AUBURN — Any glimmers of hope for Auburn football after this?
The Tigers (2-1) lost 41-12 to Penn State (3-0) on Saturday in a performance that sent the fans home early from Jordan-Hare Stadium.
There were a lot of failures on both sides of the court, so there are a lot of points that fall on this week’s tally after a rout by the No. 23 Nittany Lions (3-0).
Where to start from? With the failures of the red zone? With Auburn’s lack of a quarterback? Or with his apparent lack of faith in his best player, Tank Bigsby? The star running back carried the ball nine times for 39 yards, and quarterbacks TJ Finley and Robby Ashford were sacked six times with terrific offensive line protection. Auburn turned the ball over four times. Every moment that potential shined was immediately followed by a game three times worse.
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Auburn didn’t learn from Sean Clifford’s 28-for-32 performance last season. This time, he finished 14-for-19 with 178 yards. The running game was even worse. Auburn’s defensive front is supposed to be its biggest strength, but it was a pushover against a Big Ten offensive line. The Nittany Lions rushed for 245 yards on 39 carries.
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Special teams: B
Kudos to Anders Carlson for making his short field goals and the rest of Auburn’s special teams for avoiding utter embarrassment, as did the offense and defense.
Bryan Harsin talk will increase exponentially on talk radio this week, especially after his Tigers played worse after halftime. Part of this particular Φ has to do with recruiting. For Penn State, James Franklin introduced five-star freshman Nick Singleton, who exploded for 124 yards on 10 carries against a decidedly less talented Auburn team. Meanwhile, Harsin has yet to secure a commitment from a top-100 recruit in his tenure. This was one of Auburn’s biggest recruiting weekends of the year. Hard to imagine teenagers wanting to play on the Plains after experiencing it.
A failure in almost every way. (Again, kudos to the special teams for flying under the radar.) Auburn should feel lucky to have a weak Missouri team visiting next week.
This article originally appeared in the Montgomery Advertiser: Auburn football vs. Penn State scores: Not enough F’s to go around