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Auburn Football: Tigers Searching for Consistent Run Defense

AUBURN, AL - OCTOBER 15: Jeff Driskel #16 of the Florida Gators is sacked by Corey Lemonier #55 and Nosa Eguae #94 of the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on October 15, 2011 in Auburn, Alabama. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
Matthew BrennanCorrespondent IIOctober 30, 2011

The Auburn Tigers head into their bye week fresh off a 41-23 win over Ole Miss. A look at the final score may indicate that the Tigers dominated the game, but that was not the case with Ole Miss holding their own in the first half.

One aspect that will cause concern for the Tigers is the state of the run defense. Auburn has struggled to stop the run at times this season, and that problem reared its head against Ole Miss. The Rebels carved up the Auburn defense for 220 yards.

A host of turnovers likely prevented Ole Miss from putting up more than the 23 points they scored.

The Tigers did make some adjustments at halftime that seemed to limit Ole Miss, but stopping the run has to be a major concern with games against Georgia and Alabama left on the schedule. Ole Miss running backs Jeff Scott and Brandon Bolden are talented, but now Auburn will have to deal with the likes of Georgia’s Isaiah Crowell and Alabama’s Trent Richardson.

It seems that one of the keys to Auburn’s struggles is a lack of playmakers. Other than linebacker Eltoro Freeman and defensive end Corey Lemonier, few Tigers on the defensive side of the ball have been consistent this season.

The result has been a defense that ranks near the bottom of the SEC in most categories.

Saturday’s game seemed to sum up the story of Auburn’s season so far. In some games the offense has struggled while the defense was stout, while the opposite has held true in other games.

With two of the SEC’s top teams remaining on the schedule, Gene Chizik and the coaching staff will be hoping that both sides can hold up their end of the bargain if Auburn is going to add another upset to their 2011 resume.

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