Auburn falls to No. 31 in ESPN FPI following loss to New Mexico State

The Auburn Tigers are coming off one of the worst losses in program history on Saturday.

Hugh Freeze’s squad got blown out at home against New Mexico State, whom they were hoping would be a nice warm-up game before the impending Iron Bowl.

Auburn’s offense was non-existent in the loss. The running game only tallied 69 yards on the ground, while Payton Thorne and the passing attack weren’t able to surpass 200 yards once again.

The defense wasn’t great either, as New Mexico State quarterback Diego Pavia eclipsed 230 total yards and 3 touchdowns.

The loss un-shockingly shot the Tigers down the rankings in ESPN’s Football Power Index.

The FPI ranks each college football team by a variety of factors; Strength of record, strength of schedule, offensive efficiency, defensive efficiency, and overall efficiency.

Here is where Auburn ranks in each category ahead of the Iron Bowl at Jordan-Hare.

Overall Ranking: No. 31

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Syndication: The Montgomery Advertiser

Auburn came into last weekend with the chance to secure its first season over 6 wins since 2019.

The Tigers are now going to have to win as underdogs vs Alabama and/or claim victory in the bowl game to do that.

Considering the team has only won 2 bowl games since 2012. it’s looking like another mediocre season on the Plains.

Auburn’s loss to New Mexico State dropped the Tigers record to 6-5 overall (3-4 SEC).

They remain the eighth highest ranked team in the SEC, trailing AlabamaGeorgiaLSU, Ole MissTexas A&MTennessee, and Missouri.

Strength of Record: No. 41

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Syndication: The Montgomery Advertiser

The Tigers dropped a whopping 10 spots in the strength on record category after their loss, and it’s easy to see why.

New Mexico State is a solid program that has now collected 9 wins on the season.

The issue is, the Aggies best win other than Auburn is against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, who rank 85th in the FPI.

Auburn’s loss was terrible, but Payton Thorne and Co. have the chance to erase the stink if they can beat Alabama on Saturday.

Strength of Schedule: No. 21

Michael Chang/Getty Images
Michael Chang/Getty Images

New Mexico State plays in a sub-par Conference USA, so it is no surprise Auburn fell 8 spots in the “strength of schedule” category.

The Tigers also fell to the 7th best SEC team in this category.

Ole Miss, Florida, Arkansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, and LSU all rank in the top 10 overall.

Overall Efficiency: No. 31

Michael Chang/Getty Images
Michael Chang/Getty Images

It’s hard to improve in overall efficiency when you get out-gained by 201 yards.

Auburn was not good on Saturday, collecting 11 less first downs, running 20 less plays, and holding the ball for nearly 18 minutes less than New Mexico State.

The Tigers need to be much better against Alabama.

Offensive Efficiency: No. 82

John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Payton Thorne and the Auburn offense came into this game sizzling hot.

The Aggies dumped a pile of ice on the Tigers offense in this one.

Thorne threw for just 1 touchdown, running back Jarquez Hunter ran for just 27 yards after collecting 100+ in the previous three games, and Auburn put up just 10 points at home.

The Tigers converted on just 20% of third down attempts, failing to stay on the field for 20 minutes in the game.

Defensive Efficiency: No. 19

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Syndication: The Montgomery Advertiser

Auburn’s defense was not itself on Saturday, mainly because the unit was on the field for 2/3 of the game.

The Aggies collected 414 total yards, converting 6/12 on third down while averaging nearly 6 yards per play.

This Auburn defense is very good, but they cannot play to the best of their abilities when they are gassed.

Story originally appeared on Auburn Wire