Auburn dropped its first game of the year Saturday night, falling 35-21 to LSU at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. Auburn was rattled early and overmatched all night, but Gus Malzahn's team kept up the fight until the end. Initial thoughts:
- After an impressive performance against Mississippi State. Nick Marshall looked timid early. He struggled badly with his accuracy and struggled with decisions in the first half. A lot of those accuracy issues could have been due to the rain, but Marshall just didn't look comfortable.
- That said -- aside from the final interception down by 14 -- Marshall looked much better in the second half. He was much more accurate, including a couple of great long throws to Sammie Coates. He looked much more decisive running in the final two quarters.
- Auburn's wide receivers didn't help Marshall much. Several key drops really hurt the offense. This is becoming too much of a common trend.
- The defense was manhandled in the early going of both halves, but for the most part, it settled down in both.
- Tre Mason is a damn man. He was consistently Auburn's biggest offensive threat all night, and very few of his carries weren't solid gains. He got better as the game went on.
- The play-calling at times, especially early, was questionable. For a lot of the game, Auburn's passing game wasn't working, but the running game seemed mostly successful. Auburn got away from the run too often.
- Continuing what we've seen, the defensive line looked great at times, but it looked far too mediocre more often.
- Pretty solid coverage from the secondary most of the game. Ryan White, who was starting in place of the injured Chris Davis, particularly stood out. Jermaine Whitehead's interception to start the second half was huge and got Auburn back in the game.
- Jeremy Hill. Goodness, that guy knows how to run the ball.
- No matter what happened, Auburn never quit. And that's a great sign for the future. After falling down 21-0, our Tigers hung with LSU and never let Les Miles' Tigers salt the game away. It wasn't the result we wanted, but considering it's Gus' first year, the opponent and the environment, there were some good signs for the future. We wanted Auburn to stay competitive against the likes of LSU, and the Tigers did Saturday night.
- Whatever happens, it's great to be an Auburn Tiger. It's definitely a lot better than it was last year.
More from College and Magnolia:
- Chris Davis injury: Auburn CB out vs. LSU; DE Craig Sanders, too
- Auburn vs. LSU: TV information, key players and more
- College football TV schedule: Week 4
- Tigers aiming for Gus Malzahn's first signature win
- SEC football GIF Preview, Week 4: Hooray for blowouts!