College Football News Preview 2020: Auburn Tigers Keys To The Season
Biggest Key To The Auburn Tigers Offense
The passing game has to be more consistent and more effective. Last year was fine – the offense had to break in Bo Nix as a true freshman – but there has to be a payoff after going through the growing pains.
The criticism could start flowing if Jarrett Stidham really does turn into a good replacement for Tom Brady. The Auburn O didn’t exactly turn the presumptive New England starter loose over his final two seasons as Gus Malzahn’s quarterback.
There’s no complaining with how the sausage was made in the 2017 run to an appearance in the SEC championship with Stidham at the helm, however, since beating Kansas State early in the 2014 season, Auburn was 1-15 when before last year when hitting fewer than 57% of its passes.
Auburn was 3-2 last season when Nix was under 52%, but the team played with fire and survived in wins over Oregon and Alabama. On the flip side, Auburn was 5-0 when Nix hit 65% or better.
Biggest Key To The Auburn Tigers Defense
Find a pass rush again. The Tiger defense was great at getting behind the line and was able to manufacture pressure from all sides, but hitting the quarterback late in the season was a problem.
AU generated 23 sacks in the first eight dates, and in the last five came up with three against Samford and a total of two in the other four games. In 2018 the Tigers steadily came up with 38 sacks after cranking out 37 in 2017.
Against Power Five programs, going back to 2014 Auburn is 6-18 in its last 24 games when it generated one sack or was shutout. Now the D has to find more pass rushers with no one back who came up with more than three sacks last year.
Key Auburn Tigers Player To A Successful Season
RB Cartavious Bigsby, Fr.
Several players belong in this category. The season goes as Bo Nix goes and several offensive and defensive linemen have to rise up, but if Tank Bigsby can be close to what he’s expected to be right away, the Tiger offense could be a killer.
Several running backs are in place to come up with a decent rotation, but Bigsby has the talent and upside to stand out from the pack. One of the nation’s top overall recruits, he’s a tough 6-0, 209-pounder with home run hitting speed. He’ll get every shot to be the No. 1 guy.
Key Game To The Auburn Tigers Season
LSU, Nov. 21
Outside of the trip to Georgia – an interdivisional game – Auburn should be the favorite nine of the first ten games and should be no worse in 9-1 if everything goes perfectly. At worst, if this is going to be a good season, AU should be 8-2. The West title might come down to the final two games with a trip up the road to Alabama to finish things up, and with LSU before it.
Auburn has beaten Bama in two of the last three years, but it lost three in a row, and four of the last five, to LSU. The two Tigers from the West have put together four straight thrillers – all decided by five points or fewer – and this one should be another.
– Auburn Tigers Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
2019 Auburn Fun Stats
– 3rd Down Conversions: Auburn 77-of-190 (41%) – Opponents 58-194 (30%)
– 1st Quarter Scoring: Auburn 102 – Opponents 53
– Red Zone Scores: Auburn 47-of-52 (90%) – Opponents 28-of-39 (72%)