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Welcoming the Paladins to the Palace that is Jordan-Hare

November 6, 2009

Well, we’ve been here once before this season. Think back to the Ball State game and how the predictions ran somewhere in the, “Auburn scores in the stratosphere” while Ball U barely gets going. Except the Cardinals didn’t really play along with that plan did they?

Furman enters Saturday’s homecoming beat-down game anywhere from a 28 to 40+ point underdog. The Paladins are a Southern Conference, FCS team sitting at 4 wins, 4 losses and facing Auburn for the first time since 1956. They have conference foes Georgia Southern and Wofford remaining, while Auburn looks ahead has Georgia in Athens and Serial Repeat Offenders Alabama at home after Turkey Day.

When Auburn has the ball they’ll be across the line from a defense that sits between the nations of miserable and pathetic. In their four losses they’ve averaged giving up a hair over 40 points per contest. The only FBS opponent they’ve met was Missouri who torched the Paladins for 52. A similar result last week against Appalachian State only yielded one common denominator for Tiger fans to study: massive passing yards.

The Paladin defense has been respectable if not effective against the run, but once again those figures are against what one might call “lesser opponents.” The only team worth studying for similarities is Missouri. The Mizzou offense reeled off 6 straight touchdowns to enter halftime solidly in command at 42-0. The first TD was even a trick play, cross field lateral, receiver to receiver strike. Um yeah, Auburn has some of those as well. Of note in the Missouri game was Furman controlling the clock with an eleven minute edge in time of possession.

So Auburn should pile up  the passing yards early, rest the starters in the second half and run the ball late? We’ll see. Joe’s personal preference would be to see Ben Tate get his yardage average padded early and for Caudle to play the second half alongside Kodi Burns. How much that takes place depends on how smoothly Furman plays their part in this drama.

Auburn’s defense will face a Furman offense which likes to throw the ball and has done decent protecting their QB. Again in the Missouri game, the Paladins piled up over 300 yards in the air and rushed for under 100. It should be noted however, the bulk of the Furman offensive display came in the second half against the 2nd and 3rd string Mizzou defenders.

The player to watch for is Senior QB, Jordan Sorrells. He’s a 6′ 2″, 209 pounder from Greenville, SC who completes over 60% of his passes and has only been sacked 6 times this year. No, he isn’t the best QB Auburn has faced this year, but he is more than capable of keeping Furman in this game if Auburn’s defense is still asleep late in the game.

In keeping with a tradition that is uniquely Joe Auburn, we aren’t going to comment on the special teams play. Period. Well, okay, please, please Auburn don’t give up a punt or kick-off TD return?!

By the time the homecoming queen has been crowned and the students have filed out, Auburn should have this game well at hand, if not completely in control. Provided Auburn’s offense shows up early and often I see no reason why we shouldn’t score over 40 points while only giving up 20. Auburn’s starters get some rest, the second string gets plenty of reps (we have no 3rd string), the Paladins collect their blood money and all of us get to focus on Amen’s Corner.

Furman 23, Auburn 51

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