Auburn vs. Missouri Preview. The last time Auburn played in Jordan-Hare Stadium, they had one of their worst performances in a decade. How can Auburn move past that and concentrate on SEC play?
Post-Penn State Loss
After losing to Penn State by 29 points, I can imagine the last few days have been difficult for this Auburn team. The best teams can overcome challenges and criticism, and this Auburn team is currently dealing with a lot of both. Auburn’s historic loss to the Nittany Lions will be difficult to forget. They must disregard that performance and proceed to conference play. Moving forward and maintaining optimism for SEC play is the best course of action for Harsin and company. Auburn’s defense played awful against the Nittany Lions, and it should be a humbling experience for the Tigers’ defense moving forward. It should be interesting to see how much perseverance this team possesses.
Auburn Offense vs. Missouri
TJ Finley is rumored to be out for this game, but Bryan Harsin hasn’t confirmed that. When asked about Finley’s availability on Saturday against Missouri, Harsin said in his weekly press conference that “all those guys are practicing.” With a victory over Auburn’s first SEC opponent, the coaching staff at Auburn has a chance to regain some respect after receiving a lot of hate and criticism. If Finley gets ruled out, Auburn will only have two scholarship quarterbacks available for Saturday’s game against Missouri. Zach Calzada’s non-throwing shoulder will undergo season-ending surgery. Holden Geriner and Robby Ashford are the only scholarship quarterbacks active this weekend. This weekend, Auburn must prioritize its running game. If Tank Bigsby does not receive double-digit carries, this team will fail. The coaching staff has to abandon the failing pass experiment because this is a run-first team.
Auburn Defense vs. Missouri
Last week, the defense ran out of the stadium. A very dreadful performance from the front seven. The running backs and offensive line of the Nittany Lions bullied them outright. The best coaches are adept at making changes. Can Jeff Schmedding and Bryan Harsin successfully adjust to succeed? It didn’t appear to they could in the second half of last week, but we’ll have to wait and see how they respond to the humiliation. On the Missouri offense, Luther Burden is the player to keep an eye on. He is a dynamic playmaker who last season for Missouri performed a similar role to former Tiger Tyler Badie.
What to Watch For
After being humiliated the previous week, Auburn will be desperate to defeat the SEC East opponent. I imagine Harsin wants to perform in a way that would change the way his spectators currently perceive him. I think Robby Ashford will start due to Finley’s shoulder issue, and I think the run offense will be in full effect on Saturday. If it’s not, the fan base will call for Harsin’s job. Jordan-Hare Stadium won’t be packed at 11 a.m. and probably won’t have as much energy. Therefore, I don’t believe that home-field advantage exists in this game. Both Auburn and Missouri are facing crucial matchups for their respective head coaches. I believe Harsin needs it a bit more and ought to win. He will not make it to the bye week if he loses on Saturday.
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