Rapid Reaction: It was ugly, but Auburn finds a way to win
It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win.
Did I mention it wasn’t pretty?
Nothing seemed to go right for the Auburn offense, who struggled all night long against a very good Kansas State defense. Not until late in the game could the Tigers get anything going on the offensive side of the ball.
Here are a couple of thoughts on the game:
What it means: Auburn passed a very difficult test. There’s no need for concern yet; this was a very difficult game coming in and one that the Kansas State program and Wildcat fans had circled back in the summer. Bill Snyder Family Stadium is a raucous environment and with both teams coming off a bye into this Thursday night contest, it’s a very good top-20 win for the Tigers.
What I liked: The defensive play. As badly as the Tigers struggled on offense and as good of field position as Kansas State started with many drives, the Auburn defense played very well. They forced three turnovers and held in the red zone on three occasions which led to three missed field goals by the Wildcats. The Tigers surrendered just 40 yards on the ground on 30 carries, and the secondary – missing senior Jermaine Whitehead – made several plays in crucial moments to stymie K-State drives.
Who’s the man: It’s a tie. Joshua Holsey, who replaced White at free safety, led the Tigers in tackles on Thursday night with 11 stops, 10 of which were solo. Holsey moved from his cornerback position to replace Whitehead. Linebacker Kris Frost also had a great game, recording six tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble. Frost played very well on the outside containing quarterback Jake Waters.
Key play: The interception by Trovon Reed, his second in as many games, early in the fourth quarter as Kansas State was driving. Waters rolled out to his right and there appeared to be miscommunication on the route between Waters and wideout Tyler Lockett led to Reed jumping the route and intercepting the ball. The turnover led to an Auburn field goal that put the Tigers up 20-7.