Arkansas State Red Wolves (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS) vs. Auburn Tigers (0-1 SU, 1-0 ATS)
College Football Week 2
Date/Time: Saturday, September 10th 7:30PM (EST)
Where: Jordan-Hare Stadium Auburn, A.L.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ARSU +19/AUB -19
Over/Under Total: TBA
The Auburn Tigers nearly pulled off a huge upset last week but fell just shy in a 19-13 home loss to no. 2 Clemson. The Tigers had their chances as the defense held one of the best offenses in college football to just 19 points. Ultimately, it was the lack of production from the Auburn offense that thwarted the upset bid. Now some of the same questions that plagued Coach Gus Malzahn in 2015, remain to be answered on the offensive side of the football. This week Auburn gets a chance to piece together some possible solutions when they play the Arkansas State Red Wolves at home inside Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Tigers fans are starting to grow a little impatient with Auburn’s continuous offensive problems. After all, Coach Malzahn is supposed to be one of the best offensive minds in college football. This is the same offensive coordinator that helped lead Auburn to the 2010 National Championship before taking a brief head coaching stint at the same Arkansas State that he will face this Saturday. Once Malzahn returned to Auburn as the Head Coach in 2012, things were promising as he took the Tigers to another National Championship Game appearance. Despite a close lose to Florida State in the 2013 title game, Auburn fans appeared to have their “guy.”
However since that 2013 campaign, Auburn has simply spiraled back to mediocrity. The Tigers just barely managed a winning season last year with a 7-6 record and the Tigers’ once promising offense finished 9th in SEC in total offense. The problem last year is the same problem that appears to be festering again this season with inconsistent play at the quarterback position and a lack of big play potential. Last year, Auburn quarterbacks threw more interceptions (12) than touchdowns (11). Despite a fairly solid rushing threat, the Tigers simply could not balance out the passing game to add any true firepower to the offense.
In last week’s loss to Clemson, things appeared to continue down that same path. Quarterback Sean White and Jeremy Johnson combined to go 14 of 27 passing for 175 yards with 2 interceptions. Despite having every opportunity to beat Clemson, Auburn had just 1 play over 20 yards and never capitalized on the strong play of their defense. Luckily for Malzahn and new defensive coordinator Kevin Steele is that defense looks to be the real deal. The Tigers were very solid on the defensive side of the ball and that will help them this week against an Arkansas State team that struggled heavily on the offensive side of the ball last week in a 31-10 home loss against Toledo.
The Red Wolves had their own issues at quarterback last week as Chad Voytik went just 11 of 24 for 124 yards. Voytik also kept the ball on 18 carries but managed just 2.1 yards per carry. The offense did get some momentum going with tailback Warren Wand who produced 77 yards on 12 touches but overall it was a very ugly offensive performance. Things could get even tougher for the Red Wolves this week against an even better Auburn defense. The Red Wolves closed out the season last year with 8 straight regular season wins before last week’s opening loss to Toledo and a large part of that success was credited to the offense that averaged well over 40 points per game. Therefore, we know the potential is there for Arkansas State to post some big offensive numbers but they are going to have to get better play out of the quarterback position to achieve those results.
Jay's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I think the Auburn defense is the big benefactor here for the Tigers. I think they will get after Voytik and possibly get a few turnovers to get the offense going. At least for one week the offensive problems get answered but I think the long term issues are unavoidable. For this week, Take Auburn -19!
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