Auburn Eyes November Championship Run
By Dan Harralson
The Auburn Tigers looked impressive once again against Florida Atlantic. The Tigers jumped out to a 38-0 lead right before halftime and cruised on to victory, 45-10.
Nick Marshall left the game with a shoulder injury, opening the door for other quarterbacks to play. Marshall's injury does not look serious. He appeared to injure his right shoulder with 8:02 remaining in the first quarter by lowering his shoulder as he ran near the sideline, knocking cornerback D'Joun Smith to the turf.
Malzahn did not talk about Marshall's injury after the game, but he is happy about players stepping up when they are called upon.
"Coach Malzahn always tells me to prepare as a starter, stay focused like the starter," said backup quarterback Jeremy Johnson. "Really, that's all I did throughout the week and throughout the game, so I just came in and executed."
The story of the game was Auburn's offense — 628 yards of it. Auburn likes to run the ball and the Tigers ran for 422 yards on the ground.
“They have a great running game," FAU coach Carl Pelini said. "We were not surprised at all. We knew they had a great game. They did not do anything really surprise wise."
`Auburn never has produced three 600-yard games in a single season. Saturday represented the third consecutive game in which the Tigers have eclipsed 600 yards.
"I really felt like our guys were ready to play," Malzahn said. "There were a lot of questions about how we would respond after a big win. I'd say our guys answered that by jumping on them early and taking care of business."
What Does This Win Mean For Auburn?
This was Auburn's last non-conference game and it was a mere tuneup for the month of November.
Auburn travels to Arkansas this week and then to Tennessee. It should win those two, but Auburn's season will be defined by its final two games of the season when Georgia and Alabama pay visits to Jordan-Hare Stadium.
The interesting dynamic is that Auburn controls its own destiny to Atlanta. Four consecutive victories will have the Tigers playing for the SEC championship in Atlanta. With only one loss, Auburn will own the tiebreaker over Alabama if Malzahn and company can string together four more wins.
“Any time you’re winning, you’re playing pretty good football," Malzahn said. "You have some things you can build upon. Every week’s different.”