Here’s everything you need to know about the 1st meeting between San Jose State and Auburn tonight on ESPN2.

When: Today
Where: Auburn, Ala.
Game Time: 7 p.m. EST
Current Line: Auburn (-32)

Game Buzz: It’s the first ever meeting between the Spartans and the Tigers, and though Auburn is expected to win running away, San Jose State is just two years removed from an 11-win season. New defensive coordinator Greg Robinson has caught the attention of the Auburn coaches with his revamped 4-3 defense. Look for Auburn to work on correcting last week’s mistakes and improve on execution of the offensive and defensive schemes.

Saturday Down South previews

Auburn Tigers

Players to watch: 

  • QB Nick Marshall
  • RB Cameron Artis-Payne
  • RB Corey Grant
  • WR Duke Williams
  • DE Gabe Wright
  • LB Kris Frost

Keys for Auburn:

  • Show Marshall’s improvement throwing the football. We’ve heard all offseason that head coach Gus Malzahn wants to have a more balanced offense this season and that Marshall had improved. Expect Auburn to use this game to see what he can with so many weapons on the outside.
  • Better play from the front seven on defense. The Tigers’ defensive front struggled last week against Arkansas, but Malzahn said he’s been “encouraged” by practice this week. They’re facing a spread offense from the Spartans, but quarterback Blake Jurich is somewhat limited. Look for Auburn to pin their ears back and put pressure on the quarterback Saturday night.
  • Win the field position battle. Auburn can put San Jose State behind the chains through their special teams play. It will be vital for the Spartans to have any shot of keeping the game close that they start drives at reasonable spots. If Auburn can pin them back deep, the Tigers will be in a position to put the game away early.

Tigers’ glaring weakness to watch: Pass rush. San Jose State likes to throw short, quick passes to move the football, but be oriented more around the run. The pass rush is one area Malzahn said the Tigers need to improve. Expect some adjustments from defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson to try to free up the defensive line to create some havoc.

Most interesting part of the game: Auburn has a chance to improve this week in a game that should never be close. Look for Malzahn and his coaching staff to put the Tigers in a position to improve over last week.

Team Buzz: Even though they’re a top-five team, Auburn is not yet considered the best team in its own division. This game likely won’t show opponents or fans much, but if Auburn can play well, it sets up well heading into a bye week and a tough road test at Kansas State.