Fresh off an upset win over Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M, the No. 11 Auburn Tigers find themselves with just one loss this season heading into their cool-down matchup with the Florida Atlantic Owls on Saturday.
The Tigers' lone loss came a few weeks back at the hands of LSU, which was ranked sixth in the nation at the time. Since then, Auburn has had no issues in slicing through its opposition, thanks to some sound defense and one of the nation's top rushing attacks that averages 300 yards per game.
Things have not been as great, however, for Florida Atlantic at 2-5. The Owls' only two wins have come against South Florida (2-4) and Alabama-Birmingham (2-4). Their only test against major competition came in Week 1 against the Miami Hurricanes, with the result being a 34-6 loss despite Miami pulling its starters in the second half.
Below is everything that fans will need to know about this seemingly lopsided matchup.
When: Saturday, Oct. 26, at 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Jordan–Hare Stadium, Auburn, Ala.
Live Stream: ESPN3
Betting Lines (via Vegas Insider)
- Over/Under: N/A
- Spread: Auburn (-24.5)
Owls Injury Report (via USA Today)
|Keith Reaser||CB||10/09/2013||is expected to miss the remainder of the season||Out||knee|
|Winfred Strickland||S||09/24/2013||will miss the remainder of the season||Out||head|
Tigers Injury Report (via USA Today)
|Jaylon Denson||WR||09/22/2013||will miss the remainder of the season||Out||knee|
|Justin Garrett||LB||10/20/2013||is questionable for Saturday's game against Florida Atlantic||Questionable||undisclosed|
|Keymiya Harrell||DL||10/20/2013||is questionable for Saturday's game against Florida Atlantic||Questionable||knee|
|Demetruce McNeal||S||08/17/2013||was dismissed from the team||Out||legal/disciplinary|
|Patrick Miller||T||10/20/2013||is questionable for Saturday's game against Florida Atlantic||Questionable||disciplinary|
|Jeffrey Whitaker||DT||08/31/2013||will miss the entirre season||Out||knee|
Can Florida Atlantic Slow the Run?
The question that every team unfortunate enough to encounter Auburn this season has been forced to answer is: How does a defense curb Auburn's rushing attack?
Averaging 300 yards per game on the ground, Auburn's numbers are no fluke with its starting running back duo of Tre Mason and Cameron Artis-Payne.
Which team wins?
Mason has 693 yards on 5.8 yards per carry with eight touchdowns. Artis-Payne has been even better in fewer opportunities with 417 yards and four scores to go with an average of 7.1 yards per attempt. The explosive Corey Grant has had even fewer looks, but has still averaged 9.9 carries for 376 yards and three touchdowns.
What puts the Auburn rushing attack over the top is quarterback Nick Marshall, who comes in as the team's third-leading rusher with 388 yards and four scores on timely or designed scampers.
The Tigers rolled up 379 yards rushing against a stingy Aggies defense last week, so that should be the main focal point for the Owls on Saturday.
Unfortunately for the Florida Atlantic faithful, this one is as lopsided as it looks.
The Owls surrender 181.4 rushing yards per game on 4.8 yards per carry, and that has come against just one team outside of the C-USA and the AAC—Miami, which rolled up 303 yards rushing in its rout of Florida Atlantic.
Congratulations Nick Marshall - the SEC Offensive Player of the Week! #WarEagle— Auburn Football (@FootballAU) October 21, 2013
Even worse news for the Owls is that Marshall appears to have finally found his stride this season. After mediocre outputs earlier this season, Marshall exploded last week against the Aggies for 336 total yards, four touchdowns and did not throw an interception.
This one will be over by the half, but expect the starters to stay in as Auburn preps for a tough final four-game stretch against Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia and No. 1 Alabama.
Tigers win, 38-7
Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling