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Texas A&M Football

SEC Round-Up: Piling up points, is Auburn a freight train or a fraud?

September 16, 2021
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Is Auburn a freight train or a fraud?

Certainly, the Tigers are rolling like a freight train. After two games they lead the nation in scoring and scoring defense. In consecutive victories, they’ve scored 122 points while allowing only 10.

However, Auburn’s victories have come over MAC-weakling Akron and FCS member Alabama State.

Akron last week lost to Temple 45-24. Alabama State opened the season with a 14-13 overtime victory over obscure Miles College.

Some might contend a 50-point victory is impressive regardless of competition. Except, consider that last season Akron fell to Western Michigan 58-13, Kent State 69-35 and Buffalo 56-7.

A one-win MAC team should get annihilated by a Southeastern Conference powerhouse.

That is if Auburn is a powerhouse.

That question figures to be answered on Saturday in Happy Valley, where Auburn travels to face No. 10 Penn State.

Auburn can expect a hostile environment, an intense opponent and its first legitimate test.

First-year coach Bryan Harsin said the Tigers must be resilient to have a chance to upset the Nittany Lions.

TexAgs
Auburn also leads the nation in point differential among FBS teams. 

“I think we’re building that right now,” Harsin said earlier this week. “That comes back to us. It’s every guy on this team just doing their job like they’re supposed to, doing it consistently, not forgetting the things that have already been emphasized.”

That’s easy to do against Akron and Alabama State. It’s a much tougher task when facing a Top Ten-ranked opponent on the road.

Of course, Auburn knows that. The Tigers have lost nine consecutive road games to Top Ten opponents.

Around the SEC

Who’s hot: Kentucky running back Christian Rodriguez is off to a fast start. He’s second in the nation in rushing with 332 yards. He rushed for 125 yards and a touchdown in a season-opening victory over ULM. He followed that up with 207 rushing yards and two touchdowns in a 45-28 victory over Missouri. Dating back to last season he has exceeded 100 rushing yards in five of his last six games.

Who’s not: LSU’s running game produced 126 yards last week… against McNeese State. In two games the Tigers have rushed for 175 yards. That would rank seventh in the SEC among individuals. Complicating matters, former five-star running back recruit John Emery has been ruled out for the remainder of the season. No official reason has been given, but according to reports he hasn’t earned hours to maintain eligibility.

Keep an eye on: Texas A&M quarterback Zach Calzada had an up-and-down showing as a replacement for injured starter Haynes King a week ago. Calzada struggled early but was effective in the fourth quarter in leading the Aggies to a game-winning touchdown. Now that he’s getting the majority of practice snaps and coach Jimbo Fisher’s full attention, Calzada figures to be better. He needs to be much better for the Aggies to have a chance to reach their ambitious goals for the season.

Now that he’s getting the majority of practice snaps and coach Jimbo Fisher’s full attention, Calzada figures to be better.

The pressure is on: Mississippi State’s secondary has had some problems. The Bulldogs gave up 268 passing yards in a 35-34 opening victory over Louisiana Tech. Then last week North Carolina State passed for 303. The Bulldogs get another major test against Memphis quarterback Seth Henigan this weekend. He’s passed for 682 yards and six touchdowns in two games. Those two games were against Nicholls State and Arkansas State, so the Bulldogs will be a dramatic step up in competition for him. But a successful day for Henigan might indicate Mississippi State’s pass defense is beyond repair.

Best matchup: No. 1 Alabama on the road against No. 11 Florida might be the best game in the nation. The inner competitor between the Gators running game and the Tide’s run defense is most intriguing and could determine the outcome. Florida is averaging 381.5 rushing yards with quarterbacks Anthony Richardson ranked second among SEC runners. Alabama, meanwhile, has been predictably sound against the run. The Tide allowed Miami just 88 rushing yards. Mercer was held to just 48.

Discussion from...

SEC Round-Up: Piling up points, is Auburn a freight train or a fraud?

4,662 Views | 3 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by A is A
TopoTacos
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AG
Thanks OB, great write-up as usual. Regarding Auburn, I'm just not going to be sold on Bo Nic until he shows it, even if the defense is probably pretty solid as it generally was under the previous staff.

The show down with the Nittany Lions might come down to which "this is finally the year" QB has actually taken a step forward.
W
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AG
this is Auburn's first road game at a Big Ten school since 1931
A is A
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AG
W said:

this is Auburn's first road game at a Big Ten school since 1931
wow. Now that is a stat! Let's hope they arent frauds and can put away penn state
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