Baton Rouge, La.--Gus Malzahn said following Saturday’s loss to LSU that this Auburn Tigers team “is going to get better and roll our sleeves up,” but that still may not be enough to salvage what is turning into a sinking season for the Tigers.
A disaster on both sides of the ball, Auburn’s performance against LSU was one that makes last week’s close win over Jacksonville State make more sense.
The question coming out of the first two games for the Tigers remained, just how good was this Auburn team? That has now been answered and answered emphatically through three games. They are not a good football team.
Pounded into submission by Leonard Fournette and an LSU ground game that piled up 411 yards on Saturday, the Auburn defense continued a trend dating back to last season of missed tackles and allowing way too many yards and points.
On the offense Jeremy Johnson again struggled, completing just 11-19 passes for 100 yards and one touchdown along with a fumble. The junior will get much of the blame for Saturday’s loss, something that comes with playing the position, but if there was ever a total team loss then what we witnessed in Tiger Stadium was just that.
That brings us to what’s next?
Where does this Auburn team go from here?
I’m not sure that’s a question that can be answered at the moment, but some will try to compare it to two years ago when Auburn lost to LSU in Baton Rouge. Malzahn said as much in his postgame, referencing the game in 2013 when Auburn mounted a strong comeback in the second half and left the field mad they didn’t win the game.
That’s not something we saw this time around. This Auburn team is one searching for an answer. That day Nick Marshall and Tre Mason took over the game on the ground and the defense found a way to make some plays, but other than a long run from Jeremy Johnson and a few solid runs by Peyton Barber, Roc Thomas and Kerryon Johnson, this Auburn team is left almost starting over after three games and that’s not good news.
“We’re going to evaluate everything after today,” Malzahn said after the loss. “That’s every position. We’ve got to get better. It’s not just him (Johnson), it’s all positions and that’s the way we’re going to operate.”
With Mississippi State up next on the schedule this is an Auburn team now teetering on the brink of another collapse. How they respond will be the key and we have a full week to find out just how that will happen.