After a solid opening performance against Georgia Southern in Week 1, the Auburn Tigers came back down to earth in Week 2 as a result of the offense’s poor performance against the reigning national champions, the Clemson Tigers.
The defense did its part, holding Clemson to only 294 total yards — including only 96 yards on the ground. The offense only managed to put up 117 total yards, however, and Auburn ultimately lost 14-6.
It wasn’t the performance that Auburn was looking for, but there is still time to right the ship.
Here are three players who saw their stock rise from their performance in Week 2, and three whose stock took a hit.
1. Jeff Holland, Buck: Jeff Holland, once again, proved that he is capable of being a terror for opposing quarterbacks. When the Auburn pass rush was effective against Clemson QB Kelly Bryant, it seemed to always involve Holland in one way or another.
This is Holland’s second appearance on this list, following Week 1 when he recorded five tackles, one sack and one QB hurry against Georgia Southern. Against Clemson, the junior edge rusher had four tackles and half a sack.
Jeff Holland has done a nice job replacing Carl Lawson at Buck LB for Auburn so far. pic.twitter.com/Aj3iQ25RSd
— Clint Lamb (@ClintRLamb) September 11, 2017
The light has come on for the Jacksonville, Fla., native, and there won’t be anyone happier about that than fellow defensive lineman Marlon Davidson, who should benefit the most from Holland’s emergence.
2. The Williams duo: Darrell Williams hasn’t put up the same numbers as Tre’ Williams, but both players seem to be thriving in Auburn’s defense.
Over the course of the first two weeks of the season, the Williams duo has racked up 28 tackles (four for a loss including two sacks) and two QB hurries. Tre’ Williams, who has accounted for 19 tackles, two sacks and one QB hurry, is really becoming a force at inside linebacker.
Auburn’s defense wasn’t to blame for the loss against Clemson, and these two guys are a big reason for that. Tre’ Williams, who was named to the Butkus Award watch list prior to the season, is seeing his draft stock climb with every passing week.
3. Kamryn Pettway, RB: Pettway’s statistics aren’t the reason he made this list. It’s his ability to finally see the field after injuries and a suspension has prevented him from seeing a lot of reps since his 1,224 yard rushing season in 2016.
He only averaged 3.4 yards per rush (74 yards on 22 carries), but Pettway did show glimpses of being the same guy he was last year. A lot of the problem was the play-calling.
It wasn’t the debut he was hoping for, but Auburn fans would much rather see him on the field compared to standing on the sidelines.
1. Prince Tega Wanogho, LT: Wanogho’s physical ability has never been questioned. The guy is a former 4-star prospect on the defensive line who goes 6-7, 301 pounds. In fact, his history on the defensive side of the football should be a positive reflection of his athleticism.
The issue with Wanogho isn’t just his lack of experience playing offensive tackle, it’s his lack of experience playing the game in general. The native of Nigeria wasn’t even playing football just a few short years ago.
That has hurt him so far in his young career. Despite his surprising emergence as Stidham’s blindside protector, Wanagho clearly isn’t ready for SEC-level pass rushers.
A closer look at Auburn's offensive line struggles in pass protection pic.twitter.com/zHhbPCqc0l
— CFB Film Room (@CFBFilmRoom) September 11, 2017
It wasn’t just Wanogho who struggled, as last year’s starting left tackle Darius James gave up more sacks and pressures. Still, James has at least proven to be serviceable at left tackle.
2. Carlton Davis, CB: Davis led the defense in tackles against Clemson with 11, but that doesn’t mean he played well. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Kelly Bryant was constantly targeting Davis. Over the course of the game, he lined up across from Deon Cain, Hunter Renfrow and Ray-Ray McCloud, and he gave up plays to all three.
Davis is known for being an effective player against the run, but his pass coverage really struggled. He was consistently caught not getting his head around, even being called for pass interference.
It was a rough night for the junior who was projected to be the team’s best cornerback, but there will almost certainly be brighter days ahead.
3. Jarrett Stidham, QB: The hype surrounding the Baylor transfer had seemingly gotten out of control, but Stidham has been brought back to earth following a pedestrian performance against Clemson.
The offensive line didn’t do anything to help Stidham, who was sacked 11 times, but the rust from not playing since 2015 clearly showed. He only managed to throw for 76 yards on 24 attempts — completing 13 of them. At times, Stidham held on to the ball too long.
As Stidham continues to knock some of that rust off, he should get better. For now, his stock has taken a hit since the season began.