Auburn Football: How the Tigers Can Avoid Losing Their Next Four

Matthew BrennanCorrespondent IISeptember 25, 2011

CLEMSON, SC - SEPTEMBER 17:  Michael Dyer #5 of the Auburn Tigers celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown against the Clemson Tigers during their game at Memorial Stadium on September 17, 2011 in Clemson, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Auburn Tigers defeated Florida Atlantic on Saturday to improve their record to 3-1, but things are about to get much tougher for the Tigers.

The upcoming schedule is brutal, as Auburn will face Top 25 teams in their next four games.

Their slate starts this Saturday with a trip to No. 10 South Carolina, followed by a visit to No. 14 Arkansas. Then they host No. 15 Florida before a trip to No. 2 LSU. Their next four opponents are currently a combined 15-1 this season.  

Auburn enters this stretch with a nine-game SEC winning streak.

This upcoming four games will make or break Auburn’s season. A few losses will destroy any chance of reaching the SEC title game, and maybe even put the Tigers’ chances of reaching a bowl game in jeopardy. Whatever happens, the next month will tell us all we need to know about this season’s team.  

Auburn’s record after four games is 3-1, but anyone who has watched the team knows they have their issues. The Tigers need a lot of improvement in certain areas to compete with some of the top teams in the nation that lie ahead. Here are few examples.


Find A Run Defense

The Auburn run defense has been a big weakness this season, and will need to get better with elite running backs such as South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore and Florida’s Jeff Demps on the schedule. Auburn is currently ranked No. 112 in the nation with 226.5 rushing yards per game by opponents.


More Receivers Stepping Up

Barrett Trotter has been solid in his first year as a starter, but Auburn’s passing game doesn’t give opposing defenses much to worry about. Emory Blake has been productive, but someone else also needs to step up and become a more consistent threat at catching the ball. Tight end/H-back Philip Lutzenkirchen has two touchdowns, but hasn't mad as big an impact as promised this season.


Find A Pass Rush

The Tigers are tied at No. 106 in the nation with only three sacks. They’ll need to put more pressure on the experienced quarterbacks they are going to face over the next four games.


Ride Michael Dyer

Dyer is established as the Tigers’ top playmaker and should be seen as one of the best running backs in the nation. He is averaging just 15.5 rushes a game, so he should be seeing the ball more against top competition. Only two of the 14 players ranked ahead of Dyer in rushing yards have less than his 62 carries.