The Auburn Tigers are due for a win, and Saturday could present the perfect opportunity to secure one.
The Auburn Tigers enter Saturday’s game against Mississippi State hoping to erase a four-game losing streak and win its first SEC game of the season. Auburn has had a tough streak to open the SEC slate by facing three ranked teams in four weeks. This week, the Tigers face a team that is more on their level and could use the opportunity to pull out a win.
Earlier this week, we broke down several ways that Auburn could drop its fifth game in a row. Today, we will examine all of the areas in which Auburn has an advantage over its counterparts from Starkville.
Here are five reasons that, if executed perfectly, Auburn will win on Saturday.
The Tigers take advantage of an offense without Will Rogers
Although a change in the offensive scheme has watered down his production compared to past seasons, Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers is still one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC. He suffered a shoulder injury in Oct. 7’s game against Western Michigan and was sidelined for last week’s game at Arkansas. His status for Saturday’s game is still unclear. The Bulldogs won, 7-3, but the Mississippi State offense only gained 205 total yards in the game. Rogers himself averages 255 yards passing per game.
Auburn’s defense has several key players who can expose the Bulldogs’ offense if Rogers does in fact not play.
The pass rush has a great day
Even with Rogers in the lineup, Mississippi State is weak when it comes to blocking for him. Rogers has been sacked 14 times this season and has been pressured 50 times. His backup, Mike Wright, has been pressured seven times in three appearances with one sack. Auburn’s defense has created 107 total pressures this season with 15 sacks. Jalen McLeod, Eugene Asante, and Marcus Harris all have at least ten pressures, with Keldric Faulk and Elijah McAllister not far behind.
Saturday could be a fun day for the front seven.
Mississippi struggles to find momentum within its run game
Mississippi State has two quality runners in running back Woody Marks and quarterback Mike Wright, however, they rarely experience clean runs. Marks has 500 total yards, with 316 coming after first contact. Wright has 206 yards rushing with 115 coming after contact. This could be another way to add to what could be an impressive day for Marcus Harris and the Auburn defensive front.
The quarterbacks will become more comfortable
For as good as Auburn’s pass rush has been this season, Mississippi State has suffered a different experience. Pro Football Focus has given the Bulldogs a pass rush grade of 61.0, and they have not graded above 66.7 in any game this season. For a team that is struggling to find momentum within the quarterback position, this could be a much simpler game for Auburn.
Auburn gets the offense going
If Auburn’s quarterbacks are comfortable on Saturday, it could translate to more points. Mississippi State allows 25.7 points per game while Auburn posts 26.7 points per game. It is a small gap, but the point is that Auburn has the opportunity to create more scoring opportunities in this game.