Auburn earned a hard-fought victory versus the Kentucky Wildcats in week one. It was far from a dominant performance from beginning to end, but the Tigers acquired a comfy lead and control of the game in the fourth quarter. Early in the video game, the checking out Wildcats brought the battle to Auburn, however the Tigers’ adjustments at halftime and the resurgence of the Bo Nix and Seth Williams connection won.
Before expecting Auburn’s rivalry game with the Georgia Bulldogs this week, we will take a closer look at the keys to Auburn’s season-opening win versus Kentucky. The following numbers, notes and quote give insight to how Auburn emerged victorious 29-13 versus the Wildcats.
3 and 0
The most essential numbers in the contest in between Auburn and Kentucky were three and no, respectively. The Wildcats turned the ball over 3 times, while Auburn had no free gifts on the day. The three Kentucky turnovers also does not include the fake punt that punter Max Duffy failed to transform that basically ended the video game. Even terrific teams would struggle to get rid of losing the turnover battle by a margin of three, and Kentucky is not an elite group.
Despite the fact that Kentucky controlled most of the first half, the objective line interception by Roger McCreary altered the entire course of the day. That first turnover by Kentucky kept points off the board for the Wildcats, and they were just able to create another scoring drive in the video game.
Saturday’s game was a tale of 2 halves, but it actually boiled down to Auburn’s ability to hold onto the ball and Kentucky’s inability to do the exact same throughout the game. Each and every week the group that secures the football and is able to take it far from the opponent has a big advantage.
Kentucky possessed the ball for over 60% of the video game. In the very first half, the Wildcats had the ball for nearly 70% of the time. Kentucky was able to methodically march the ball up and down the field behind their skilled offensive line and a trio of tackle-breaking tailbacks early in the game. Auburn’s inability to stop Kentucky on 3rd down (particularly in the first half) put the Tigers in a really precarious circumstance.
It was expected that there would be growing pains on the Tiger’s defensive line, however the protective front relatively had no responses for Kentucky’s hurrying attack early. To Auburn’s credit, the defense was better in the second half, requiring two turnovers and a variety of three and outs.
Auburn came away with the win on Saturday, however against more explosive opponents the Tiger defense need to do much better on third downs and be more constant stopping the run. Playing defense that long and against 75+ plays is not a dish for success moving forward.
Auburn’s number 18 was the best gamer on the field. Pass receiver Seth Williams was a match problem for Kentucky and an almost automatic huge play for quarterback Bo Nix. Williams had currently shown to be an excellent SEC receiver, but his performance versus the Wildcats might symbolize that he is all set to be among the best receivers in the nation. If Seth Williams can consistently produce at a high level this season, that is going to cause a lot of issues for defensive planners in 2020.
90 hurrying backyards will not cut it
As amazing as Bo Nix, Seth Williams and Auburn’s passing game was, the hurrying attack supplied factors for issue. Undoubtedly, it is not unexpected that an offending line changing four beginners and a trio of running backs who have actually never ever been the very first choice at the college level did not master the very first trip of 2020. The Tigers must settle into a beginning offensive line group quickly so that those gamers can create the connection that is necessary to be successful.
It was interesting that Auburn did not attempt some staples of the Gus Malzahn rushing attack that can help eliminate some pressure from this new-look offending line. I do not remember one jet sweep, dollar sweep, reverse or any other runs attacking the edge versus Kentucky. Those kinds of plays help produce some space to run between the tackles and are certainly still in the playbook. Expect those to show up again in the offense soon.
Bo Nix provided in the second half
Auburn needed big plays to retreat in the 2nd half, and Bo Nix made it occur. The Tigers had a hard time to get any offensive circulation in the very first half while Kentucky gobbled up the football. In the second half, Auburn’s defense made stops and gave the offense a lot more opportunities to put points on the board.
Nix tossed 2 goals to Seth Williams and another ideal ball to Eli Range who was mismatched against a linebacker for the last rating of the day. Nix was likewise the Tigers’ leading rusher for the video game. Bo Nix can still enhance his ability to remain in the pocket and entering throws under pressure, however he is the engine of the Auburn offense and proved once again that he can lead the Tigers to success in close games.
“They had the ball on the half-foot line and we chose it. Naturally, we opted for 6 and it got recalled however still simply the momentum and not giving up any points. We still had the lead at halftime, which was huge.”– Gus Malzahn
The crazy turn of events at the end of the 2nd quarter was the defining stretch of the video game. Kentucky appeared to score a touchdown however was ruled down inside the one lawn line. On 2nd down Auburn stuffed the tried quarterback sneak by Kentucky’s Terry Wilson. That led to Wilson throwing towards the endzone on third down, only to be obstructed by Roger McCreary.
McCreary and company ran 100 backyards for what appeared to be a goal, only to be recalled for targeting by Derick Hall throughout the return. So, an unusual circumstance took place where both teams raged about perceived missed out on calls by authorities (stunning).
It is irrelevant whether the authorities made the right choices once the call is made. At that point, all that matters is how the teams and coaches react. Auburn outscored Kentucky 21-6 from that point on, securing a 1-0 start for the Tigers.
Zack Shaw is a contributing author for Yellowhammer News and previous walk-on for the Auburn Tigers. You can contact him by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @z_m_shaw