Shon Coleman (above) starts at left tackle for the Tigers.
Auburn, Ala.--Shon Coleman has seen his share of adversity having had to wait two full seasons to play football at Auburn after a battle with cancer that he was diagnosed with as a high school senior. Now a junior starting left tackle for the second straight year, Coleman and the Tigers have struggled so far this season with back-to-back losses to LSU and Mississippi State to drop to 0-2 in the SEC and 2-2 overall.
For the first time this season in Saturday’s 17-9 loss to Mississippi State, the offense showed potential that it can become a good running team. However, four trips to the red zone resulted in only a pair of field goals for the Tigers. An interception thrown by Sean White on the first drive of his career and a missed field goal from 26 yards by usually reliable Daniel Carlson left points on the field.
Auburn did rush for a season-high 201 yards and passed for another 188 yards for 389 yards offense with White at the helm in place of Jeremy Johnson, who was benched after starting the Tigers’ first three games.
“I thought he did great," Coleman said. "He definitely had a lot of confidence, which he has gained throughout the week at practice. Sean is a tough guy and watching him dive and run with the ball, we expected stuff like that. We knew he could do it because he is a tough kid. He has great character. The future is bright. He can run, throw and pass the ball.
What did bother Coleman was what happened in the red zone. “We had a couple of mistakes," he said. "Obviously, we turned the ball over. We just have to stop beating ourselves. We definitely can improve from today. We got the ball down there and it is frustrating but it is nothing we can’t learn and build from. Offensively, running the ball more is a great starting point. We, as a team, can definitely build from there.”
How does Coleman think the Tigers are mentally with two SEC losses?
“We lost two games, but we can definitely learn from it. We will grow from these losses and not check out of the competition because of it. We will move on from here and still work towards achieving everything we want to achieve. We improved greatly. Guys are still coming into their own in their specific positions, but we can definitely improve. The most important thing is that everyone is willing to learn from their mistakes and with that belief, anything is possible. We can only go up from here,” he said.
As for the offensive line, Coleman sees improvement.
“We are not where we want to be, but we are definitely coming together. We have a lot of first-year players on the offensive line. We have a new center and he has to make calls. As a whole, we are trying to adjust and get that chemistry going,” Coleman noted.
In other news and notes:
- Auburn placekicker Daniel Carlson has three of the 15 longest field goals in college football this season. His 56-yard against Louisville that tied the school record is the second longest of the season. He had a 49-yarder against Jacksonville State and a 51-yarder against Mississippi State.
- Carlson’s miss to the right with seconds remaining in the first half was his of the season after making his first three attempts. He made three second-half field goals for all of Auburn’s scoring in the 17-9 loss.
- Peyton Barber had a 100-plus yard rushing performance for the third time this season; others were against Louisville and Jacksonville State. Barber’s 27 rushes and 137 rushing yards were both career highs.
- Kerryon Johnson’s 18-yard reception from Sean White in the first quarter was a career long reception for Johnson. Marcus Davis’ 22-yard reception in the first quarter was his longest since Texas A&M in 2013 (27 yards). Chandler Cox’s 10-yard reception was the longest of the freshman’s career. Nine different receivers caught at least one pass for Auburn to mark a season high.
- Auburn’s 50 rushing carries and 201 rushing yards tonight were season-high for the Tigers
- Jonathan Jones’ fumble recovery in the third quarter was the first of the senior’s career. Carlton Davis’ forced fumble was the first of the freshman’s career.
- Auburn is 56-24-2 all-time in SEC home openers. The Tigers are now 61-26-2 in their series with Mississippi State. It was the only the Bulldogs seventh win at Auburn in 35 visits.
- Prior to the Mississippi State game members Auburn’s 1957 national championship team were honored. Those Tigers went 10-0 while allowing only 28 points the entire season.
- Spirit, Auburn’s bald eagle, had an extended pre-game flight.
- The Mississippi State game was the 11th consecutive for Auburn, a record since the stadium was expanded to its current capacity in 2004
- Commemorative helmet stickers were worn by the Tigers to promote prostate cancer awareness in honor of retired SEC Commissioner Mike Slive who is being treated for the disease.
- Senior captain Johnathan Wallace is one of 11 FBS student-athletes named to the 2015 Allstate AFCA Good Works team for community service.