At one point during Auburn’s win over Mississippi State last week, Kerryon Johnson said he looked across the line of scrimmage and saw the Bulldogs defense playing with only 5 men in the box. Johnson said; “I haven’t seen that in the 3 years I’ve been here,”. “We aren’t seeing as many 8-man, 9-man, 7-man boxes as we’ve seen before.” Part of the reason is Auburn’s overhauled passing attack, which finished the 2016 season ranked 112th nationally, but so far ranks 73rd in 2017 averaging 222.6 yards. That number is even higher over the Tigers’ past 3 games, Jarrett Stidham has completed nearly 83 % of his passes for 846 yards & 3 touchdowns. Auburn has hit 9 passes of 30 or more yards in those 3 games alone. Last year, it hit just 17 all season. So far though, the opposing defense’s need to commit more resources to the pass hasn’t resulted in extra running room for Johnson and the rest of his backfield mates. Through 5 games this season, Auburn’s rushing attack ranks 37th nationally averaging 208.4 yards per game. The Tigers have never finished a season in the Gus Malzahn era ranked lower than 35th in rushing. Auburn’s hope going into the Ole Miss game and its 117th-ranked rush defense (229.3 yards per game) is that solidifying a veteran-laden offensive line group will help open more holes for Johnson and whoever is healthy enough to play behind him Malzahn said the Tigers will start the same offensive line against the Rebels that they did against the Bulldogs, which is Golson, Mike Horton, Casey Dunn, Braden Smith and Darius James from left to right. It’s Auburn’s third different starting unit through 5 games this season.
This week’s college football action features No. 8 TCU trying to remain undefeated when it hosts once-beaten West Virginia. Washington State quarterback Luke Falk seeks to cement his status as a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender and No. 13 Miami attempting to end Florida State’s recent Sunshine State dominance.
UNDATED (AP) — LSU travels to face No. 21 Florida in an SEC cross-division game that could answer questions about both teams. LSU coach Ed Orgeron really needs a win after two rough losses in three games. Florida is unbeaten in SEC play but hasn’t looked particularly impressive. In the Western Division, No. 1 Alabama goes on the road to face a one-loss Texas A&M team.
UNDATED (AP) — Texas A&M has sweated out two close Southeastern Conference wins. Alabama has barely broken a sweat at all in batting aside its first two league opponents. The top-ranked Crimson Tide visits Texas A&M Saturday @ 2:30. Alabama has opened SEC play by beating Vanderbilt and Ole Miss by a combined score of 125-3. Texas A&M has lost its last four meetings against the Tide.