Auburn Football: Defensive Line Stepped Up in Samford Win


A 31-7 win over Samford won’t impress too many people. After all, Auburn was a 38-point favorite against their Senior Day FCS opponent. But, the defensive performance was an encouraging sign.

In recent weeks, and basically since the game against Mississippi State in Starkville October 11, the Tigers have struggled on defense. The unit allowed 31 points or more to the Bulldogs, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Texas A&M and Georgia – the first time an Auburn football team has allowed 30-plus points in five consecutive games. Ever.

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“We have been playing real bad the last couple of games,” sophomore defensive lineman Montravius Adams said after the game. “I feel like the defensive line stepped up a little bit.”

The defensive line, which has received a lot of blame this season for the lack of a consistent pass rush, helped to limit the Bulldogs to just 238 yards of total offense, including only 113 rushing yards and a three yards per carry average. More importantly, though, they made the evening very uncomfortable for Samford quarterback Michael Eubank.

“The big factor was we put pressure on the quarterback,” Auburn football coach Gus Malzahn said. “That was the key to our defensive performance.”

Adams and Elijah Daniel also had sacks in the game, and the defense combined for 21 total quarterback hurries. Eubank completed 15 of 29 pass attempts for just 125 yards with one TD. The defense also forced two interceptions.

Adams led the defensive line with four tackles and two tackles for a loss. Daniel had a team-high six hurries while LaDarius Owens and Gimel President added three apiece. Gabe Wright and Devaroe Lawrence each had a tackle for a loss. Ben Bradley added two tackles and Angelo Blackson had two hurries. It was a total team effort from the front four.

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  • The defensive line performed well without DaVonte Lambert, the team’s leader this season with 3.5 sacks, who was injured on the first defensive snap of the game. No official word has surfaced yet about what specific injury Lambert suffered, but defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson isn’t very confident he will be available for the Iron Bowl.

    “I don’t know the details on all the stuff on the medical thing,” Johnson said Sunday. “Gus (Malzahn) will have to tell you Tuesday. He’s probably out this week, we don’t know for sure.”

    If Lambert is unable to play, Johnson said Adams and Wright are likely to have to play some defensive end against the Crimson Tide like they did earlier in the season. True freshman Raashed Kennion is also likely to see action.

    “Kennion came in the other night and got almost basically his baptism as far as getting to play some,” Johnson said. “Whether he’ll be up for this or not, I don’t know.”

    Lambert’s injury and the relatively easy victory over Samford allowed Kennion and other D-linemen to get extra snaps during last week’s game. That experience should come in handy this week against Alabama.

    They stepped up against Samford, but they’ll need to do so again to knock off the top ranked Crimson Tide.

    Next: The Five Greatest Auburn Iron Bowl Victories