Coming off a national runner-up campaign, the Auburn Tigers are looking to repeat as SEC champs and make their way to the first annual College Football Playoff. Auburn picked up where it left off in 2013 as it completely dismantled the Arkansas Razorbacks in week one, erasing any doubt of a post-national title game letdown.
Auburn wasn’t the only team in this matchup who put a whooping on their opponent as the San Jose State Spartans thrashed North Dakota 42-10 at home. The Spartans got ahead early and never looked back as the game wasn’t even close at halftime. They must get an early lead on Auburn if they hope to have the same type of luck in week two.
With Heisman hopes riding on the 2014 season, Nick Marshall‘s short-term suspension was a crucial blow to his chances — even this early in the season. However, the talented quarterback returned to action and completed four of six passes for 50 yards to go along with a 19-yard touchdown run. Jeremy Johnson did a stellar job filling in for Marshall as he finished the game with 243 yards and two touchdowns on 12-16 passing. Junior college transfer D’haquille Williams was the target of choice for the quarterbacks as he caught nine passes for 154 yards and a touchdown. Cameron Artis-Payne had a significant impact in the run game as he finished with 177 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries.
Senior first-year starter Blake Jurich had himself quite the game in week one as he was nearly flawless in the blowout win over North Dakota. Jurich was an impressive 22 for 25 for 250 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions to blemish his stat line. Tyler Winston proved to be the senior’s favorite target as he finished the game with 10 receptions for 96 yards and two of the three touchdown catches. Hansell Wilson also contributed greatly to the passing attack as he had four catches for 85 yards. The rushing attack wasn’t nearly as impressive as Thomas Tucker led all running backs with 81 yards and no scores on 20 carries.
Defensively, the Spartans did a nice job holding North Dakota in check in week one. San Jose State allowed just 244 yards of total offense while also holding its opponent to just 10 points while forcing two turnovers. Auburn held Arkansas to just 328 total yards while the Tigers held the stellar Arkansas running game to an average 153-yard performance. The Tigers did a solid job of shutting down the Razorbacks’ strength and will likely do the same to the less-talented Spartans.
San Jose State will travel to Auburn to take on the Tigers at 7 p.m. EST on Saturday, Sept. 6. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN 2 and ESPNU.
PREDICTION: San Jose State 16, Auburn 41
Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.