Auburn Tigers Show Extreme Offensive Depth

By Tim Letcher
Shanna Lockwood, USA TODAY SPORTS
Shanna Lockwood, USA TODAY SPORTS

The Auburn Tigers showed on Saturday that their offense is not only potent, it’s deep.

Auburn started its backup quarterback, Jeremy Johnson, in Saturday’s SEC opener against the Arkansas Razorbacks. Despite missing last season’s starter Nick Marshall for the first half, the offensive attack of Gus Malzahn and his team did not miss a beat. Johnson was outstanding in his one half of play, hitting on 12-of-16 through the air for 243 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Marshall, who led the Tigers to the national championship game last season, played in the second half and led Auburn to a 45-21 win after the game was tied at 21 at the half.

But it’s not just depth at quarterback. There were questions in the offseason about whether Auburn would be able to run the ball as well this season as it did last season without running back Tre Mason. The simple answer is yes. Cameron Artis-Payne picked up where Mason left off, rushing for 178 yards and a touchdown.

Artis-Payne was joined in the running attack by speedster Corey Grant, who carried 10 times for 87 yards and a score, giving Malzahn and the Tigers depth in the backfield.

At wide receiver, seven Tigers caught passes in the game, led by Duke Williams, who caught nine passes for 154 yards and one touchdown.

Malzahn likes to have plenty of weapons in his up-tempo, no-huddle offense and it appears that this team may have even more options than it did last season, when the Tigers won the SEC title. That fact is scary for all future Auburn opponents.

Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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