Auburn football is back on the gridiron following a nearly three-week hiatus when it faces Tennessee on Saturday night. Here’s a look at how the two teams have matched up historically.
Tennessee was one of two teams added from the SEC East to the Tigers’ 2020 schedule to accommodate the 10-game conference slate. Auburn leads the all-time series 28-22-3, winning six of the last seven matchups.
The loss in that span of seven games was Tennessee’s latest trip to Auburn in 2018, where the Volunteers snuck away with a 30-24 victory over then-ranked No. 24 Auburn.
Auburn and Tennessee first collided in 1900, nine years after the Tigers’ first fielded a football team in 1891. It was played in Birmingham, Alabama, and Auburn blanked Tennessee 23-0 in its first game of the season.
It took 29 years for the two schools to meet again, in 1929. This time it was legendary Tennessee head coach Bob Neyland who led the Volunteers to a 27-0 victory.
However, in 1956, a rivalry between the two schools was initiated and they played every year until 1992. Over the 36 games in just as many years, Auburn went 19-14-3.
Looking back in recent matchups, the games have been close. In three of the previous four games, the losing team has been within one possession of either tying or taking the lead. This was true in the latest edition, where Auburn lost 30-24.
Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn has not forgotten about that loss.
“That was a very, very tough loss all things considered,” Malzahn said in his Tuesday press conference. “We turned the ball over, they made some plays when they had to, we didn’t play very well that day and they had something to do with it. They played well. That was a tough loss so we’re glad to have a chance to play them again.”
Saturday’s game is similar to that 2018 matchup in some fortuitous ways. In 2018, Auburn was 4-2 and ranked No. 24 heading into the Tennessee game. Now, in 2020, Auburn is 4-2 and ranked No. 23 going into Saturday’s matchup. Tennessee also yields some similarities, entering the 2018 contest at 2-3 and this season’s contest at 2-4.
In the 53 matchups all-time, the Tigers have never lost back-to-back games in Auburn to Tennessee. Malzahn and company look to keep this trend alive on Saturday when the game kicks off at 6 p.m. CST. It will be broadcast on ESPN.