AUBURN, Ala. - Auburn is supposed to be an offensive powerhouse under head coach Gus Malzahn, but the results aren't meeting expectations so far in 2018. The 21st-ranked Tigers will look for new ways to put points on the board and bounce back from a big loss when they host Tennessee on Saturday.
TV: Noon, ET, SEC Network. LINE: Auburn - 15.5
Auburn is 11th in the SEC in scoring at an average of 28.7 points and is coming off a 23-9 loss at Mississippi State in which it failed to find the end zone - a setback that made it more difficult for the Tigers to contend for another SEC West title. "We know what we have, and we do have some strengths," Malzahn told reporters. "We've got some guys that are capable of scoring points. We've just got to seize the moment when we have those opportunities." Auburn should have the opportunity to fix some of the things that ail the offense against the Volunteers, who surrendered an average of 42.5 points in losses to Florida and Georgia to begin SEC play before getting a bye last weekend. "We worked really hard on tackling," Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt told reporters of the team's focus during the bye. "We worked really hard on the fundamentals of blocking and block protection. We went back to the 'A, B, C's' that you do during spring ball and fall camp, which we need. ... The only way I know how to get better at something is to go do it, and that is what we did this past week."
ABOUT TENNESSEE (2-3, 0-2 SEC)
The Volunteers are one spot below the Tigers in 12th place in the SEC in scoring at an average of 26 points and a large part of the problem is the play of the offensive line. Quarterback Jarrett Guarantano has yet to record 200 passing yards in a game and the line surrendered six tackles for loss in Week 5's 38-12 setback at Georgia. "To me, the big thing is that you've got to get the guys to play hard," Pruitt told reporters of the line. "You've got to get them to know what to do. You've got to get them to play with the right technique, the right body angles and learn to finish, and you just have to do what they know. Don't ask them to do things they can't do."
ABOUT AUBURN (4-2, 1-2)
The Tigers ended up winning five in a row - capped by a win over Alabama in the Iron Bowl - to win the SEC West in 2017, and the hope is that the 2018 version of the team can show similar improvement. "Our team is in a good spot mentally for everything that we went through the first half of the season," Malzahn told reporters. "And I think we're set up to improve each week. We've done that the last few seasons. I think we'll do that again this year." That improvement has to start with quarterback Jarrett Stidham, who is completing 56.8 percent of his passes with one TD and two interceptions in SEC play.
1. Auburn enters the week ranked sixth in FBS in scoring defense, allowing an average of 14.3 points.
2. Tennessee LB Darrell Taylor recorded three sacks and two forced fumbles in the loss to Georgia.
3. The Tigers took the last six meetings, most recently claiming a 55-23 win at the Volunteers on Nov. 9, 2013.
PREDICTION: Auburn 35, Tennessee 17
More college football scores
Copyright 2018 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit - All rights reserved.