Auburn Offense vs Kansas State: Position Grades

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Sep 18, 2014; Manhattan, KS, USA; Auburn Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn looks at the scoreboard during a 20-14 win against the Kansas State Wildcats at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Simply put, no Auburn offense has scored fewer points in a game with Gus Malzahn as the head coach than the Tigers did Thursday night in Manhattan, Kansas. The performance was good enough to escape with a 20-14 victory, but everyone associated with the Auburn football program should probably send a thank you note to Kansas State kicker Jack Cantele (who missed all three of his field goal attempts) and All-American receiver Tyler Lockett (who dropped an easy touchdown pass that turned into an Auburn interception).

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The Tigers gained 359 yards of total offense. In the two weeks prior to the Thursday night matchup with K-State, Auburn had averaged 330 rushing yards. But, the Wildcats did a better job of stopping that high-powered rushing attack than anyone else had in the team’s last 13 games. In all, the Tigers ran for only 128 yards on 45 carries for an average of 2.8 per carry.

The Auburn offense got off to a slow start – particularly on third downs. The Tigers failed to convert any of their first five opportunities to move the sticks on third down, partly because they had trouble gaining adequate yards on first and second down early in the game. That inefficiency affected the ability to operate at the up pace tempo Malzahn prefers.

Again, the offense was good enough to earn a 20-14 win. That win came on the road in front of a loud crowd in a hostile environment. But, there are obviously some concerns.

As we do following every game, we take a position-by-position look at the Auburn offense and grade each unit. Needless to say, the grades won’t be as high in Week 4 as they were against Arkansas and San Jose State.