TJ Finley not expected to play for Auburn football vs. Missouri with shoulder injury

Bennett Durando
Montgomery Advertiser

AUBURN — T.J. Finley is not expected to play in Auburn football's SEC opener vs. Missouri due to a shoulder injury, a source with direct knowledge told the Montgomery Advertiser. There is fear that Finley will miss multiple weeks.

The quarterback landed awkwardly on his right shoulder late in the first half of Auburn's 41-12 loss to Penn State. He was seen reaching for his shoulder on the sideline afterward but returned for the first possession of the second half, a three-and-out. After that, he did not play the remainder of the game, which Auburn coach Bryan Harsin said was not injury-related. Backup Robby Ashford replaced a benched Finley for the majority of the half.

Harsin repeated Monday in his weekly news conference that Finley was not hurt − but Finley's right shoulder was in a sling at practice that day, a source said. The Tigers (2-1) host Missouri (2-1) on Saturday (11 a.m. CT, ESPN).

"They're good," Harsin said when asked directly about the health of his quarterbacks. "I think (Finley and Ashford) weren't the only two (to get banged up) on either side of the ball. It's football, right? Guys get up. But those guys are good. Those guys are good going into this week."

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Finley was named the starter after a preseason competition with Ashford and Zach Calzada, but Auburn has been operating a two-quarterback system in which Ashford rotates into games primarily for running packages.

Finley is 33-for-53 (62.3%) with one touchdown and four interceptions (7.5%). Ashford is 15-for-29 with two interceptions (6.9%) and no touchdowns. He also has 24 carries for 158 yards, averaging 6.6 per carry.

"We'll see. Like I said, we'll let guys compete this week," Harsin said Monday when asked who will start against Mizzou. "It's Monday. We haven't decided what we're going to do. Through the week of practice it'll be decided. We'll let guys compete, and we'll put the best guys out there on Saturday to go play."

Harsin also said that Calzada is not hurt, although this offseason the Texas A&M transfer was recovering from the residual effects of his shoulder injury.