AUBURN — The dust has settled, the angry tweets were sent, and the chants of “We want Robby” were spent, but how did Auburn play in its second game of the year, against a San Jose State team that seemed outmatched on paper?
Auburn’s quarterbacks had as bad of a start as any offense could. Robby Ashford and T.J. Finley combined for two completions on seven attempts, 10 yards and two interceptions in a scoreless first quarter. From the second quarter on, both settled in, with Ashford leading the team on the ground with 61 yards and Finley finishing the game 12-15 for 158 yards.
Running Backs: B+
Despite a solid run defense from San Jose State and a poor performance from the offensive line, Jarquez Hunter and Tank Bigsby combined for over 100 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. Damari Alston added 38 yards on just two carries, including the longest run of the day for the Tigers.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: C
Auburn had just one reception from a wide receiver in the first half, but the tight ends made up for it in the passing game, specifically with a team-leading 39 yards at halftime. Ja'Varrius Johnson, who led the team against Mercer, finally got involved in the second half, finishing the game with 41 yards on four catches, but the passing offense was not as explosive as it needed to be.
Offensive Line: D
Faced with a stout run defense in San Jose State, the offensive line for Auburn did not meet the challenge in the first half, struggling to get any push on the line of scrimmage against an undersized opponent. Tank Bigsby had just seven yards on five first half carries, and while the rushing attack picked up in the second half, the offensive line still struggled in short yardage situations.
Defensive Line: A
The defensive line is one of the most hyped-up units on this team, and they lived up to the hype once again, forcing San Jose State to abandon the run game and rely on a quick passing game. The Tigers also sacked Spartan quarterback Chevan Cordeiro three times and came up with a huge goal-line stand in the second half.
Having to find a way to replace Chandler Wooten and Zakoby McClain, Auburn has a solid group in Owen Pappoe, Cam Riley and Wesley Steiner. Steiner had the best game of his career with five tackles, and the group is excellent in run defense. They could be better in the passing game, but a really solid second game for the trio.
Defensive Backs: D+
Two bad pass interference penalties and getting gashed by Cordeiro and the Spartans’ pass offense, the Auburn defense clearly missed Roger McCreary. No busted coverages cost the team a touchdown, but San Jose State was able to march methodically down the field against this pass defense, a tough performance for a team that has to face a host of experienced quarterbacks throughout the season.
Special Teams: B
Anders Carlson did what he does best. Oscar Chapman is still Oscar Chapman and Keionte Scott had a solid 22-yard punt return, despite a fumble on the play that he recovered. Every San Jose State State kickoff was short, not giving Auburn’s explosive players an opportunity to make something happen.
Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.