquez Hunter, who has rushed for 383 yards this year. Hunter averages 10.6 yards per carry.
The Auburn offensive line is anchored by redshirt senior returning starter Nick Brahms at center. The War Eagles/Plainsmen/Tigers have six other linemen besides Brahms with starting experience. All of them are redshirts, including senior starting tackles Austin Troxell and Broadarius Hamm.
The wide receiver corps for Auburn did not have much experience coming into the season. Sophomore Kobe Hudson and seniors Shedrick Jackson and John Samuel Shenker, are the top receivers after four games. Hudson has 197 yards in receptions, averaging 15.2 yards per catch. Jackson has 166 yards receiving, averaging 12.8 yards per grab. Hudson and Jackson have one touchdown catch each for the season.
The two top defenders for Auburn are linebackers Zakoby McClain and Chandler Wooten. The two seniors are the top tacklers so far this season. Wooten has 32 tackles, 17 solos, and McLain 23 stops, 13 unassisted. Junior Owen Pappoe also started at linebacker last season. In the LSU game last year, McClain and Pappoe were the two leading tacklers for the War Eagles/Plainsmen/Tigers.
Senior cornerback Roger McCreary was the third leading tackler in the LSU contest last year.
Senior edge rusher T.D. Moultry has six tackles for losses (tfls) this season, including three sacks.
Like LSU, Auburn has a good placekicker. His name is Anders Carlson.
Auburn, like the Purple and Gold, have practically a brand new coaching staff this year, including head coach Brian Harsin, former head man at Boise State.
So, one has to wonder if the football team may be going through an adjustment period. However, adjustment period or not, the cupboard is not bare at Auburn. They are not a bunch of chumps. The Purple and Gold should be prepared to play.
Copyright 2021 Bryan Follins