Auburn’s attempt at a game-tying drive fell short, but the Tigers showed a few good signs in a 28-20 loss at Penn State. Here’s a quick glance at Saturdays’ performance.
Offense – B-: Bo Nix completed slightly more than 50% of his passes, and the offense was almost perfectly balanced (185 yards on 39 pass attempts and 182 yards on 40 rushes). Tank Bigsby stepped up and showed what a weapon he can be. But it’s tough for Auburn to win a road game like that with only 20 points.
Defense – C: Allowing 28 points is not bad on the surface, but the fact Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford completed 28 of his 32 passes is troubling. It’s more concerning considering this Penn State team struggled to score in a game earlier this year against Wisconsin. The Tigers did, however, hold Penn State to 84 yards on 33 carries.
Special teams – A: Anders Carlson made both his field goal tries, including a 45-yarder, and both extra points.
Coaching – B: Auburn entered what might be its most hostile environment of the season, with more than 100,000 fans present for one of Penn State’s more hyped game in some time. Auburn was in the game the entire time and didn’t seem rattled or uncomfortable in that setting.
Overall – B-: Auburn missed a promising opportunity for a high-quality road win, but the Tigers competed well and belonged on the field with a top 10 team. That bodes well for the rest of the season.
— Craig Thomas