The Auburn Tigers are flying high and seem to finally be clicking following two straight dominating performances against Missouri and Mississippi State. The Tigers are currently on a three-game winning streak and are looking to continue that streak against a shaky Ole Miss team this coming Saturday.
The biggest challenge the Tigers are facing Saturday might not be a player or a match-up, but the time of kickoff. The Tigers are scheduled to take on the Rebels at 11 a.m., and that might spell bad news for Gus Malzahn's group.
Recently, after big games, Auburn has struggled playing in early kickoff games. Since 2015, in the regular season, the Tigers are just 3-3 in 11 a.m. kickoffs.
After a big opening day win against Louisville, the early game struggles began when Auburn hosted Jacksonville State in 2015. The No. 6 Tigers struggled to hold on to the ball, and turned it over three times in the game. But, Auburn rallied late and narrowly escaped one of the worst upsets in college football history by squeaking out an overtime victory against the Gamecocks 27-20.
The struggles only got worse for the Tigers in 2015, as they would go on and drop the next three 11 a.m. kickoff games bringing their 11 a.m. record to 1-3.
In 2016, Auburn seemed to turn around the 11 a.m. struggles with a dominating win over Mississippi State, but the game-time effects were apparent against Vanderbilt. What stood out about the Vanderbilt game was that it came the Saturday after a big road win against Ole Miss, unlike an easy victory over ULM before the Mississippi State game.
The Tigers were riding momentum and a five-game win streak into the game, but struggled early against the Commodores, recording only nine yards passing in the first half. Thanks to the second half spark from banged up Sean White and a late game interception from Josh Holsey, the Tigers pulled it out, 23-16.
Auburn is once again coming off of a big win and has to face another 11 a.m. kick off. The game against Ole Miss is set up exactly like past games in which the Tigers have struggled, however, the Rebels stand in the way of No. 12 Auburn at a point in the season where Jarrett Stidham and the defense are dominating every opponent in their path.