Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin waits for an video replay review during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Mississippi State, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

CFB: Auburn at South Carolina Preview

As the college football season dwindles down, the Auburn Tigers hit the road to take on the South Carolina Gamecocks in a Saturday night bout.

Auburn’s Fall From Grace

What a meteoric collapse it has been for Auburn these past two weeks.

Just two Saturdays ago, No. 13 Auburn was in control of its own destiny. Heading into their matchup against Texas A&M in Week 10, the Tigers had a path to the SEC Championship Game if they had won the remaining games on their schedule.

What happened soon after? Auburn pulls off a complete stinker against the Aggies, scoring just three points. The following week? The Tigers blow a 25 point lead against Mississippi State and lose by nine.

Now unranked and with any hopes of making the College Football Playoff or a New Year’s Six bowl game essentially down the drain, the woes for Auburn did not stop there.

Starting quarterback Bo Nix suffered a season-ending broken ankle and recently underwent surgery. Taking over the position will be sophomore T.J. Finley. Finley, a transfer from LSU, finally gets his opportunity to be the starting signal caller.

In fact, this will not be Finley’s first career start against South Carolina. While at LSU last season he started a game and defeated the Gamecocks.

Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin is fully confident in Finley’s ability to run the Tigers offense.

Where the Gamecocks Stand

Shane Beamer has done a respectable job in his first season as South Carolina’s head coach.

Expectations were not fairly high for the Gamecocks as they entered the 2021 season. However, they have been able to put together a 5-5 record thus far (including a dominant 40-17 victory over Florida) and are one win away from bowl eligibility.

South Carolina has a solid defensive unit, which leads the SEC with 22 turnovers. They also excel at the pass rush.

Game Breakdown

With T.J. Finley at the forefront, Auburn may rely more on its running game. This is especially likely considering the South Carolina’s run defense is suboptimal to its pass defense.

This game has a good chance of being a close one throughout. Auburn is certainly capable of holding its own. But with the team’s confidence ripped to shreds, it is possible that South Carolina’s defense holds its own and ultimately secures the bowl eligible sixth win at home.

About Ross Kaufman

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