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So-so start for Auburn’s Defense

Oct 3, 2020; Columbia, SC, USA; Smoke Monday (21) breaks up a pass during the game between Auburn and South Carolina at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics
Oct 3, 2020; Columbia, SC, USA; Smoke Monday (21) breaks up a pass during the game between Auburn and South Carolina at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics

Mediocrity is not a word that has been associated with Kevin Steele’s defense in the past, but with injuries and recent performances it is becoming the norm.

Going into the season, it was clear that this year it would be difficult for Auburn’s defense to maintain the dominance it has seen over the past few years. With the loss of Derrick Brown and Marlon Davidson to the NFL, the Tigers have lost two of their biggest playmakers from last season, and this year their absence is showing.

Over the first four games of the season, Auburn has allowed 54.84% of 3rd down conversions to go through and have given up an average of 390 yards per game, 52 yards more than last season

However, the Tigers’ first loss to South Carolina in 87 years could not be blamed on a poor effort from the defense. Even with Auburn’s 481 total yards, Bo Nix’s three interceptions forced the defense on the field longer than they needed to be and gave the South Carolina offense short fields to work with. All three led to touchdown drives for the Gamecocks.

Auburn Linebacker Zakoby McClain had a solid performance last week with 13 tackles and one sack on the night, and freshman Colby Wooden had two tackles for a loss. The defense as a whole had their best game of the year in terms of yards allowed, only giving up 297 total yards.

Now with the losses of linebacker K.J. Britt and Zykeivous Walker for the time being, the Tigers will have to adapt and build off of their performance against South Carolina if they are going to put up a fight against the team that put on 48 points against Alabama.

Kickoff versus Ole Miss is set for 11:00 AM CT on the SEC Network, this Saturday October 24, 2020.

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