1. Gaining experience: Jonathan Wallace was the lone bright spot in last week’s 38-0 shutout loss to rival Georgia. Wallace went 15-for-22 for 181 yards with an interception and showed poise in the face of the Bulldogs pass rush. He’ll need to continue to progress and a subdivision opponent should allow him to do so. Wallace is 31-for-48 for 478 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions this season with 41 carries for 124 yards. In his third career start, look for the true freshman to run more than he has in the last two weeks and show some of the athleticism he displayed earlier in the season.
2. Running against the competition: The Auburn running game went from great to dismal in a week. The Tigers had 315 yards against New Mexico State but just 57 against Georgia. Tre Mason had 11 carries for a measly 33 yards against the Bulldogs. Alabama A&M is allowing 142.9 rushing yards per game so success should come relatively easily for the vastly more talented Tigers but then again, nothing has come easy this season.
3. Different set of Bulldogs: Defensively, Auburn had another bad performance last week, allowing 497 yards. Georgia called off the dogs otherwise it could have been far worse. These Bulldogs are averaging 352.2 yards offensively, though their competition is vastly inferior to Auburn’s. If for nothing more than morale, the Tigers need to have a strong performance on defense and who knows, maybe they’ll get an interception. Auburn is last in the nation with only one interception this season, which came in the season opener when Daren Bates picked off Tajh Boyd.
4. Final home game for seniors: This is the last home game for 13 seniors including linebacker Daren Bates, cornerback T’Sharvan Bell, wide receiver Emory Blake, running back Onterio McCalebb and guard John Sullen. The group is 32-18 at Auburn and has been from the high of 2010’s national championship to the low of this 2-8 season. Look for several seniors to have big plays and end their careers at Jordan-Hare on a positive note.
Corey Lemonier DE, Jr., 6-4, 246
Lemonier has faced double teams most of the season and a vastly inferior opponent will do more of the same. But the defensive end should be able to get loose and add to the box score. Lemonier has had a disappointing season with just 29 tackles and 5.5 sacks and has not made more than three tackles since making five against Louisiana-Monroe.
The junior from Hialeah, Fla., is undecided about his whether he’ll forgo his senior season and enter the NFL Draft. A strong performance today shouldn’t sway anyone’s opinion of his potential at the next level, but if Lemonier can have something to build off of for next week, it would be positive.
Auburn LT Greg Robinson vs. Alabama A&M OLB Vernon Marshall: Robinson should have no problem stopping Marshall because this is not a fair matchup on size alone. Robinson (6-5, 311 pounds) is vastly bigger than Marshall (5-11, 188 pounds) so blocking shouldn’t be much of an issue for the redshirt freshman on Jonathan Wallace’s blindside. Marshall is the Bulldogs’ leading tackler (94) and had 8.5 tackles for loss including two sacks, so he’ll be involved in many hits. On running plays, Robinson will need to get to the second level and pave the way for the tailbacks and remove Marshall from the equation.
0: Previous meetings between Alabama A&M and Auburn in football. The Bulldogs have also never faced a BCS conference opponent.
13: Auburn seniors playing in their last home game. .500: Career winning percentage of Auburn coach Gene Chizik. Chizik is 37-37 including 32-18 at Auburn.
160.5: Quarterback rating of true freshman Jonathan Wallace. Wallace is 31-for- 48 for 478 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
1,946: Career receiving yards for Emory Blake — tied for seventh all-time at Auburn.
This is a late-season glorified scrimmage for Auburn. Alabama A&M may have some fine athletes and can compete well in the SWAC but Auburn’s bench should be able to outplay the Bulldogs.
Wallace will almost certainly have a career day which could mean big things for Emory Blake as well. Blake has been one of the only consistent performers on the entire team this season and he should have a big day in his final home game.
The Tigers’ defense has to be better than it has been in conference games. A subdivision foe will provide the chance to pad stats, whether Auburn takes advantage remains to be seen.
Auburn 49, Alabama A&M 7