Tulane Auburn Football

Auburn wide receiver Eli Stove (12) carries the ball in for a touchdown during the second quarter against Tulane. [BUTCH DILL/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS]

When: 6 p.m., Saturday

Where: Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn

TV/Radio: ESPN2/FM-97.9

The line: Auburn by 35

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Four-down territory

1. Offense remains a work in progress: Auburn scored only 24 points in its win over Tulane, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t take a step forward offensively. Tulane featured a good defense filled with veteran players and it took a while for the Tigers to get things going. JaTarvious Whitlow finished strong as Auburn made a concerted effort to get its running game in gear in the second half, but he has to eliminate his fumbles. Bo Nix improved from his first game and still is learning on the job. Look for Joey Gatewood to get more playing time as well, as he brings an added dimension to quarterback.

2. Defense playing well: Auburn’s defense ranks fourth in the SEC in both scoring and rushing, and is third in pass defense. After giving up a couple of early TDs against Oregon’s high-powered offense, the Tigers have allowed 13 points in the last seven quarters. So far, Kevin Steele’s unit has lived up to its preseason hype. Kent State probably won’t provide much of a test. The Golden Flashes have scored 33 points in two games, but only seven of those came against a Power Five opponent in a loss to Arizona State. Kent State beat FCS foe Kennesaw State 26-23 in overtime last week.

3. Remember him?: Kent State quarterback Woody Barrett began his career at Auburn, and now he gets to play against some of his former teammates. He redshirted his first season at Auburn and then transferred to Copiah-Lincoln CC in Mississippi. Now a redshirt junior, Barrett is in his second season as the starting quarterback for the Golden Flashes after throwing for 2,239 yards and 11 touchdowns last season.

4. Seth Williams is out: Auburn receiver Seth Williams will not play against Kent State after sustaining a shoulder injury last week against Tulane. Williams was the hero of the season-opening win over Oregon and also had one catch for 40 yards against Tulane before being injured. With Williams out, look for Nix to look more for Will Hastings in the passing game.

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Key matchup

Woody Barrett vs. Auburn defense

Barrett is a dual-threat QB, as his 7 TDs and 503 rushing yards indicates. He hasn’t faced a defense this good in his career, and given that he left the program expect some of his former teammates on defense to want to say hello on an up-close and personal basis.

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Player of the week

Kam Martin, running back

If the game gets out of hand early, look for Gus Malzahn to get Martin involved in the run game. The Tigers are still looking for a backup to Whitlow as they head into the grind of SEC play. Martin is the logical guy to spell Whitlow, but he has to prove he can be the guy.

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By the numbers

0: Number of times Auburn and Kent State have played previously.

4: Number of yards gained in Eli Stove’s rushing touchdown last week against Tulane. It was the second rushing TD of his career.

9.5: Number of tackles Jeremiah Dinson averages per game – fourth in the SEC.

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Prediction

Auburn 42, Kent State 7

With the start of a tough SEC schedule on the horizon, it’s time for Auburn’s offense to put together a complete game for however long the starters are in against an overmatched Kent State team. Bo Nix needs to play well and the running game needs to hit its stride early. Look for those things to happen.

— Gregg Dewalt

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