Alright, we eventually have to get over the loss to the Wildcats. There are still more goals for the season, and we control our destiny for all of our goals except the National Championship, for which we need a little help. But it all starts with winning the rest of our games, and if we play well we can certainly win the rest of them.
We start with Auburn in a Tiger Stadium night game. Auburn has been a bit schizophrenic this year, starting out the season almost completely unable to move the ball. Through their first 3 games, they averaged 301 yards per game. Starting with the big win against Florida, they have averaged more like 340 yards per game and have substantially outgained their opponents each week.
Beating Auburn starts with being able to move the ball against their quick, undersized defense. I know that Auburn had some significant injuries on their defense, but I do not know if those guys are going to return for this game or not. If not, that certainly makes things easier, but probably no easier than it should have been against Kentucky.
Offensively, Auburn throws a "balanced" attacked at you. It's balanced in the sense that neither the running phase nor the passing phase has been particularly great, but things have definitely picked up for them lately. You could say it comes from the return of starting tailback Brad Lester, but he's not exactly tearing it up out there, averaging less than 5.0 yards per carry. Perhaps he is causing defenses to key on him, and he's opening up the passing game, which has also looked a lot more effective lately.
Early in the season, Auburn fans were calling for the benching of Brandon Cox, but he's been effective lately. They've found a receiver in Rod Smith, and they throw to backs out of the backfield at times. And yes, like other teams, they run a 2-quarterback system, with an experienced passer and a less experienced runner coming in at times.
I think we should beat Auburn, as long as we play competent football. I don't think we played competent football last week. We need to avoid dumb penalties, catch catchable balls, and avoid turnovers. If we can do those things, I think we win this game. If we have another week where big plays are overturned based on penalties or where we drop a ton of passes, it's going to be another long week.