Florida Atlantic vs. Auburn: 5 Things We Learned from the Tigers
The Auburn Tigers got back on the winning track with a 30-14 victory on Saturday night against the Florida Atlantic Owls.
Auburn only led 10-6 at the half but scored 20 unanswered in the third quarter to take control of the game. It’s tough to take much out of this game as the Tigers were facing an overmatched opponent at home, but it should set up Auburn with some momentum heading into next week’s trip to South Carolina.
Here are five things we learned from about the Tigers from Saturday’s game.
Auburn Was Not Fired Up for the Owls
The Tigers, coming off a tough loss to Clemson, might have been looking ahead to next week’s SEC trip to South Carolina.
Auburn got off to a very slow start against an 0-2 Florida Atlantic team they should have dominated from the opening kickoff. The Tigers only led 10-6 at halftime, before pulling away in the second half.
Hopefully, the Tigers will be able to get out of the gate faster against the tough opposition that lies ahead on the schedule.
Their next four opponents are currently ranked in the AP Top 25.
Defense Will Be an Issue All Season
Florida Atlantic came into tonight’s game averaging 92.5 yards and 1.5 points over their first two games. They managed to come to life against an Auburn defense that has taken its lumps all year with 14 points and 306 yards. The Owls also scored their first touchdown of the season.
Auburn likely won’t face a weaker offense this season from an FBS team, but they still had their issues stopping the Owls. The third-down issues were raised again as Florida Atlantic converted 6-of-13, which does not bode well for Auburn’s defense over the rest of 2011.
The Tigers did finally manage to force some turnovers, as they made three interceptions including a touchdown return by Jermaine Whitehead. The Auburn pass rush continued to be limited with just one sack.
Offense Still a Work in Progress
The Auburn offense had their ups and downs against Florida Atlantic.
The Tigers still have too many negative plays and don’t really seem to have a consistent receiving threat other than Emory Blake. Blake found the end zone once again and finished with 80 yards on five catches.
The Auburn running game’s inconsistency continued with only 137 yards and no rushing touchdowns. Onterio McCalebb finally broke out for a big play with a 51-yard touchdown reception on a screen pass.
Overall, the night has to be considered a disappointment as the Tigers should have put up more than 23 offensive points against a team that was lit up by Florida and Michigan State.
Dyer's Workload Limited
Michael Dyer had his worst game of the season so far, putting up only 53 yards and failing to find the end zone for the first time this season.
The coaching staff said that Dyer’s workload was going to increase, but that was not the case on Saturday night. Dyer only carried the ball 14 times with his longest run lasting for 20 yards. For whatever reason, he is not getting the ball as much as a player with his ability should, especially on an offense that lacks proven playmakers.
Auburn would have liked to see Dyer with a bit more momentum heading into next week’s encounter with a tough South Carolina defense.
Kiehl Frazier's Role Continues To Grow
Freshman quarterback Kiehl Frazier’s gradual inclusion in the offense continued on Saturday.
Frazier saw more action out of the shotgun and displayed his athleticism with a 16-yard rush up the middle. He finished with 31 yards on three carries but did not complete a pass.
Frazier’s usage in next week’s game will be a big gauge of his progress. We will find out if he sees much action on the road in a tough environment against South Carolina.