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Adding Sharife Cooper to the mix adds some more firepower

The Auburn Tigers had a rough start to the season, not to mention the year. A worldwide pandemic has put a damper on the collegiate season as a whole, and to add onto that their star player was forced to sit for 11 games. But with Sharife Cooper finally on the court, what has he brought to the table for the Tigers?

Auburn Tigers wide receiver Kobe Hudson (5) runs through a tackle during the first half of the NCAA Citrus Bowl football game in Orlando, Fla., Friday, Jan. 1, 2021. (Orlando Sentinel Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr.)

Running out of Steam

Auburn has now officially closed out the Gus Malzahn era finishing this COVID-altered year with a 6-5 record, following a 35-19 loss to Northwestern in the Citrus Bowl.  The Tigers will now look ahead to next year and the beginning of the Bryan Harsin era on the plains.

Oct 3, 2020; Starkville, Mississippi, USA; Bo Nix (10) giving ball to Tank Bigsby (4) during the game between Auburn and Mississippi State at Davis Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics

Auburn Meets Northwestern in Citrus Bowl

Auburn (6-4) squares off with Northwestern (6-2) to ring in the new year of 2021 on January 1st at noon central time.  The Tigers will be transitioning from the Gus Malzahn era to the Bryan Harsin era, although current defensive coordinator Kevin Steele will act as the interim head coach for the Tigers in the Citrus Bowl.  Auburn is making their record-tying sixth appearance in this particular bowl game.   

Oct 3, 2020; Starkville, Mississippi, USA; Owen Pappoe (0) gets a sack during the game between Auburn and Mississippi State at Davis Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics

Auburn's defense leads the charge in 24-10 victory

Auburn's defense held Mississippi State to 10 points on Saturday, behind Roger McCreary and Smoke Monday's interceptions.  “It looked like an Auburn defense,” Malzahn said. “Really proud of those guys and the effort that they had tonight.”

Oct 3, 2020; Starkville, Mississippi, USA; Tank Bigsby (4) avoiding tackle during the game between Auburn and Mississippi State at Davis Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics

Rolling With the Tank

For the first three quarters, Auburn and Mississippi State struggled in a defensive stalemate.  When the offense finally arrived to Starkville in the fourth quarter, it was the Tigers' offense which shined.  Auburn scored two fourth quarter touchdowns to pull away from the Bulldogs and end this COVID altered regular season on a high note with a 24-10 road triumph. 

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