Auburn football: 3 bold predictions all point to scoring more points

Jarrett Stidham completed 15-of-22 passes against Arkansas but not many throws were down field. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
Jarrett Stidham completed 15-of-22 passes against Arkansas but not many throws were down field. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images) /

The Auburn football team is at a fork in the road.

The direction it heads Saturday against Southern Miss will go a long way in determining the path it takes the rest of the season.

And yes, even though the Tigers are favored by 27 points against the Golden Eagles, their performance will say a lot about the future of Auburn football.

We thought that last week would be that moment, you know the moment when all things click and you sit back and start imaging the ways Auburn can and will beat Georgia and Alabama on the back end of the schedule.

Right now, that doesn’t seem likely. Does it?

That’s why the game Saturday is so important. Next week, Auburn travels to Starkville to play a Mississippi State team that will either have momentum after a win against its former coach (Dan Mullen) on Saturday or reeling from two consecutive losses.

Here’s this week’s edition of 3 bold predictions:

1. Jarrett Stidham will break out … really

Last week I predicted a big day for Jarrett Stidham. That did not happen. Not even close.

Stidham did have a 42-yard pass, but the ball barely traveled beyond the line of scrimmage as Anthony Schwartz did 99 percent of the work.

Those plays are nice, but Auburn can’t rely on them if it wants to compete with and beat the likes of Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Georgia and Alabama the rest of the season.

So, here we go again: Stidham will have a big day.

He has to. The Auburn offense is struggling. It needs to identify playmakers, get them the ball, pile up yards and points. If for no other reason than to build confidence.

A perfect day for Stidham would be 300 yards passing, at least a couple touchdown passes and no interceptions. It also includes multiple downfield strikes to Darius Slayton, Seth Williams and Schwartz.

In other words, get after it Gus.

2. More special teams fun

I hope you haven’t been leaving your couch when Auburn prepares to punt or receive a kick.

That’s when the fun begins for this team.

Ryan Davis and Noah Igbinoghene both have been dynamic. Igbinoghene went the distance last week and showed great speed. Davis has been oh-so-close to breaking a punt return. He’s been setting up the offense time and again with short fields. Don’t blink because either could score on a return at any time.

But it’s not limited to the return game.

Auburn also has become adept at getting after the punter. Auburn has blocked two kicks this season and just missed at least one other one. The play has worked to perfection and Jordyn Peters has filled the role of punt blocker.

Will Auburn do it again Saturday?

Stay tuned to find out.

3. Bottom line

So much is at stake with the offense this week. Auburn football fans are worried.

Why is it that the Auburn defense is very good. The special teams are very good. But somehow, a Gus Malzahn-coached team has a bad offense.

So this is the week. This has to be the week that Chip Lindsey and Gus figure it out. The offensive line blocks, the running backs run, the quarterback is on the mark and receivers catch it.

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We’re calling for 500 yards, 40-plus points.

Time is running out.