Auburn Defense and Special Teams vs Kansas State: Position Grades

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Sep 18, 2014; Manhattan, KS, USA; Kansas State Wildcats quarterback Jake Waters (15) drops back to pass during a 20-14 loss to the Auburn Tigers at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive Line

One of Johnson’s biggest concerns from Thursday’s performance was the lack of a pass rush from the defensive line. The Tigers sacked Jake Waters three times on Thursday, but only DaVonte Lambert found the quarterback among players from the defensive front four.

“We’re kind of the opposite of what we were last year,” Johnson said. “We weren’t good at the run, and then on third down, we could get to the quarterback. This year, we’ve been good against the run, especially the interior guys.”

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  • Those interior guys, including Ben Bradley, Angelo Blackson and on occasion, Gabe Wright, don’t always rack up impressive statistics. In fact, the three recorded one tackle apiece against the Wildcats. However, they did a terrific job controlling their gap responsibilities and allowing the linebackers and defensive backs to make tackles. Fellow interior defensive lineman Montravius Adams had three tackles.

    In all, Kansas State had just 40 rushing yards on the night on 30 attempts – a 1.3 yards per carry average. Jake Waters, who ran for 138 yards against Iowa State in K-State’s previous game, couldn’t even reach positive numbers against Auburn. When factoring in the three sacks, Waters finished with -7 rushing yards on 11 attempts.

    The running backs didn’t fare much better. While each found the end zone in the game, Demarcus Robinson and Charles Jones ran for a combined 47 yards on 19 carries – good for only 2.47 yards per touch.

    “I thought Kansas State was, overall, the most complete team and it was a tough environment to go over there and have to play,” Johnson said. “It’d be hard to say it was definitely the best game but I think we played on a level we had to against a really good opponent.”

    The play of the defensive line helped elevate the performance of the entire defense. It doesn’t always show up in the box score, but Auburn’s defensive line was a big reason the Wildcats struggled to put points on the board.

    Grade: A-