Auburn welcomes the Sun Belt Conference to the Plains this weekend, as the Idaho Vandals come to town. Idaho hasn't exactly had the greatest of seasons in Paul Petrino's third year. They struggled to beat FCS Wofford, but they've also played competitive games against most of their other teams other than Southern Cal.
In their last game, Idaho was beaten fairly soundly by Appalachian State at home in the Kibbie Dome. That's a very similar score to the one Georgia Southern put on them at home back in Week 4. Both teams put up 400+ yards of rushing against the Vandals. The run defense has been one of the Vandals' weaker points all season.
Auburn can exploit that weakness, and I definitely expect them to early in the game. I do think they're going to try to make sure Peyton Barber gets over the 1000 yard mark in this game. I also think we're going to see a good bit of Kerryon Johnson as they try to get him more game time experience in dealing with blocking and pass protection. I do believe the Tigers will throw the football some in this game.
Idaho's Matt Linehan is a good quarterback. Bobby Barkley (or his cat, maybe?) discussed him in The Smoking Barn this morning. Unfortunately for him, his main target and the Vandals' best statistical receiver is no longer no the team. He hasn't been for three games, and he's still the leading receiver. That should tell you a bit of what you need to know about their passing attack.
That's not to say it's bad, though. Linehan threw for 243 yards against a very good Appalachian State defense last weekend. App State's defense is the 19th ranked total defense and 22nd ranked passing defense in the nation. They're running game is ranked 97th in the nation with 144 yards/game, so expect to see a good bit of passing from them. Hopefully Lawson, Adams, Russell, Lawrence, and McKinzy can wreak havoc on their offensive line and force Linehan to make some bad throws. If you give him time, he can make some good throws. His deep balls were the main reason the score line against Georgia Southern didn't look much worse.
Auburn will be without a number of players in this game, as Sean White is unlikely to play (thankfully; rest, Sean, get well), Shon Coleman is unlikely to play, and Austin Golson is definitely not playing. We'll see what the offensive line can do with Robert Leff and Davonte Danzey. They looked pretty good against UGA, so I think they should be able to handle Idaho's defensive line.
This game is a big one for the Tigers. I'm more than confident they will win it, but it's still all that's standing between us and needing to upset Alabama in the Iron Bowl to become bowl eligible. That's not something you want. Let's get the win and then figure out things from there.
How to Watch, Stream, Listen
Time: 3pm CST
TV: SEC Network
Listen: Auburn IMG Network
Satellite: XM, Sirius 191