Auburn’s offense has been disappointing through the first two weeks of the season but with a strong showing against the Penn State Nittany Lions Saturday, all will be forgiven.
The Tigers are set to face Penn State in their first big test of the season and will do so as 3-point underdogs at home. However, the game is certainly winnable and it will likely come down to how Auburn’s offense performs against their defense.
The Tigers are averaging 33.0 points per game and a solid 7.12 yards per play. However, that came against Mercer and San Jose State, two programs that Auburn should have success moving the ball against. Meanwhile, the Nittany Lions have held their opponents to 20.5 points per game and 4.69 yards per play.
Here are five keys for Auburn’s offense against the Penn State defense.
Get Tank Bigsby going
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Auburn wants to run the ball and Bigsby is their best bet at doing so against a stout Penn State defense. The Nittany Lions are allowing 3.35 yards per carry through two games and will be the toughest test yet for the Auburn ground game.
Bigsby had great success against them last year, rushing for 102 yards and two touchdowns. He, and the rest of the running backs plus Robby Ashford, will need to have a good game for Auburn to have success offensively.
Look out for Joey Porter Jr.
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Derick Hall is Auburn’s best defender and Porter is Penn State’s. The corner has already broken up six passes, recovered a fumble, and made nine tackles. Auburn’s quarterbacks have struggled with protecting the ball this season throwing four interceptions to just one touchdown and they will need to be on the lookout for Porter, who will be looking to set up the Penn State offense with a turnover.
Get the ball to Ja'Varrius Johnson
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Auburn has had very limited success throwing the ball this season and that has to change Saturday for the Tigers to pull off the upset. Johnson is Auburn’s top receiver but has just seven receptions for 158 yards. He will probably have a tough matchup facing Porter, but Auburn will need to feed him Saturday and see if he can break off a big play.
Fire up Jordan-Hare Stadium
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Last year Penn State had a White Out and it certainly made an impact on the game. Auburn is hoping that their Orange Out counter will have just as big of an effect. This is the first big game in Jordan-Hare this season and if the offense can have some success then the crowd will certainly make an impact, just like they do for every game here.
With these two teams so evenly matched this could be the difference between Auburn winning and losing.