Report card: Grading Auburn football's offense, defense, coaching in win at Mississippi State
It certainly was not a pretty performance, and the defense was left to do most of the heavy lifting early, but the final result was still an Auburn victory – 24-10 over Mississippi State.
Auburn 24, Mississippi State 10:3 things we learned as Tigers offense finally shows up
Here's how we'd grade the Tigers' performance:
This was trending toward an F at the end of the third quarter, when Auburn had only 178 yards and three field goals. Back-to-back fourth-quarter touchdown drives led by Bo Nix and Seth Williams and then Tank Bigsby saved the day.
One of Auburn's biggest problems on defense this season has been stopping the run, and, fortunately for the Tigers, Mississippi State's Air Raid offense doesn't do that. Auburn held quarterback Will Rogers to only 221 passing yards on 51 attempts and intercepted him twice. It also recorded a season-high six sacks.
Special teams: C
Good: Anders Carlson stayed hot with three made field goals on three attempts. Bad: A roughing-the-punter penalty and a 65-yard kickoff return following Auburn's first touchdown that set up Mississippi State to score one of its own.
Give defensive coordinator Kevin Steele and his staff a lot of credit for putting together a good plan to slow down the Air Raid. Question Gus Malzahn, Chad Morris and the offensive staff for not really finding any sort of identity on offense until the fourth quarter.
It's hard to bury the Tigers too much for this one. This was a long, difficult year for all involved due to all the COVID-19 disruptions. Things did not start out well at all Saturday, yet the Tigers rallied together enough to win a game on the road and finish the season 6-4. That counts for something.
Josh Vitale is the Auburn beat writer for the Montgomery Advertiser. You can follow him on Twitter at @JoshVitale. To reach him by email, click here.