AUBURN – Grading Auburn after a brutal 41-12 defeat at the hands of Penn State.
Auburn's quarterback situation is nothing short of a mess at this point. Robby Ashford and T.J. Finley both turned the ball over and struggled to find any rhythm behind a struggling offensive line. They combined for just 21 completions on 38 attempts, totaling a solid 296 yards through the air but two costly interceptions. It's unclear where the quarterback situation goes from here.
Running Backs: C-
Considering the play at the offensive line, Tank Bigsby, Jarquez Hunter and Damari Alston had a solid performance for the offense and might've been the only bright spot. Bigsby led the group with 77 yards from scrimmage and Hunter had the team's only touchdown of the game with a highlight reel hurdle, but the trio still managed just 57 yards on the ground.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: C-
The offense put up a lot of yardage, and the receivers made some nice catches, including a great diving catch from Landen King. Still, the offense as a whole could not capitalize on opportunities, and the fumble from Shedrick Jackson halted any chance of points or momentum before halftime.
Offensive Line: F
Giving up five sacks and nine quarterback hits does not quantify the problems of the offensive line. Auburn was dominated at the line of scrimmage, averaging just 3.6 yards per carry as the running backs accounted for under 57 yards combined. Penn State could run the ball at will in the red zone while Auburn had to resort to the read option and scrambling for any production.
Defensive Line: D-
Penn State gashed Auburn on the ground, scoring all five touchdowns in the trenches and 254 total yards on the ground. Auburn's defensive line, the strength of this defense, had no answer and failed to put much pressure on Clifford after the first series, with zero sacks in total.
The linebackers might've been a bright spot, with Owen Pappoe's hit on Clifford being the play of the game for Auburn, but the issues with stopping the run was a wholesale problem. The linebackers got caught over-pursuing a handful of times and could not get key stops down the stretch.
Defensive Backs: D-
The same issues with the secondary challenging jump balls and minimizing separation were there, as well as just struggling to contain the Penn State run game when the backs got to the perimeter. The defense, as a whole, was a shell of what many people expected going into this game.
Special Teams: C
Keionte Scott showed flashes as a returner, Anders Carlson was Anders Carlson once again, and Oscar Chapman had a bad punt in his limited action. Some stability at one unit for a team that lacked a lot of continuity today.
Auburn had an eight-point deficit at halftime, despite two turnovers, and the team came out flat in the second half and was thoroughly unprepared for the game as a whole. This was a major setback leading into SEC play as the quarterback situation still appears to be unresolved.
Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.