Penn State
Auburn running back Tank Bigsby (4) carries the ball against San Jose State during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Auburn Set for Home Test Against No. 22 Penn State

The Auburn Tigers host the No. 22 Penn State Nittany Lions this Saturday as they take on their first ranked opponent. Auburn is 2-0 on the season defeating Mercer and San Jose State.

Penn State enters the matchup 2-0 after sneaking past Purdue in their opener and defeating Ohio in week two.

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Auburn’s Obstacles

On the offensive side of the ball, Auburn’s TJ Finley hasn’t had the best start to the season. Finley has completed 64.7 percent of his passes thus far and has just one touchdown pass and three interceptions. This game will likely come down to whether Finley plays smart and manages the game or if he succumbs to the pressure of the Penn State defensive line.

Another key factor in this game will be Auburn’s ability to run the ball efficiently. Penn State’s defensive line will be the biggest and most experienced the Tigers have faced so far this year. The Tiger’s offensive line will need to give running backs Tank Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter some breaks. If the Tigers can’t get a push, they will struggle on the offensive side.

Penn State’s Perks

Penn State’s offense, led by sixth-year quarterback Sean Clifford, has looked very balanced. Clifford is one of the biggest weapons for Penn State as he is an experienced game manager. If Auburn gives him time, he will pick them apart. The Auburn defensive line will need to keep constant pressure on him throughout the night.

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Penn State also boasts talented veteran receivers led by Mitchell Tinsley, who had 1,000 receiving yards last season. The Auburn secondary struggled against San Jose State, so they will need to be on their A game as they line up against the Penn State wideouts.

What to Expect…

If Auburn is able to make strides on offense, they’ll have a shot at knocking off a ranked opponent. If the Nittany Lions defense is able to take control and frazzle Finley, it will be a long night for the Tigers.

About Kate Caranante

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