Did K-State Expose Auburn?
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Kansas State may have done the SEC a favor by exposing Auburn.
Let's be real, too. If it wasn't for the Wildcats kicker, K-State could have won this game.
The cold truth, though, was on the scoreboard, with Auburn prevailing, 20-14. At least the home team covered.
The Wildcat offense moved easily at times on the Tiger defense. However, it was tough sledding in the red zone, and unfortunately for them, Jack Cantele couldn't make a field goal to save his life.
In all, Bill Snyder's squad left 16 points on the table: three makeable field goals and a would-be converted touchdown that slipped through All-American wideout Tyler Lockett's grasp, caromed off his pads, and wound up being intercepted.
My primary takeaway from this game is Auburn's vulnerability, especially on offense.
Snyder's plan almost worked to perfection. Simply put, he stacked the box against the Tigers to stop the run and forced Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall to beat them. Yes, other teams have tried that -- like Florida State -- but Snyder had his defensive line shifting variable combo half-gaps against the weak side with impressive effectiveness in conjunction with the linebackers compensating for those shifts. Whatever keys they were reading were right more often than not.
An Auburn offense that averaged 7.3 yards per play had to scrounge to get over 3.0 per last night.
To Marshall's and his teammates' credit, they stepped up when the rubber met the road in the final minutes.
Otherwise, the Tiger chucker overthrew wideouts, and when he was on target, his receivers dropped passes. With K-State stuffing the Auburn ground game for most of the evening, the result remained in doubt until Marshall connected on a hitch-&-go with Duke Williams for the first down that allowed the visitors to run out the clock.
Confusion isn't usually a characteristic of Gus Malzahn's offense. So the question now is whether this was a one-time slip or if Snyder and his staff discovered a new way to attack it.
Do know the likes of Nick Saban and Les Miles will be requesting this game video.