AUBURN – After Auburn's 14-10 win over the Cal Golden Bears, the Tigers turn their attention to the Samford Bulldogs for Homecoming Week.
The two programs have met 29 times, and Auburn has been victorious in 28 of the meetings. The 1927 matchup ended in a 9-9 tie. The most recent contest was a 52-0 Auburn victory in 2019.
Auburn's victory against Cal was not pretty, but the Tigers walked away with the win nonetheless.
"Obviously, I’m excited that we were able to go to probably one of the toughest trips I think you have in college football, to go play a game on the West Coast, and I thought our kids handled it well," Auburn head coach Hugh Freeze said. "I thought they played with great energy and passion and togetherness, and they fought for the 60 minutes. I’m obviously extremely happy to get out of there with a win against another Power Five opponent."
Auburn continued to run a two-quarterback system and saw mixed results from doing so. Freeze gave his thoughts on the situation.
"I don’t know that that’s exactly what I wanted it to look like, but we just had no juice, no momentum, and so you’re kind of searching for it," Freeze said. We’ve got to figure that piece of it out. We need Payton to play better, truthfully, too. Now, on the last drive, he played well. Prior to that, I think a few of the throws were inaccurate, and I thought he left the pocket early once."
Much like Auburn's season-opening win over UMass, offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery ran a fairly conservative playbook.
“We only called three and probably should have called more," Freeze said. "Cal played us a little differently. There were times that I thought we had one real shot and we read a different side of the field. Our receivers didn’t win a few of the others we called. They were in man coverage for a bit. They won some of those battles on us.”
Auburn's defense, however, showed up to play on Saturday. The Tigers held Cal to just 10 points. Freeze said that despite playing well there is still plenty to work on.
“We definitely made progress," Freeze said. "It was much better. The effort was incredible. We still have some alignment issues, but every game we are going to have some. I would like for it to be in the single digits, but we were around 10. Some of them were very ticky-tack and hard. You should be lined up at a 30 technique, and you are not quite there at the linebacker. We are being very hard on that right now."
Samford is 1-1 and coming off a 30-7 loss to West Carolina. Freeze stressed that the Bulldogs are not to be taken lightly. He offered compliments to Samford head coach Chris Hatcher.
“(Chris) Hatcher and I have known each other for years," Freeze said. "I think he is one of the better offensive coaches in football. He has done a remarkable job there. He will have his kids excited and well prepared to play here I have no doubt, they will test you in the passing game for sure and throw it all around. I think the last time he played here it was every formation you could imagine that he pulled out and had success moving the ball. I have great respect for him as a man and as a coach. I know he will have his guys ready.”
Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. CT, and ESPN+ will carry the livestream.
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