Auburn football: Wish list of what we want to see from Tigers in Week 2

Auburn connected on three field goals against Washington. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Auburn connected on three field goals against Washington. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The Auburn football is coming off a significant victory and plays an FCS opponent Saturday in Jordan-Hare Stadium.

The last time Auburn faced an FCS team (Mercer last season), the results were not pretty.

The Tigers beat the Bears in Week 3, one week after a horrific offensive performance in a loss to Clemson. The game against Mercer wasn’t a whole lot better.

Auburn won, 24-10, and here were the offensive “highlights”:

  • 146 rushing yards on 43 carries — or 3.3 yards per carry.
  • Auburn fumbled five times and lost four of them.
  • Auburn led 7-3 until Daniel Carlson kicked a field goal with 29 seconds left in the first half to make it 10-3 at the break.
  • Jarrett Stidham was near perfect, completing 32-of-37 passes for 364 yards, but without a TD pass and with one interception.

It was not the recover-and-build game Auburn was looking for (although the Tigers rebounded nicely to score 100 points combined in their next two games against SEC opponents).

The Auburn football team is coming off a much better offensive performance last week than it was the week before the Mercer game in 2017.

Must Read. Biggest areas of concern for Auburn after Week 1 victory. light

An offensive extravaganza is expected. Alabama State won its first game last week (26-20 over Tuskegee in OT), but allowed 273 yards on the ground and 209 passing (482 total, 7.3 yards per play).

With that in mind, here are 10 things we want to see out of the Auburn football team Saturday:

1. Two 100-yard rushers

Seeing Tuskegee go for 273 on the ground vs. Alabama State last week is a sign that Chip Lindsey likely will go ground heavy early. Expect Kam Martin and JaTarvious Whitlow to both hit double-figure carries in the first half. Maybe both reach 100 yards or one does plus someone else (Asa Martin or Shaun Shivers) in the second half.

2. Jarrett Stidham is one and done

Give Jarrett Stidham his snaps, but get him out after the first half. Of course, that requires Auburn putting points on the board. At worst, Stidham comes out for the first possession of the third quarter and calls it a night.

3. Let’s see the speed

We’ve been waiting for it: Give Anthony Schwartz the ball. Please. On the the jet sweep, a wheel route, a go route. Anything.

4. QB No. 2 and QB No. 3

You can’t help but sit on the edge of your seat when Malik Willis is playing quarterback. The Nick Marshall-like abilities are uncanny. It would be great to see him get a full quarter or so of action. Then, is Joey Gatewood OK? If so, letting him test the waters would be a wonderful way to take advantage of the new redshirt rule. If he’s unable to go, what about Cord Sandberg?

5. Chandler Cox TD

The senior H-back has done it all during his Auburn football career. He threw some serious blocks against Washington and came up with several big catches. He has one career TD — time to double that total.

6. Every freshman receiver

Matthew Hill hauled in two receptions last week. We already mentioned Schwartz. It’s time to get Shedrick Jackson and Seth Williams in on the action, too.

7. Defense pitches a shutout

The last time Auburn shut out an opponent was 2016 when it routed Alabama A&M, 55-0. The Tigers only allowed 130 yards that game. Even with the backups getting plenty of playing time, that should be the goal.

8. Defense allows less than 50 rushing yards

Take the run game away and make them throw the ball.

9. Five or fewer penalties

After the Week 1 12-penalty outing, it’s time to get rid of the silly mistakes (offsides) and eliminate the bigger problems (personal foul, pass interference). Expect the coaches to emphasize discipline this week and not tolerate that many penalties.

10. Keep winning the turnover battle

Auburn created two turnovers against Washington and didn’t turn the ball over once. That’s a recipe for success and can help overcome other shortcomings. It starts with penetration and if the defensive front can get to pressure the quarterback and force uncomfortable throws, we’d love to see the defensive backs pick off multiple passes.

dark. Next. Handing out Week 1 grades for Auburn Tigers

Yes, that’s quite the wish list, but not out of the question. Auburn will be heavy favorites. But what we really want to see is the Tigers build a big first-half lead, cruise to victory and stay healthy in front of the Sept. 15 SEC showdown with LSU.