Quarterback Jarrett Stidham and the Auburn offense may be struggling as of late, but a bright spot for the Tigers is a talented group of receivers that has continued to impress.
While the run game has been struggled by not topping 100 yards rushing in three games, the receivers have needed to step and make big plays. Through six games, 16 different receivers have caught at least one pass this season.
Stidham has been complimentary of his receivers so far this season in making big plays.
"I think they’re big keys to our offense," Stidham said. "They’re playmakers, and we like to try and get them the ball as much as we can, as often as we can. I think for us to be successful, we’ve got to get the ball in our playmakers’ hands, whether it’s those two, or Seth, or Flash, or whoever it may be. We’ve got to get the ball in those guys’ hands and let them make plays."
Ryan Davis is currently fourth on Auburn's all-time reception list with 138 grabs through four seasons. Stidham-to-Davis is now the second-most productive pass tandem in Auburn history with 114 connections.
Davis added to that total with eight catches for 91 yards in a loss to Mississippi State, including a deep sideline pass for 42.
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The freshmen receivers have also impressed, as Seth Williams and Anthony Schwartz have combined for 305 yards and two touchdowns through the air this season. In addition, Schwartz has emerged as a factor in the rushing game this season with two touchdowns and 78 yards rushing. Williams impressed with an electrifying 46-yard jump-ball touchdown against Southern Miss.
Head coach Gus Malzahn said he can see both Williams and Schwartz becoming big-time playmakers for the Tigers in the second half of the season.
"They’ve got useful information now on playmakers, on who needs to be on the field, who needs to be touching the ball," Malzahn said. "Not just with Anthony, the second half I think you’ll see some little tweaks. I think offensively, especially Saturday, if we hadn’t of left a few out there, I think it would feel a little bit different than we do now about improving in some areas."
To prevail through the second half of the season, Auburn will need its playmakers to continue making big plays.
Auburn's six final regular-season games include matchups at top-ranked Alabama, at second-ranked Georgia and home against No. 22 Texas A&M. This weekend, No. 21 Auburn takes on Tennessee at Jordan-Hare Stadium this Saturday at 11 a.m. CST.
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