Auburn-UT-Martin: A Closer Look

A preview of the Homecoming game between Auburn and Tennessee-Martin is featured.

UT-Martin By The Numbers:
UT-Martin is 32-59 all-time against teams that are currently playing Division I football, although many of those games came when teams were playing at a lower level. That includes a 56-7 loss at USF to start the 2008 season. In that game South Florida held the Skyhawks to only 97 yards of total offense. Since the the lowest total offensive output for UT-Martin was 279 yards in a loss to Tennessee State. Five times they have gone over 400 yards this season.

Auburn By The Numbers:
The 319 passing yards by Kodi Burns last week against Ole Miss was the first time an Auburn quarterback threw for more than 300 yards since the first game of the 2005 season. In that game Brandon Cox threw for 342 yards in a loss to Georgia Tech. That season Cox threw for more than 250 times three times. He again topped the 250 mark three times in 2006. In 2007 it happened just one time, 259 yards against Tennessee Tech. In 2008 the Tigers got to 250 exactly against LSU before Burns' day on Saturday. That means Auburn has thrown for 250 yards only three times in its last 22 games.

UT-Martin Player To Watch:
Quarterback Cade Thompson. A signee of Steve Spurrier's at South Carolina, Thompson redshirted in 2005 and played in two games in 2006 before transferring to UT-Martin. The 2004 Tennessee Class 4A Mr. Football has been very good for the Skyhawks this season. In nine games he has completed 117-200 passes for 1,836 yards and 18 touchdowns with seven interceptions.

Wide receiver Roren Thomas

Auburn Player To Watch:
True freshman cornerback D'Antoine Hood. Playing well in his first career start last week, Hood will likely get plenty of action on Saturday as the Skyhawks send a pair of talented receivers at the Auburn secondary. Big 6-3, 215 Mike Hicks transferred from Ole Miss the day before fall practice and has made an impact. He leads the team with 40 catches for 607 yards and seven touchdowns. Speedy Roren Thomas is the big-play threat with 24 catches for 522 yards and six scores.

When UT-Martin Has The Ball:
Rounding out the trio of SEC transfers making a splash with the Skyhawks is running back Brandyn Young. Another South Carolina signee, the 5-8, 205 Young has rushed for 576 yards and 10 touchdowns on 108 carries this season. With Auburn's struggles to stop the run in recent weeks it will be key to slow down the powerful Young at the line of scrimmage.

When Auburn Has The Ball:
Once again the question will be just how well the Tigers can run the football? In 2008 UT-Martin is allowing 147.3 rushing yards per game, but that includes 300 yards and five touchdowns to South Florida and another 177 yards and four scores to Tennessee State, the two games they Skyhawks lost this season. Auburn must be able to drive the middle of the line back, not an easy task with 6-0, 290 Ray Williams and 6-1, 285 Jerrod Grace anchored down. If the Tigers struggle to run the football it could be another very frustrating day.

Analysis:
This isn't your typical homecoming game where the home team shows up, plays its starters for a half, then tries to end the game as quickly as possible. With Auburn beat up on both sides of the ball this one could come down to how many points the Tigers can score. That's not a very good feeling for the Tigers watching the offense this season, but they should be able to get the job done in a game that will be closer than many expected or hoped for.


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