The Auburn offense shined in the Bryan Harsin debut with a convincing 60-10 victory over the Akron Zips on Saturday night. It was also a return to full capacity at Jordan-Hare Stadium, and the Auburn faithful had plenty to cheer about in week one. The Auburn offense totaled 612 total yards of offense, including 297 yards through the air. The defense was just as impressive giving up just 188 yards, and negative three yards on the ground.
Auburn Offense Shines in Bryan Harsin Debut
The Tank Got Loose
The centerpiece of the Auburn offensive attack is second-year running back and 2020 SEC Freshman of the Year Tank Bigsby. Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo featured Bigsby early and often. On the first offensive possession of the game, Bigsby got four carries on six of the plays. After two four-yard runs and a nine-yarder, he broke a run of 32 yards to get Auburn into the end zone for the first time for the evening with 6:55 in the first. Bigsby would get his other touchdown late in the second quarter on a one-yard run to help put Auburn up 34-0 with 3:13 until halftime. On the evening, he had 119 yards on 13 carries mostly done in the first half.
Bo Nix Was Efficient
A big question coming into the season was how Bo Nix would look in the new Bryan Harsin-Mike Bobo offense. Nix on the evening showed the potential that was promised when he arrived on campus in 2019 going 20 for 22 and 275 yards with three touchdowns. The first passing score occurred on the second Auburn possession when Nix connected with running back Shaun Shivers for a 19-yard touchdown. After getting the ball back from the Zips via turnover on downs, Nix found Ja’Varrius Johnson for a 34-yard strike. That score put Auburn up 20-0 with 14:52 left in the second.
After another Akron punt that saw Auburn start at their own 8, Nix found Shedrick Jackson for 42 yards to put Auburn at the 50. Five plays later on a third and five play, the signal-caller hit Kobe Hudson for 28 yards and the third passing touchdown of the game. That pass put Auburn up 27-0 with 9:44 in the second. Nix also showed off his running ability with 32 yards on three carries and connected with seven different receivers. LSU transfer T.J. Finley would replace Nix early in the third after Auburn went up 46-0 after a safety.
Auburn Defense Relentless
New Auburn defensive coordinator Derek Mason had the Tiger defense ready on Saturday night. The Tigers only allowed 191 yards total and stuffed any attempts at running by the Zips. Most of those yards came in the second half when Auburn had pulled their starters on both offense and defense. Akron attempted 36 runs on the evening and averaged just -0.1 yards an attempt. Passing did not come easy either, with Auburn getting six sacks on the evening.
One of the leaders was T.D. Moultry with seven total tackles and three for a loss. Defensive tackle Marquis Burks led the way with sacks with two on the evening. The team as a whole had 11 tackles for a loss.
Next up for Auburn will be Alabama State coming to the Plains. This will be another opportunity to get multiple players in and get more confidence before they make a trip to Happy Valley to play Penn State in week three. That will be when it will be known if this Auburn is better or just beat up on a much inferior opponent as they did against Akron.