Despite giving up more than 400 total yards in each of the first two games, the Auburn Tigers‘ (2-0, 0-0) defense is stout when it needs to be. Following its 38-9 win over Arkansas State (1-1, 0-0) last week, Auburn’s defensive unit hasn’t allowed a touchdown since the second quarter against Washington State (1-1, 1-0) in Week 1. During that six-quarter stretch, the Tigers have only yielded five field goals.
In the Week 2 win, the Tigers also validated their ability to churn up yardage on the ground. Auburn topped its Week 1 rushing output (295 yards), racking up 301 rushing yards against the Red Wolves. That kind of production on the ground will make it a whole lot easier for quarterback Nick Marshall and his receivers to gel in the passing game, which is still a work in progress.
What this Auburn team has shown thus far in its defensive toughness in the red zone and ability to generate offense on the ground is reason for folks on The Plains to be optimistic, though not overly optimistic, at this point. Those two qualities will be critical to Auburn’s success in SEC play, which opens this week with Mississippi State (1-1, 0-0).
What to look for in Week 3: Can the Tigers breakthrough with a conference victory? Auburn enters the Mississippi State game as losers of 10-straight games against SEC opponents. Maybe playing a team from the Magnolia State is just what the doctor ordered, as the Tigers’ last win in conference came against Ole Miss, 41-23, on Oct. 29, 2011.