Penn State’s run game versus the Bobcats was equally effective, as the team rushed for 234 yards and three scores. Nicholas Singleton caused the brunt of the damage, accumulating 179 yards and two touchdowns on just ten carries. In his debut at Beaver Stadium, the freshman set the record for most rushing yards by a player and became the first Nittany Lion since Larry Johnson in 2002 to have multiple touchdown runs of more than 40 yards with scores of 70 and 44 yards.
The Tigers just only lost one of their last 47 home games against non-conference opponents and enter Saturday riding a 17-game winning run in such matchups. Last week, Auburn outgained San Jose State on the run 210-54 and scored all three of its touchdowns on the ground. Robby Ashford led the club with 61 yards on seven attempts, while T.J. Finley scored one of the touchdowns on the ground.
Tank Bigsby, a junior, and Jarquez Hunter, a sophomore, also scored to give Auburn two of the six SEC players with at least three rushing touchdowns this season. Hunter leads the Tigers in rushing touchdowns with four after recording three as a freshman. After holding San Jose State to 332 yards last week, Auburn has allowed less than 400 yards in five consecutive games dating back to 2021.
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The Saturday before last, Auburn (2-0) defeated San Jose State (1-1) 24-16 despite committing numerous errors (nine penalties, two interceptions, and three fumbles, none of which were lost).
Penn State (2-0) was sharp in its dominant 46-10 victory over Ohio (0-2). (1-1). One of the most significant contests between these two teams is who starts at quarterback. The Tigers employ a two-pronged assault with TJ Finley, a drop-back passer, and Robby Ashford, a superb athlete who is a dynamic runner. In contrast, the Nittany Lions have a dependable senior quarterback in Sean Clifford.
In the previous year’s Iron Bowl, when the Tigers were 21-point home underdogs against Alabama, they nearly stunned the top-ranked Crimson Tide.
Auburn will play both Finley and Ashford at quarterback, but offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau is expected to rely heavily on the running game with Tank Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter.
Breakaway danger Bigsby has run for 198 yards and three touchdowns this season. Four times, Hunter has scored, and his average yardage per carrying is 4.7. Ashford will also receive the majority of carries while he is calling the plays from the center. The Oregon transfer is the team’s second-leading rusher (9.9 yards per carrying, 129 yards on 13 carries).
The ability of Auburn’s front seven to stop the run and pressure the quarterback is a significant factor in the decision to take the points.
The Penn State Nittany Lions have struggled to run the ball, and their pass protection has been inconsistent at times this season (they allowed three sacks to Ohio). This does not bode well against Auburn’s formidable front seven.
Joey Porter Jr. has the ability to shut down any Auburn wideout, and Penn State’s rush defence has been good enough through two games to contain Auburn’s running attack.
This game may quickly come down to special teams, and if that is the case, Auburn’s kicker Anders Carlson and punter Oscar Chapman will have the advantage.
Our pick: Under 47.5 points
Clifford has the edge in the quarterback comparison, but it remains to be seen if Penn State’s offensive line can contain Auburn’s defensive linemen.
The ability of Auburn’s front seven to stop the run and pressure the quarterback is a major factor in the decision to take the points. Colby Wooden, Jayson Jones (6-foot-6, 328 pounds), Marcus Harris, Derek Hall, and Eku Leota contribute significantly to the Tigers allowing just 2.1 yards per rush attempt.
On Saturday, making Penn State one-dimensional places Clifford in a difficult position.
Our Pick: Sean Clifford will throw for less than 232.5 yards.