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A spirit that is not afraid

COLUMN | Is Tank Bigsby back to being a tank?

<p>Tank Bigsby (4) is wrapped up during a football game between Ole Miss and Auburn on Oct. 30, 2021, from Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, AL, USA.</p>

Tank Bigsby (4) is wrapped up during a football game between Ole Miss and Auburn on Oct. 30, 2021, from Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, AL, USA.

The consensus No. 1 running back in the nation entering the 2021 season has looked anything but No. 1 midway through the season. 

A strong showing against Ole Miss may catapult the rushing phenom back to his usual self as Auburn prepares for its final SEC West stretch.

Tank Bigsby has struggled this season. No way beating around that bush. 

In the Tigers’ first SEC game of the season against LSU, Bigsby rushed for just 27 yards. A year prior, he rushed for 71 yards against the same team. 

The Georgia game is one that can’t necessarily be put on Bisby’s shoulders alone. There was no way Auburn was going to get its stagnant run game moving in the right direction against the best front seven in college football. But the following week wasn't the case.

What was supposed to be a bounce back game, with both the offensive line and Auburn's running backs talking about the importance of establishing the run against a talented opponent, was delayed once again after Bigsby rushed for just 68 yards. 

While 68 yards on the ground against Arkansas isn’t bad by any means, the best running back in the nation can do better. What it did show is that Bigsby was getting back into his usual groove and built momentum for the Tigers' next matchup, which proved to be his bounce back break out game. 

Tank showed he is back to being Tank against Ole Miss. Or at least, on the way to being back.

The 5-foot-10 running back rushed for 140 yards and ran all over Kiffin and company, plunging in the end zone for a score while averaging 6.1 yards a carry.

Ole Miss averaged 180 rush yards given up a game and Bigsby almost singlehandedly hit that mark.

Some pointed out that the Ole Miss defense was looking extremely vulnerable, but Bigsby wasn’t just blasting through gaping holes. He was pushing through contact and churning yards after what should’ve been a few tackles for loss. Back to old Bigsby things. 

Last year, Bigsby was the second best rusher after contact with 3.6 yards a carry after the initial hit, according to SEC StatCat. 

While the offensive line has a lot to with the success of the run game, this year’s line is on par or even slightly better than last year’s. 

With the return of Austin Troxell and the oncoming of Keiondre Jones and Killian Zierer, Auburn’s offensive line is almost where it needs to be to get Bigsby to at least 75 yards a game — he’s just gotta get back to his old self again.

"I know some people thought maybe he was in a funk for a little bit, but Tank brings that same energy every week,” said Auburn starting center Nick Brahms.

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Larry Robinson | Photo Editor

Larry is a senior studying journalism with a minor in sociology. He is from Enterprise, Alabama and is in his third year with The Auburn Plainsman. 

Twitter: @ReportingLarry

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