The Auburn Tigers played their next-to-last game of the season on Saturday, taking on the FCS Samford Bulldogs. The Bulldogs played tough, but eventually Auburn pulled away to a 35-16 victory.
Auburn picks up their seventh win on the year, marking the 11th time in 12 seasons that the Tigers have won at least seven games.
Today’s game won’t really tell us much about the Tigers, as they were playing an FCS opponent in between crucial SEC games against Georgia and Alabama. It was positive to see Auburn put one in the win column after a bad loss to Georgia, but it won’t give us much insight in to how Auburn will fare against the Crimson Tide next week.
One expected outcome of the game was the revival of Auburn’s power running game. After a slow first half, the Tigers took advantage of their undersized opponents and rode Michael Dyer to a 21-6 second half lead. Dyer finished with 157 yards and a touchdown, while Onterio McCalebb reached the end zone twice and ran for 48 yards. Dyer, only a sophomore, has now moved into Auburn's top 10 in career rushing.
Fumbles were also a hiccup, with both McCalebb and Kiehl Frazier coughing up the ball. Clint Moseley had a solid game throwing the ball, as he didn’t commit any turnovers and found Phil Lutzenkirchen for a touchdown. Moseley also ran the ball in for a touchdown in the second half.
The defense had another disappointing day in a disappointing season. The Tigers gave up 121 yards rushing to Samford’s Jeremiah Gates, while receiver Kelsey Pope caught 13 passes for 90 yards a touchdown. The Tigers racked up two interceptions, but failed to record a sack against Samford and gave up 338 yards of total offense to a .500 FCS team.
Auburn didn’t really need to make a giant effort to beat Samford, but there’s no doubt they will be much more motivated next week when Alabama visits Jordan-Hare Stadium. Auburn will have to put together their best overall performance of the season if they are going to beat the Crimson Tide for the second straight year.