Auburn football: Tigers’ defense key to season-opening win

For a team predicated mainly on offense, Auburn football’s defense surprised many by shining brightly in a 41-7 season opening win over the Georgia Southern Eagles.

A unit that saw top defensive tackle Carl Lawson, among others, leave for the NFL after last season found a way to stop the triple option attack the Eagles’ run. An attack that gave a ranked Florida team fits a few seasons ago in what ended up being one of college football’s biggest upsets.

That proved to be no problem for the Tigers, as they held a top FCS offense to 78 total yards. The Eagles also went 0-for-16 on third down conversions and saw freshman quarterback Shai Werts sacked often.

With the game still hanging in the balance, the Tigers defense gave new quarterback Jarrett Stidham time to work out the kinks. Though it took time, the junior college transfer who last played a game two seasons ago at Baylor finally settled in. He began to make better decisions, showing the poise of a veteran as the game wore on.

Turnovers were an issue for the Tigers this game, especially in the first half. Stidham and third string running back Cam Martin each had multiple giveaways, something that must be nipped in the bud fairly quickly. Giving Georgia Southern five extra possessions didn’t hurt too bad, but if that were to happen next week against the defending national champions in Clemson or any SEC team Auburn could find themselves in big trouble.

Speaking of those defending national champs, the Tigers face a huge test next Saturday when they square off against Clemson on the road. Kickoff is set for 7 pm ET and will be nationally televised on ESPN. What did you think of the game? How do you think Auburn will fare against Clemson next week?

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