Published September 2, 2010 - 11:35am
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Auburn University opens its 2010 season against the Arkansas State Red Wolves on Saturday, September 4 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Now, this is not just any slouch game Auburn can just show up and win. The Red Wolves are an okay team in the Sun Belt Conference. Here are five things about Auburn vs. Arkansas St that you need to know.
1. Auburn will be breaking in a new quarterback in Cameron Newton. Newton’s career has been well documented. He was originally enrolled at Florida where he started his career then transferred to Blinn College where he just wanted to get on the field and play some football. Blinn went on to win the 2009 NJCAA National Title with Newton at the helm. Can he bring his game to the SEC and make Auburn a contender? It will be fun to see how Gus Malzahn uses Newton in his dynamic offense.
2. Arkansas State has the ability to keep this game close. Let me make this clear, I fully expect Auburn to put a whoopin’ on them, but last year the Red Wolves played Iowa tough on the road in a 24-21 loss. You might have remembered this game from last year. Oh yeah, it is the Big Ten, never mind.
3. Auburn will be replacing its leading rusher from last year in Ben Tate who carried the ball for 1,362 yards and 10 touchdowns. The other back who has experience in this offense is Onterio McCalebb who was a freshman last year. Auburn was ranked 13th nationally in rushing offense in 2009. Highly touted freshman Michael Dyer also figures to help McCalebb shoulder the load. Read this for more details about Auburn’s Running Game this season.
4. Auburn returns four starters off of its offensive line from a year ago. With an experienced offensive line, the quarterback and running back position(s) should have an advantage against the opponent, namely the Red Hawks. It will hopefully give Newton time to throw and the wide receivers time to get open. Oh yeah, what about the wide receivers? They are a very talented and deep unit. The experienced offensive line will also open up holes for running backs McCalebb and Dyer.
5. Auburn was ranked 68th in total defense in 2009. The Tigers are considered a dark-horse candidate by some talking heads to win the SEC western division. If that remains true, Auburn will definitely have to get better on the defensive side of the ball where they were ranked 11th in the conference in 2009. It starts with the Red Hawks.