Shon Coleman and the rest of the Auburn offense couldn't get the football into the end zone on Saturday night.
Auburn, Ala.--Auburn extended its SEC conference game losing streak, dating back to last season, to five games after falling to Mississippi State 17-9 on Saturday night. The team’s struggles moving the football continued as Head Coach Gus Malzahn’s offense failed to score a touchdown against the Bulldogs.
The last time the Tigers went without scoring a touchdown on offense was in former Head Coach Gene Chizik’s final game at Auburn, a 49-0 thrashing at Alabama in 2012. During the same season was the last occasion a Gus Malzahn-coached team went without a touchdown. That happened when Arkansas State lost to Nebraska 42-13.
“Yes, it’s very frustrating,” said sophomore running back Peyton Barber of the offense’s inability to find the end zone. “At the same time though, that let’s us know we have a lot of things to work on. It wasn’t so much (Mississippi State). It was us. We beat ourselves. We got a little overexcited once we got to the red zone. That’s something we can focus on (in practice) this week.”
Barber finished the game with a team-leading 27 carries for 137 yards and two catches for 19 yards.
However, the offense showed improvement especially in the running game. The group committed to the run, and this showed up in rushing attempts, yards gained and time of possession. Auburn ran 50 times for 201 yards and kept the ball for 36:10.
The biggest issues for the Tiger offense came when they reached the red zone. Four trips to MSU’s end of the field resulted in six points after two made field goals of 30 and 25 yards by sophomore Daniel Carlson. The kicker also missed a 26-yarder. The other trip to the red zone was on the first series of the contest which ended in an interception thrown by new starting quarterback Sean White. It was his first incompletion of his college career.
“I made a bad read,” White said about the interception, “but I’ll correct it in (the film room) and be better next week. The coaches told me, ‘Hey, you made a bad read, but move ahead to the next play.’ That’s what I think I tried to do.”
The focus going forward for this offense will most likely be improving the red zone touchdown efficiency rate and cutting down on the offensive line’s penalities.
“We’ve just got to stop making mistakes, said junior offensive tackle Shon Coleman. “We had the horsepower to get down there. We’ve just got to work on whatever mistakes were made. Obviously whenever we start a drive off and get penalities, that kind of hurts us a little bit. We’ve just got to build on (what we did right).”
Coleman note that he believes the troubles in the red zone and overall haven’t discouraged the team. “Attitudes are good,” he said. “I know we’ve lost two games, but we’re still coming together. We’re trying to play the right way with a lot of confidence.”