Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn finally got the win he and his Tigers needed against LSU last weekend.
Next up is another Sun Belt team in Louisiana-Monroe. The Warhawks fielded a competitive squad in 2012 when Auburn needed overtime for a 31-28 victory, but ULM has struggled in the last few years. Here are five predictions for Saturday’s homecoming game:
5. Will John Franklin III play?
Yes. Malzahn detailed the team’s focus and work in the red zone this week as they prepared for this non-conference matchup. As talented and confident as kicker Daniel Carlson is, Auburn needs to score touchdowns and Franklin will get a couple of chances in the red zone, especially when Auburn gets ahead.
4. Will Auburn use its tight ends more?
Yes. Fans will see certain jumbo packages featuring bigger tight ends, especially for end zone scoring opportunities.
3. Will you see personnel changes?
Auburn coaches give as few details as possible regarding the depth chart leading up to game day. However, Malzahn and Lashlee both mentioned this week that some players are ‘banged up’ including running backs Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson, as well as center Xavier Dampeer. The lineups might look the same early in the game, but as Auburn starts to gain momentum (and touchdowns) expect to see lots of new numbers on the field.
2. How many sacks will Auburn’s defense rack up?
Auburn had four sacks against LSU last week. Carl Lawson, Montravius Adams and true freshman Marlon Davidson will be hungry for more opportunities and should get them easily against the ULM offensive line. Expect four to five sacks by the final buzzer.
1. Who wins?
Auburn wins, 52-7. You will see Lashlee attempt more plays in the air, new faces in the Tigers’ backfield and at some point changes on the offensive and defensive lines. This game will be a good breather for Auburn before the team dives into the rest of its SEC schedule and and heads on the road to Mississippi State in Week 6.