For the first time since 2003, the Auburn Tigers will play a regular season game in the state of California. Then it was USC, this time it's the Cal Golden Bears awaiting the Tigers.

Auburn head coach Hugh Freeze voiced his displeasure about the cross-country trip but is ready to tackle the challenge head-on.

Auburn is looking to build on its season-opening 59-14 win over UMass. Cal got the 2023 campaign started with a 58-21 win over North Texas.

What are some things to look out for in the first-ever contest between the two teams?

How will Auburn's run defense perform?

Cal has a talented running back in Jaydn Ott. In the Golden Bears win over North Texas, the sophomore rushed for 178 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries.

The Tigers had some issues stopping the run at times last week. If those issues have not been ironed out, Auburn could be in for a rough night.

If the Tigers can figure out a solution early and prevent Cal from getting its ground attack established, their chances of winning will drastically improve.

Can Auburn's offensive line duplicate the success it had last week?

Auburn's offensive line had one of its best showings in quite some time last week.

Senior Gunner Britton was named SEC offensive lineman of the week. Britton was the first Auburn player to earn the recognition since Nick Brahms in week nine of the 2020 season.

The offensive line allowed only two quarterback hurries and no sacks last week. The question as to whether or not the unit really has improved that significantly or if it just took advantage of playing an inferior opponent will be answered in due time.

Can Auburn's running back room show out again?

Despite missing Jarquez Hunter, Auburn's running backs showed up ready to play last week.

Six different Tigers picked up at least 30 yards, including quarterback Robby Ashford.

Sean Jackson led the team in rushing with 64 yards and a touchdown off of five carries. Freshman Jeremiah Cobb produced 57 yards and a touchdown on five carries.

This took a lot of pressure off Damari Alston and Brian Battie, who were expected to carry most of the weight in Hunter's absence.

The depth of this group is evident, and that will pay dividends for Auburn as the season goes along.

What will the quarterback situation look like for Auburn?

Payton Thorne will receive most first-string reps again this week.

Against UMass, Thorne went 10-17 for 141 yards and a touchdown. He can be expected to do more as Auburn continues to open up the playbook more and more.

Robby Ashford will still play a big role in Auburn's ground game. Last week, he rushed for 51 yards and three touchdowns off of nine carries.

This week will likely look similar to last as far as rotation between the two.

What does Cal quarterback Ben Finley bring to the table?

The simple answer is consistent pocket passing.

Last week against North Texas, Finley went 24-34 for 289 yards and a touchdown as well as an interception.

This is Finley's first season as a starter after spending the previous three seasons as a backup at N.C. State.

Kick-off is set for 9:30 p.m. CT, and ESPN will carry the broadcast.

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