Last season, the Auburn Tigers (8-5) tied for second in the SEC West with a conference record of 5-3. They earned a trip to the Sugar Bowl where they lost to Oklahoma 35-19. Our 2017 Auburn Tigers college football preview finds that you may expect about the same type of performance from the team this season, as Auburn brings back eight starters on offense and seven on defense.
The Auburn offense scored on average 31.2 PPG last year, which placed them sixth in the SEC and 49th nationally. Their rush attack was ranked first in the conference, but their air game, which came in at 14th, was definitely lacking. Chip Lindsey has been brought in as the new offensive coordinator in an attempt to create a more consistent and diverse attack. The team has also added junior college transfer and former Baylor quarterback Jarrett Stidham with the hope that he’ll bring added depth in that area. He’ll take over the starting spot from Sean White who now moves to backup. He’ll be protected by a solid, and overall experienced O-line.
Four the Auburn’s top five receivers return, including dual threat Kerryon Johnson who last season had 11 rushing TDs, and over 1,000 yards of combined yardage. Sophomore WR Darius Slayton will look to build on his 15 catches and one touchdown. He averaged 19.5 YPC last year. Junior Kamryn Pettway leads the charge on the ground after gaining 1,224 yards and scoring seven TDs in 2016. He averaged 5.9 YPA.
The Auburn defense was stingy last season and ranked seventh nationally in average points allowed at 17.1. However, in the defensive-minded SEC, there were three other teams that gave up fewer points. They were very tough against the run as MLB Deshaun Davis, now a junior, led the team in TFL (7) and was third in total tackles (63). Nine of the team’s top 11 tacklers are back for this season.
Five players return who combined for 27 QBH, however two, Montravius Adams and Carl Lawson, who combined for 39 QBH, are gone. The Tigers will miss those two, as well as safety Jonathan Ford. In the secondary, Carlton Davis and Tray Matthews, who combined for 13 PBU last year, will be an essential part of the pass defense. The Tigers may have a harder time this year keeping opponent offenses in check.
On special teams, placekicker Daniel Carlson is accurate and consistent. Sophomre Ian Shannon will punt. He’s an unknown factor. Johnson and Stephen Roberts will ably handle kick returns and punts respectively.
2017 Auburn Tigers College Football Preview: Final Word
Head coach Gus Malzahn (44-21 Overall, 1-3 Bowls) has some solid units, which includes a productive offense. The defense will be good, but there are some holes this season. Our 2017 Auburn Tigers college football preview sees this team as being very competitive in the SEC and nationally.
The first big game for this team is against Tiger rivals Clemson. After these two meet on Clemson’s home field on Sep 9, sports bettors will be better able to gauge exactly where each is nationally. Oct 14 sees Auburn visit division rival and yet another Tigers team LSU in game that could determine exactly where both teams finish. Auburn’s final game is at home against Alabama on Nov 25. Could the division title be on the line in this game?
Top Three Takeaways
- New QB and new OC could shake things up
- Solid rush attack and O-line
- Some big questions on D