Penn State’s white out is seen as one of the most hostile environments in all of college football, and while the Auburn defense knows that the crowd will be loud and present challenges, they know that all they have to do is beat the man across from them.
“We're definitely looking forward to it, it’s gonna be awesome, it’s gonna be fun,” said linebacker Chandler Wooten. “We play in the SEC, so we’ve been in a lot of cool stadiums, a lot of loud places, but at the end of the day it just comes down to doing your job. You gotta line up. There’s a man in front of you, and you play football. The crowd doesn’t affect that.”
Penn State runs a spread offense under first-year offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich, and that includes a lot of quick plays that the defense will have to be ready for.
“They do a lot of formation to the boundary,” said linebacker Owen Pappoe. “Gonna be a lot of quick game, gonna see a lot of screens. Their run game is solid too, so it’s gonna be a good game, gonna be a fun time to play defense.”
The leader of Penn State's offense is redshirt senior quarterback Sean Clifford, a starter since 2019. He is a dual-threat quarterback, so he can beat the defense in many ways. The Auburn defense knows they need to be ready for that.
“He’s a very experienced guy,” Wooten said. “He’s been in a lot of big games, so we know we’re getting an experienced quarterback, obviously he’s able to beat you with his feet and his arm. He can make all the throws, and him being able to run presents a different challenge for a defense, so we definitely have to be cued in."
In Week 1, Penn State defeated Wisconsin 16-10, and one of the main reasons for that was the big play ability of receiver Jahan Dotson. Dotson had five catches for 102 yards and a touchdown that game, with one of those receptions being a 49-yard touchdown to get the scoring started. A big task for Auburn will be eliminating the big-play threat.
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“We gotta keep the cap on [their offense], and eliminate the explosive plays,” Pappoe said. “We know they’re gonna go for the big plays, so we gotta do our best to stay on top of that.”
Auburn currently has the best defense in the country according to points allowed, sitting at five per game. They plan on keeping this high level of play up even against a stronger opponent like Penn State.
“That’s our plan for this weekend,” Pappoe said. “Our preparation going into this game is going to be the same as it’s been in camp and these past two previous weeks. So we’re just gonna go out there and do what we do, not gonna do anything special. We’re just gonna go out there and play Auburn football, fast and physical.”
Auburn will kick off in Beaver Stadium at 6:30 p.m. CST for its first away game of the season.
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