With its first appearance in the Swamp since 2007, the Auburn Tigers are ready for the most anticipated game of the week against the Florida Gators.
Facing a Top Defense
The Auburn running game has been electric. Led by JaTarvious Whitlow, the Tigers are averaging over 250 yards per game on the ground. Bo Nix has also been elite, throwing for 980 yards and seven touchdowns through 5 games. Part of his success can be attributed to the offensive line which has given him plenty of time to throw the ball. However, they haven’t faced a defense like Florida’s.
The Gators’ defense has allowed less than nine points per game thanks to one of the best pass rushes in the nation. The Gators rank 17th in the nation in total defense, are tied for second with 24 sacks and are tied for the top spot with nine interceptions. Florida has given up only 281.2 yards and 8.8 points per game. Linebacker Jonathan Greenard has been a force, posting four sacks, an interception and a forced fumble. Six defensive backs have recorded an interception this season.
“They really get out wide and get off the ball well,” said Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn. “Its been impressive watching them all season and get after quarterbacks the way they do.”
For Auburn to be successful this week, the O-line needs to buy Nix time in the pocket and create space for Whitlow to run. With the way the Gator defense rushes, the Tigers’ second leading rusher in Nix won’t be very active when he gets out of the pocket.
— Southeastern Conference (@SEC) September 30, 2019
The Auburn Defense
The Tigers’ offense has been playing great, but their defense has also been a huge key to their success. Auburn’s defense, which has allowed 17.2 points per game, is seventh in the nation with 45 tackles for loss, including 13 sacks. Tyrone Truesdell leads the team with three sacks. The Tigers have just one interception, but they have batted down 17 passes and allow just 225 passing yards per game.
Kyle Trask has been looking good for the Gators stepping in for Feleipe Franks. However, he does still make some mistakes when pressured. The Tigers will be looking to attack Trask but should focus on containing Van Jefferson. Van Jefferson leads the elite Gator receiving core with 18 catches for 248 yards and two touchdowns. With the Tigers’ secondary battling every 50/50 ball the way they have, they can possibly force Florida to move to the run game which has been somewhat questionable.
This is the first top-10 matchup in the Swamp since 2012. Auburn is 9-23 in Gainesville, but the Tigers have won the past three times in Gainesville.
The undefeated teams will kick things off at 3:30 this Saturday.