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Arkansas State vs Auburn Wrap Up / Autopsy

Gus & his Tigers quell naysayers, Red Wolf D swells doubters

NCAA Football: Arkansas State at Auburn John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

THE BAD, THE WORSE, AND THE UGLIER EDITION

With doubters rumbling in the shadows, Gus Malzahn seemed determined to make a point that his Tigers would be more than ready for SEC play and what says classic Gus more than a little trickery at the right moment. During the second quarter with Auburn leading the defending SBC champions 21-7, Malzahn and his offense faced a fourth down deep in Red Wolf territory. As expected he trotted out the field goal team, only to run a fake with kicker Daniel Carson running it in from 20 yards out for a touchdown. That basically ended any thoughts of a Red Wolf upset or even a close game as the Tigers rolled to a 51-14 victory while gaining 706 yards of offense.

THE BAD: The place to start this week again is the defense. With multiple returning starters back and talent added to the front, it seemed that this unit was ready to take off this year. Most hoped that week 1 performance against Toledo was an anomaly, but after this game, the concern is that a pattern may be developing. The defense allowed 706 yards, including 462 on the ground and a QB completion rate of 74% through the air. There is a lack of pressure up the middle which allowed this unit last year to lead the nation in interceptions. Through two games they have 0 picks on the year. There also seems to be confusion in the secondary at times including the cornerbacks out of place at inopportune times.

THE WORSE: The running game at the beginning of the season was listed as one of the plusses for the Red Wolves but through 2 weeks the statistics look ugly. The rushing game has produced only 208 yards on 71 attempts for a 2.9 yds/att and 4 tds with QB Chad Voytik accounting for 31 attempts and 50 yards of those totals. Not only was the running game supposed to be a strength, but it appeared to be one of the deepest groups on the roster. Not so fast my friend, Armond Weh-Weh left the game Saturday night with what appears to be a potential season ending knee injury and touchdown machine Johnston White still didn't dress out while he battles a hamstring injury. Anderson turned to sophomore Logan Moragne to fill in behind Warren Wand, who gained 37 yards on 16 carries.

THE UGLIER : With the Red Wolves hitting the road next week travelling to Logan, Utah to face their Mountain West foe Utah State Aggies, an 0-3 start seems more likely than not. This leaves only Central Arkansas the following week as the last chance to pickup a non conference win before the Sun Belt slate begins. The early returns on the conference appear to show a more balanced league top to bottom and less likely that this team will correct its course and roll through the rest of the fall.

Next Up: @ Utah State- Friday, September 16-8pm CST