AUBURN – The Auburn Tigers (4-4, 1-4 SEC) knocked off the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Saturday to claim their first win of conference play.
The Tigers head up to Nashville, Tenn., this weekend to take on the Vanderbilt Commodores (2-7, 0-5 SEC) in what they hope will be their second SEC win of the season.
Auburn head coach Hugh Freeze previewed the matchup during his weekly press conference.
Freeze reflected on the win over Mississippi State and what it means for the team.
“I'm excited to sit here with an SEC win, for sure," Freeze said. "I'm proud of the improvement that I thought our kids showed and the job our staff did. I think it's a direct reflection of accountability to little things that we are trying to instill in the way we operate on a daily basis here. It's good to see them have success on the field, and hopefully, we can grow from that. I'm thankful it was a solid game, for sure. Obviously not perfect. There are very few that are, but a very solid game."
Quarterback Payton Thorne took a step forward. He went 20-26 for 230 yards and three touchdowns. Freeze talked about what he saw from him.
“Well, he was really confident in the plan, and it showed," Freeze said. "He probably left two throws out there that he should've thrown, in my opinion. He'll agree when he sees the film. He had two other RPOs that probably should've been thrown. I thought he left the pocket early a couple times, but he did good things with it. He took care of the ball."
Freshman offensive lineman Connor Lew stepped in to play center in place of Avery Jones who suffered an injury against Ole Miss. Freeze talked about what he saw from Lew's performance.
“I heard this morning that he is going to get freshman player of the week from SEC Network," Freeze said. "So, congratulations to him. He graded out well. I’m thankful that he waited till the last possession to snap a ball and hit his own butt. If that would have happened the first possession, I would have been a nervous wreck the rest of the game."
Freeze talked about what he sees out of Vanderbilt from an offensive perspective.
“I’m honestly impressed with some of the things they do," Freeze said. "I don’t know what (AJ) Swann’s status is. I don’t really know if he can come back or not, but I would love to know that. (Ken) Seals and then this kid they brought in last week, (CJ) Taylor, is very athletic. That receiver is special, (Will) Shepherd. They make me nervous. You watch the way they competed against Georgia, particularly at home, I think they are a different team there. I’ve been impressed with Clark Lea every time I’ve been around him."
Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. CT at FirstBank Stadium in Nashville, and the SEC Network will carry the broadcast.
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