Auburn, AL – On September 16, 2023, Auburn faced Samford for their homecoming game, and as the 30th meeting between these two schools on the football field. The Auburn Tigers continued their win streak against the Samford Bulldogs, defeating them by a score of 45-13, extending Auburn’s overall record against Samford to 29-0-1.
Despite Auburn’s victory against Samford coach Hugh Freeze said, “That there were some really good things tonight and obviously some things we need to work on and clean up,” showing how Auburn still needs to improve to have a successful season. Both the offense and defense need to keep working hard to improve, and certainly defensively Auburn delivered another consistent performance.
Initially, the game appeared to be a defensive battle, as both teams’ defenses came out strong and ready to play, preventing either offense from getting in the endzone leading the first quarter to end as a scoreless competition. However, both offenses heated back up, and the Auburn defense still delivered a consistent and strong performance.
The Tigers defense is strong and continues to improve each week and according to Linebacker Larry Nixon III, the reason behind the defense improving is “our communication, chemistry, and everything….We had to get adjusted to each other and learn how we work together and play together.” It certainly takes time to learn how to work together, and Auburn’s defense has shown that they can work together to deliver strong performances.
One of the interesting things about the defensive plays in the game against Samford is the fact that there were two interceptions and two sacks in the game preventing Samford from scoring on all four drives. The funny thing was that both interceptions came in the second quarter and both sacks came in the fourth quarter.
Cornerback Jaylin Simpson who had Auburn’s second interception of the game said, “The D-line and us have a competition to see who can get the most sacks and picks in the game…. We are keeping up with them right now, but we make the ball our priority. Healthy competition is certainly good, and if the Tiger’s defense continues to deliver strong performances, no one can complain that there is some behind-the-scenes competition happening.
The two sacks and the two interceptions were important steps in all four players' time as Auburn Tigers football players. For both Lawrence Johnson and Cam Riley, they recorded their first sack as an Auburn Tiger and for Cam Riley, it was the first of his college career.
Simpson recorded his sixth career interception, becoming the first Auburn player since Jerraud Powers in 2007 to record interceptions in three consecutive games. True freshman J.D. Rhym secured Auburn’s first interception of the game, which was also the cornerbacks' first career interception.
After the game, Freeze was asked if there was a moment where he felt most confident in his team and he said the “Cal defensive performance.” Certainly, headed into next week against Texas A&M, Auburn will need a strong defensive performance to pull off a victory on the road, so knowing that they had one against Cal, and have had strong defensive performances at home the Auburn defense should be up to the challenge.
Next week Auburn heads to Kyle Field to kick off their SEC schedule against the Texas A&M Aggies. This will be the first time this season where the Tigers defensive will be put to the test against an SEC opponent.