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The Auburn Tigers dominated the Spartans, 59-13 to move to 2-0 on the season. The Tigers were 31-point favorites over San Jose State and easily covered the spread despite having issues in their vertical passing game. The defense played very well except for 2 big plays allowed during the game as the front-7 had a solid game against the Spartans. The good news is that Auburn came out of the game without any major injuries with 12 days to prepare for their first road game of the season.

Auburn's front-7 played much better this week and it was good to see Kris Frost rebound from a shaky performance against the Razorbacks. Auburn's pass defense had a solid performance minus the 75-yard touchdown surrendered early in the game. San Jose State attempted 32 passes against the Tigers. Auburn recorded 4 sacks, 3 picks and 11 quarterback hurries. Quan Bray is off to a great start this season, averaging 28.7 yards per return through 2 games.

Cameron Artis-Payne and Corey Grant continued to play well for the second week in a row, establishing themselves as a great 1-2 punch from the RB position. Dating back to last season, the duo has combined for 1722-yards rushing on 219 carries for 17 touchdowns. This includes a whopping average of 7.86 yards per rush.

Inside the Numbers:

  • Auburn had 10 tackles for loss, while allowing only 2.
  • Auburn struggled with their vertical pass-offense, completing only 3 of 10 passes past 10-yards of the line of scrimmage for 59-yards.
  • The Auburn pass-offense was 3 of 9 passing on first down for 26-yards. Their 57.6 rating on first down was the 25th worst passing performance on first down in Auburn's last 273 games.
  • During Steve Spurrier's first 56 games at Florida, his offense averaged 451.6 yards per game on 6.07 yards per play, while scoring 35.3 PPG. Gus Malzahn's first 56 games at Auburn has netted 448.3 yards per game on 6.52 yards per play and 35.7 PPG.
  • Auburn targeted 8 different players in the passing game with D'haquille Williams leading the way, 5 times for 3 receptions.
  • Through 2 games the Auburn has converted 100% of their third-downs during the first quarter, 50% during the second, 60% during the third and 71.4% during the fourth quarter.
  • Auburn converted 7 of 8 third-down situations running the football against the Spartans.
  • Last week the Auburn defense failed to force any third and 10+ situations. This week against San Jose State, they forced 7 such situations, only allowing 1 conversion.
  • Auburn's third-down defense generated 2 picks and 3 sacks tonight.
  • Auburn's 3 interceptions against the Spartans was only the 5th time in the last 89 games, Auburn has picked 3 or more passes in one game.
  • Gus Malzahn has now fielded (43) 100-yard rushers during his 56 games at Auburn.
  • Through 2 games, 51.0% of Auburn's offensive snaps has resulted in 5-yards or more and the opponent had been held to 33.6%.
  • Through 2 games the Auburn defense has allowed 6.12 yards per play during the first half and only 3.13 yards during the second half.
  • Through 2 games the Auburn defense has held their opponent to 2-yards or less on 43.8% of their first-half snaps and 60.9% during the second-half.
  • Cameron Artis-Payne has 289-yards on 42 carries for 4 TD's through 2 games (6.9 YPC) Tre Mason had 172-yards on 29 carries for 2 TD's through 2 games in 2013 (5.9 YPC).
  • Earlier this week I expressed the need for Auburn's offense to have more opportunities to play on a short field. The Tigers had only 4 possessions beginning on the opponent's side of the field during their last 71 possessions prior to San Jose State. Auburn's offense was given 3 possessions beginning on the Spartan's side of the field and they cashed all three opportunities into touchdown drives.
  • 37 of the 62 combined carries by Corey Grant and Cameron-Artis Payne have netted at least 5-yards (59.6%). Last season Grant and Tre Mason hit at 53.3% through 2 games into the season.
  • Through 2 games Auburn's defense has allowed 4.35 yards per rush during the first-half and only 1.00 yards during the second-half.
  • Of Auburn's 14 scoring drives this season, 67.6% of the plays have been on the ground. Last season it was 74.0% for the entire season.
  • Last week against Arkansas, Auburn was 2 of 4 running the ball with only 2-yards needed to convert. This week against San Jose State, Auburn was 10 of 11.
  • Last week Auburn's front-7 totaled 25 tackles. This week they recorded 44.
  • Through 2 games Auburn has turned the ball over 3 times, resulting in zero points. Auburn's defense has forced 5 turnovers, resulting in 28 points for the Tigers.

Final Words:

Though it was disappointing to see the pass-offense struggle, it is way too early to panic at this point. Auburn's run-offense appears to be as strong as last season. Last season through 2 games the pass-offense had a pass-rating of 128.6. This season it has improved to 166.3 through 2 games. Sammie Coates being out of the lineup, likely set the pass-offense back against San Jose State. There is no doubt there is plenty of room for improvement but Auburn remains one of the most difficult offenses to defend in the country.

Once Auburn built a substantial lead against the Spartans, the team lost a little focus but that is to be expected when competing against a lesser opponent. The coaching staff will take full advantage of the extra prep-time to have the team ready for Kansas State in 12 days. Gus Malzahn has raised the fan's expectations of offense to a higher level. 400-yard and 30-point games are not enough, nor is 200-yards rushing. Through 56 games, his offense has averaged 256.7 yards rushing and 448.3 yards per game. This includes a pass-rating of 150.0 and 35.7 PPG. How wonderful it is to be spoiled.

The coaching staff is attempting to take the same approach they did last season, when it comes to taking it one game at a time with the goal of becoming better each week. The challenge becomes more difficult as the wins roll in and the opponent places a target on Auburn's back. We as fans and supporters of Auburn University might be wise to take the same approach. Enjoy each game and try not to stress over the little things. The team is still playing well overall and the coaches continue to obtain the most of their existing personnel.

War Eagle and Beat Kansas State!


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