The Auburn Tigers got the job done once again on Saturday with a 41-34 victory over the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Tigers stopped the Bulldogs at the 1-yard line on the final play of the game to clinch the win. The victory extends the Auburn program’s winning streak to 16 games dating back to 2009.
Heading into the game, one of the questions concerned the Auburn offense. Could the Tigers running game get going after a poor first game and would quarterback Barrett Trotter be able to build momentum after a solid debut?
A second consecutive scoring output of over 40 points showed that the Auburn offense stacks up against anyone and will be a force to be reckoned with in 2011.
The running game bounced back in a big way in the win, with Michael Dyer racking up 150 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries. The sophomore star got the scoring underway in the first quarter with a 35-yard run before finding the end zone again in the second quarter. Junior Onterio McCalebb chipped in with 68 yards on 11 carries.
Dyer ran all over the Mississippi State defense and proved that he will be on the best running backs in the SEC, and maybe the nation. The speedy McCalebb is an excellent change of pace who is always capable of breaking off a big play. Along with promising freshman Tre Mason, they will be a big problem for opposing defenses over the rest of the season.
The Auburn passing attack enjoyed another good showing against Mississippi State. Barrett Trotter was efficient once again with 146 yards and two touchdowns on 16-23 passing, despite an interception returned for a touchdown. He hooked up with wide receiver Emory Blake on another long touchdown pass for 46 yards in the second quarter and found Philip Lutzenkirchen in the end zone for the second straight week. The 10 yard pass to Lutzenkirchen in the fourth quarter proved to be the game-winning score for the Tigers.
Trotter is not the running threat that Cameron Newton was, but over his first two games as a starter, he has shown that he has what it takes to lead the offense to wins. He has some reliable targets to throw to and Auburn’s talented running game means he doesn’t have to do it all himself for the Tigers to be effective.
Now with two games under their belt, it appears that any questions about the Auburn offense have been answered. Despite plenty of personnel losses from last season, it looks like the Tigers have not lost a step when it comes to putting points on the board with 41.5 points over their first two games.
Now the question is where does Auburn’s offense rank among the nation’s best? With plenty of tough games ahead against some of the nation’s top defenses, we will have every opportunity to find out. The next test will come on the road as the Tigers head to Death Valley to face Clemson next week.