How Auburn Can Beat Clemson In Season Opener
When Clemson comes to Auburn this Saturday we will see two teams with big chips on their shoulders. Clemson was set to win the National Title last year and actually played the most complete game. Alabama came up with the biggest plays when they were needed and proved once again why Saban is one of the best coaches in college football.
On the other hand, Auburn had a disappointing season last year and they felt like they were much better than the record indicated. This season they are projected to finish at the bottom of the SEC West. With so much talent on both sides of the ball they feel they have chance to do something special this year. Can they pull of the biggest opening weekend upset?
The key to any hope for a win this Saturday relies heavily on this Auburn defense. Many are saying this squad has the potential to be the best defense we have seen on the plains since the 90’s. With some outstanding talent like DE Carl Lawson and a young talented corner like Carlton Davis, this defense should be fun to watch.
They have more talent than just those two positions however. Montravious Adams set to hit the best form of his career this season. I think we have yet to see his best and he has been very good. He lines up next to Dontavious Russell who is as solid as they come. The front seven for Auburn is certainly capable of being something special this year.
With Tray Matthews and Johnathon Ford at safety there is reason to believe their experience and growth from last season will mean Auburn has a stronger secondary than we have seen in several years. There are some questionable spots on defense to be sure, but this team is loaded up in nearly every position and has the talent to get the job done. Unlike the past couple of seasons they have some depth as well. The two-deep looks solid at nearly every position.
They need to not only pressure the Heisman favorite, Deshaun Watson, but actually stop him. When he gets loose he can be more dangerous than when he is in the pocket. Making him move isn’t going to help. He needs to be hit and brought down. A lot. The secondary will have to help with this and stick the receiving corps. That will be much easier said than done.
If the defense can have reasonable success and limit what Clemson can do in the passing game, they can definitely stop the run. So it’s a matter of best vs best and seeing who wins the battle. With Auburn’s untested offense they will be counting heavily on the defense to keep the score as low as possible to give them a chance to match point-for-point and be in this game late. Otherwise it could be over early.
What can we say about this offense. The offensive line with Golson, Kazan, Dampeer and Smith should be solid. And there has never been a Gus Malzahn offense that couldn’t run the ball no matter the personnel he had on the field. So we think there will be some running success this season. But will it come as early as the first game? That’s the big question that no one can answer.
Clemson lost key big time play makers on every level of it’s defense from last year. There are a lot of unknowns for them. We expect them to be solid thanks to some good recruiting, but just like Auburn’s offense there is much unknown. The big question will be in this match-up. Can this new untested Auburn offense get the best of a Clemson defense that looks good but is untested as well.
Sean white is a guy that hates to lose. Before his injury last season he proved he could run the ball. He is not strictly a pocket passer, he can scramble. But he is small for a running QB and injuries are a concern. Is he fragile or was last year just his year to get injured. We will know this season, but right now he is 100% and ready to go.
If he can help with the running game and keep the Clemson defense worried about the run, then he can potentially make the big plays downfield for points. With only one senior receiver in Marcus Davis, this receiving crew is young and unproven. They are very talented though and have drawn strong praise from Gus Malzahn and Rhett Lashley in recent days.
I do think Clemson will win this game but I think even with a loss we could see what the rest of the season will look like. If this defense manages to hold back the high scoring offense of Clemson, suddenly the rest of the season looks very manageable. If this offense can score and keep it close then we get a glimpse of how good they could be. On the other hand if it looks like a train wreck on both sides of the ball, Auburn fans may prepare for another long one.
I think with this defense Auburn can keep it closer than everyone thinks. The line in Vegas is 7.5. If the game really is that close then we could see some Auburn heroics in the last minutes to get the upset win.
I’m an Auburn fan so I have to pick them to win no matter what right? Auburn 27 Clemson 24. WAR EAGLE!