AUBURN | Mercer isn’t expected to give No. 15 Auburn much of a game Saturday, but don’t tell that to center Austin Golson.
The senior was part of an offensive line that allowed 11 sacks to Clemson last Saturday and is tied for 129th nationally in sacks allowed.
“We just have to go out there and make a statement,” Golson said. “We know we’re a talented offensive line. We know we can be really good. I think we are really good. We played the defending national champions and they have a really good defense, but that’s not an excuse. We do have to get a lot better if we want to achieve our goals.”
Those goals include competing for the SEC Championship and a spot in the four-team college football playoff.
“We had some issues, obviously, but I think it was the offense as a whole. It wasn’t just the o-line or the quarterbacks or the running backs or the receivers, we all had a part in it,” Golson said. “We just have to put that behind us and move on. Our goals are still intact, we just have to find a way to get better offensively.”
With 25 college starts, Golson is one of Auburn’s most experienced players. He has two seniors playing on the right side of the offensive line but two sophomores on the left side in Prince Tega Wanogho and Mike Horton.
“I just tell them to keep pushing because it’s going to eventually unfold and it’s eventually going to bust out and we’re going to have to some really good offensive execution,” Golson said. “Prince and Mike, they’re both young but they’re both two of the talented guys we have on our team. They care about football a lot. I think they’re going to get with us older guys and get ready to roll.”
It’s unclear how much Auburn will throw against the Bears, which have just two sacks this season. But the Tigers definitely want to avoid giving up anymore sacks or adding to their 22 tackles-for-loss allowed, which ranks 126th nationally.
“That’s just going to give us an extra chip on our shoulder to go out there and execute at a higher level,” Golson said.
Kickoff at Jordan-Hare Stadium is set for 3 p.m. CT on SEC Network alternate.