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Evaluation of Auburn’s 30-22 defeat to South Carolina



Despite the impressive statistics, the No. 15 Auburn fell in South Carolina after making a series of costly mistakes.

The 30-22 loss was the first defeat the Tigers have suffered against the Gamecocks since the 1930s. Defensive penalties, interceptions and big drops all played a part in the defeat. The Tigers drop to 2-2 while the Gamecocks rise to 2-2.

Both of Auburn̵

7;s defeats this season have come away, and the next game is also an away game. The Tigers will have to put the loss behind them and build the positives. But before turning your attention to Ole Miss, here’s how each individual position was ranked at the end of the game:

Auburn vs. South Carolina

Quarterback Auburn Bo Nix (10) is knocked out of bounds by South Carolina defender Shilo Sanders (21) and Kingsley Enagbare (52) during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday October 17, 2020, in Columbia, SC South Carolina defeated Auburn 30-22. (AP Photo / Sean Rayford)AP

Quarterback: D

If it weren’t for three interceptions, Bo Nix would have had a fantastic match. However, those three interceptions were key to Auburn’s loss. They led to 21 points and Auburn only lost by eight. Nix continued to compete and ended the game with a 272-yard pass and 69-yard run. His completion rate was only 51 percent, but that doesn’t take into account the drops of his receivers or the times he had to throw it away. There are things to build on, but it was another poor road performance.

Auburn v South Carolina

COLUMBIA, SC – OCTOBER 17: Tank Bigsby # 4 of the Auburn Tigers runs with the ball against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the third quarter of the game at Williams-Brice Stadium on October 17, 2020 in Columbia, South Carolina. The Gamecocks won 30-22. (Photo by Joe Robbins / Getty Images)Getty Images

Running back: C

Real freshman Tank Bigsby had her second 100-yard run game in a row. Bigsby finished with 111 yards on 16 carries, averaging 6.9 yards. It bounced off the defenders and made its way through piles of bodies, popping up the other side to collect several more meters. D.J. Williams also rushed for 17 yards and took two catches for 26 yards. There are still improvements to be made to the running game as the offensive line seeks consistency and running backs are taken into account more in the game plan.

Football: Auburn vs Georgia

October 3, 2020; Athens, GA, USA; J.J. Peques (89) quickly throws the ball for the first down during the match between Auburn and Georgia at Samford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Todd Van Emst / AU Athletics
Todd Van Emst / AU Athletics

Narrow ends: C.

Luke Deal made his first career reception, adding to the list of pending shots that considered passing play. In addition to this and J.J. Appearance of Pegues on the non-conversion from two points, the shots were much less visible than in previous matches. John Samuel Shenker continued hitting the pitch as a blocker, where he helped open some passing lanes, but otherwise they were quiet.

Auburn vs South Carolina

Auburn wide receiver Eli Stove (12) runs with the ball against South Carolina’s defensive back Shilo Sanders (21) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, October 17, 2020, in Columbia, SC (AP Photo / Sean Rayford)AP

Wide receivers: D.

The wide receivers played a part in helping Nix rack up 272 passing yards, but they also made some big falls that lowered his completion rate and blocked units. Wide receiver Eli Stove said there were just some communication problems and small details to correct. Stove played well for his first game since being injured against Georgia, but Seth Williams was held on to four catches out of 12 targets. Williams also overturned the ball which was intercepted. Anthony Schwartz had six catches for 59 yards and a few falls.

Anders Carlson

Auburn’s Anders Carlson (26) celebrates with teammates after kicking the field goal against Arkansas during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday October 10, 2020 in Auburn, Ala. Auburn won 30-28. (AP Photo / Butch Dill)AP

Offensive line: D

To open the second half, the offensive line was called for a false start. The linemen also had several other penalties that damaged the offensive. They helped give Nix more time in his pocket than previous games, although he started tumbling down as the game progressed. Nix was sacked three times in this match and had to make a number of runaway plays. Although the players had returned from injury, it didn’t look like the top five had yet been defined.

Auburn vs South Carolina

South Carolina quarterback Collin Hill (15) attempts a pass during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Auburn, Saturday October 17, 2020, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo / Sean Rayford)AP

Defensive line: C

The defensive line put more pressure on the quarterback, putting his hands in Colin Hill’s face, but he was unable to hug the quarterback, finishing with zero sack. The rush for overtaking is key, and it’s something Auburn has been trying to focus on, but hasn’t led to many results yet. The line improved its defensive run, especially in the first half. He held the Gamecocks at 41 yards on 19 striker attempts. South Carolina was able to find some gaps in the second half and finished with 153 yards.

Auburn vs South Carolina

South Carolina running back Kevin Harris (20) runs with the ball for a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday October 17, 2020 in Columbia, SC, South Carolina defeated Auburn 30 -22. South Carolina defeated Auburn 30-22. (AP Photo / Sean Rayford)AP

Linebacker: B-

Once again, Zakoby McClain and Owen Pappoe led the team in tackling, finishing with 13 and 10 tackles respectively. McClain also made the only sack of the team, while Pappoe made the only interception. McClain and Pappoe helped stop the running backs who found holes, and also made a few stops on the passes. Looks like they’re trying to keep the defense from the center together.

Auburn v Georgia

ATHENS, GA – OCTOBER 03: George Pickens # 1 of the Georgia Bulldogs defeats Roger McCreary # 23 of the Auburn Tigers for a touchdown during the second quarter of a game against the Auburn Tigers at Sanford Stadium on October 3, 2020 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland / Getty Images)Getty Images

Cornerback: D

Penalties were really what hurt the defense in the second half, Pappoe said. Two of those big penalties were on cornerbacks. Roger McCreary was called twice for defensive interference on the pass, which moved Gamecocks onto the field. Many of South Carolina’s big catches were made right over the heads of the cornerbacks. Sure, the ones Shi Smith made were just great games. Overall, the secondary held South Carolina at just 144 receiving yards. It will also improve once the rush to pass is established. But the penalties were key to the loss.

Auburn vs Arkansas

Arkansas quarterback Feleipe Franks (13) scrambles for yardage as Auburn defensive back Smoke Monday (21) tries to tackle him during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday October 10, 2020 in Auburn, Ala. / Butch Dill)AP

Safeties: D

To increase the cornerback penalties, Smoke Monday added a facemask penalty and interference on the defensive pass in the second half. Both penalties helped Gamecocks score. The securities were also beaten on several large catches. They helped stop the rush, but they also lost some tackles and let the Gamecocks through. Jamien Sherwood finished with five tackles and Smoke Monday finished with one.

Auburn v Georgia

Auburn Tigers footballer Auburn Anders Carlson (26) reacts with teammates after a successful field goal during the second half of a match against Georgia at Sanford Stadium on October 3, 2020 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland / Getty Images)Getty Images

Special teams: B

Like last game, footballer Anders Carlson had to score a lot of Auburn points. He kicked three field goals, all within 40 yards, because Auburn failed to finish in the red zone. He did all three. He also had four touchbacks out of six kickoffs and the cover team only allowed a 16-yard kickoff return. Aidan Marshall only had to aim twice, but averaged 45.5 yards per punt. The Gamecocks’ only punt return went for just three yards. Bigsby only had one kickoff return and took him to 23 yards.

Auburn v South Carolina

COLUMBIA, SC – OCTOBER 17: Coach Gus Malzahn of the Auburn Tigers speaks with an official in the second quarter of the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium on October 17, 2020 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Joe Robbins / Getty Images)Getty Images

Coaching: D

Auburn’s fights in the red zone continue, and not all the blame can be placed on the execution of the players. Auburn relied solely on Nix and the passing game, rather than trying to get the running game going. Instead of making the famous first-half defensive adjustments, Auburn actually gave up more in the second half, which is becoming common for this 2020 squad. The handling of the clock also left something to be desired.

Related Articles:

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Rewinds Auburn’s 30-22 defeat to the Tigers in South Carolina


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