Auburn has had a tough time getting things clicking on offense the past two games, but a trip to face a struggling Missouri defense on Saturday might provide just the remedy. No. 16 Auburn aims to open conference play with a road victory when the two Tigers tangle for the first time since the 2013 SEC Championship game.
Auburn suffered a bit of a hangover last Saturday after a disappointing 14-6 loss to No. 2 Clemson the previous week, as the Tigers had a tough time putting away Mercer for a 24-10 win. Auburn has a perfect opportunity to get things right on offense against a Missouri team that ranks last in the SEC in total defense (442.7 yards per game) and has surrendered at least 30 points in each of its first three contests. “Obviously, we’re about to go on a long run with all the SEC teams, so it’s going to be a challenge each week,” Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham told reporters. “Our defense, they’re playing lights out. Hats off to them. They’re truly a great defense. I know offensively, we just want to help a little bit more.” Missouri fired defensive coordinator DeMontie Cross after two games but continued to struggle in every facet of the game in a 35-3 loss to visiting Purdue last week.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU. LINE: Auburn -19.5
ABOUT AUBURN (2-1, 0-0 SEC): Auburn moved the ball at will against Mercer, outgaining the Bears 510-246, but five turnovers kept the Tigers from pulling away. Stidham picked apart Mercer’s secondary, going 32-for-37 for 364 yards, and should have similar success against a struggling Missouri defense. Auburn has had no such troubles on defense, allowing only 3.18 yards per play - best in the nation - and a total of 605 yards through three games.
ABOUT MISSOURI (1-2, 0-1): Missouri’s defense has been dismal, and the offense followed suit against Purdue. The Tigers gained only 203 total yards against the Boilermakers, and they’ve totaled 16 points in the past two games after a 72-43 win over Missouri State in their opener. Quarterback Drew Lock passed for 521 yards and seven touchdowns against Missouri State, but has totaled just 378 yards and one touchdown with four interceptions over the past two contests.
1. Auburn RB Kerryon Johnson is expected to play after missing the past two games with a hamstring injury.
2. Missouri has allowed 2.67 tackles for loss per game (fourth-fewest nationally) and 0.67 sacks per game (tied for ninth-fewest in the nation).
3. Auburn is the only team in the nation ranked in the top 12 in total defense (second), scoring defense (11th), and passing defense (ninth).
PREDICTION: Auburn 35, Missouri 10