Now with two conference losses on the season, Auburn is back home to face Tennessee.
The Tigers have now gone three straight games without 100 yards rushing, and the odds of a SEC West title are falling away.
In a home meeting that will showcase how Auburn moves forward with offensive struggles, head coach Gus Malzahn will hope to get his team on track for a tough second half of the season.
The Volunteers meet the Tigers inside Jordan-Hare Stadium, and Auburn has redemption on its mind. Here is a quick look on some players to watch in Auburn's home return:
Players to watch:
Daniel Bituli (Tennessee):
Bituli is the returning and current leading tackler for Tennessee and has been one of the few bright spots on struggling Volunteer squad. The Volunteers are currently ranked No. 65 in the country by allowing 158 rushing yards per game, while Auburn, despite not rushing for 100 yards in three-straight games, has averaged 163.8 yards per game.
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Auburn has averaged 35.2 rushing attempts per game for this season, and Bituli’s ability to snuff out run plays will dictate if Tennessee can stay in this game or not.
Darrell Taylor (Tennessee):
Any team that faces Auburn’s abysmal offensive line will have its top pass rusher as a player to watch.
Taylor is coming into the Auburn game after a strong showing against second-ranked Georgia. He recorded three sacks against the Bulldogs two weeks earlier, and the extra week to prepare should give Taylor an edge against a banged-up Auburn offensive line.
Jarrett Guarantano (Tennessee):
The Tennessee passing game has been inconsistent to say the least.
Most of the blame falls on Guarantano. The sophomore has trouble knowing when to get rid of the football and spending too much time in the pocket. Against a dominant Auburn front that allows 188 yards through the air per game, Guarantano will need to adjust to have success. Whether Guarantano falls back into his habits will determine if Saturday is a long and painful day for him.
Marlon Davidson (Auburn):
After a season of battling injuries, Davidson is back to full strength and playing back up to his standards.
The third-year starter has improved his pass rush abilities by leading the team in quarterback hurries through the first six games with six. Davidson also comes in at No. 5 on the team for total tackles, and with a higher rate than last year. Davidson will be lined up against versatile lineman Trey Smith for a battle that is must-see T.V.
Darius Slayton (Auburn):
After several offensive blunders, a lot rides on this week’s performance to get the Tigers back on track.
A large part of last season's success came from the deep ball, which became Slayton's specialty by averaging 22.2 yards per reception in 2017. Expect the Tigers to hold nothing back this week to silence the murmurings about the team’s offensive struggles, and expect Slayton to play a big part in that.
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