Auburn Football: Review of Road Loss to South Carolina

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Auburn football cannot seem to get its feet off the ground in 2020. The Tigers played decent against Kentucky. They were out-yarded but forced three turnovers, which ended up being the difference in the game. Auburn was dominated by the Georgia Bulldogs the next week. They looked rough at home against Arkansas winning by two, and the Razorbacks probably should have won the game. The Tigers finally moved the ball consistently last week against South Carolina. Three interceptions thrown by Bo Nix were the demise of a possible 3-1 start.

Now, Auburn is 2-2. It could just as easily be 3-1, 1-3 or even 0-4. It has been a rough start for the Tigers in what has been an incredibly unpredictable SEC season. The only certainties are Georgia and Alabama being favorites in their respective divisions.

No matter, this season chugs along. Only six games remain on the Tigers schedule. They will most likely be favored in four of those six games, but that really means nothing in 2020.

Moving along, let us look at what when right and wrong on Saturday in Columbia, South Carolina.

The Good

The Offense: Outside of the three interceptions, Auburn’s offense ran 83 plays, tallied 209 rushing yards and threw for 272 yards. That is 481 total yards, the most from the Tigers in 2020. They averaged 5.8 yards per rush.

The defense: The defense was solid when it was not rushed onto field following a turnover. Auburn allowed just nine points that were not after an interception from Nix. A defense that has been banged up cannot be expected to stave off an offense that is handed great field position time and time again. On one occasion, South Carolina started at Auburn’s 8-yard line. Also, the Tigers defense surrendered under 300 yards. That should be good enough to win a game.

Getting healthier: Starting cornerback Jaylin Simpson saw some snaps on Saturday. He has been recovering from a hamstring issue. It appears the coaching staff will ease him back into more playing time. Eli Stove looked great. He did not play against Arkansas, but on Saturday, the senior hauled in seven passes for 60 yards and a score. He also had a nice 12-yard run on a jet sweep.

Freshmen: Colby Wooden, Tank Bigsby and Ze’Vian Capers all had nice games. This gives Tigers fans some hope for the future.

The Bad

Turnovers: This one is obvious. Three interceptions do not equal success in the SEC. South Carolina converted all three of those into touchdowns. Take away those mistakes and Auburn probably wins this game by a few scores.

Play selection: Bigsby was averaged 6.9 yards per carry. The Tigers carried a lead into the half. Why offensive coordinator Chad Morris ended up calling 47 pass plays is beyond my knowledge.

Finishing drives with field goals: This is starting to become a theme for the 2020 Tigers. They were forced to kick four field goals against Arkansas. They kicked three more on Saturday.

Penalties: Nine penalties for 89 is not as detrimental as the turnovers, but the Tigers could use some cleaning up on fundamentals all-around.

Attitude/Conflict: If you are an Auburn fan, the performance on the field was difficult to watch. What should be the most concerning is the attitude on the sidelines that was displayed on Saturday. Auburn’s most important connection on offense, Nix and wide receiver Seth Williams, got into a shouting match. Morris had to calm down Nix. A quarterback should be a leader, right? Nix has been anything but that in his second season as the starter. Hopefully, Nix will cool down and apologize to his team for the way he acted. He is clearly frustrated by his own play, but he began to burden others with some of his issues. That cannot happen.

NEXT GAME: Saturday, Oct. 24, noon ET @ Ole Miss (1-3) on the SEC Network.

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