Auburn begins SEC competition this week as the Tigers travel to Missouri for yet another Tigers vs. Tigers matchup. The game is set to kickoff at 6:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPNU.
So far, Auburn has not been the well-rounded, dominating team that many fans expected going into the season. In fact, whenever the offense would like to actually show up, that would be great. The Tigers could barely get the ball rolling against FCS foe Mercer last week, keeping the game to a one score lead until the fourth quarter. When they did get the ball rolling, it was actually rolling – on the ground – as the Tigers fumbled the ball four times and had a total of five turnovers when all was said and done. Despite ball control headaches, Jarrret Stidham had a solid performance with an 86.5 completion percentage. Stidham threw 32 passes for 364 yards and just one interception. He also put his feet to the test, rushing for 23 yards. While the offense continues to struggle, the Auburn defense remains the bright spot of the team, showcasing another dominating performance.
If Auburn has had a frustrating season so far, the other Tigers have been miserable. While Mizzou’s season appeared to be promising with four winnable games at home, the Tigers were barely able to edge out Missouri State and were decimated by South Carolina and Purdue by a combined score of 66-16. Last week against Purdue, Mizzou managed to put up just 70 rushing yards along with a passing game that went nowhere. They too have had trouble turning the ball over, and the defense can’t seem to stop any decent opponent.
So what will the matchup look like? It could be messy. If both teams show up like they have been, we may have a game with more turnovers than the Pillsbury Dough Boy. However, both teams need a solid performance, and this game is a chance to do just that. Auburn still needs to find its identity. After the dismissal of backup QB Sean White earlier this week, the team will definitely have some depth issues to work out. However, if the offense can hold on to the ball, if Jarret Stidham can have another solid performance, and if the defense continues to dominate, this should be an easy game for Auburn.
What can Mizzou do to win? Well, they better hope Auburn doesn’t fix that whole turnover issue. They’ll need all the chances they can get. However, the one thing Missouri has done right is putting pressure on the quarterback. The Tigers have come up with eight sacks so far and can generate decent pressure. That may prove to be another test to the Auburn offensive line which was torn apart by Clemson a few weeks ago.
If Auburn shows up ready to play, they should have their first SEC win in the bag. The Tigers will go on to play six more SEC games in a row, so Saturday is an opportunity to set the tone for the rest of the season.
Auburn vs. Missouri Prediction
Auburn – 34
Missouri – 10