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Touchdown Auburn: Zone Read Time

On Auburn’s opening possession against Kent State, they ran the exact same play 3 straight times and the Golden Flashes had no answer.

NCAA Football: Kent State at Auburn Julie Bennett-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn scored 53 touchdowns in 2019 and over the coming weeks we are going to breakdown each one.

After two sluggish offensive starts to begin the 2019 season, it was joyous to watch the Tigers shred Kent State’s defense out the gate. Sure, it’s Kent State but sometimes we all just need to see Auburn go out and pummel someone to lift the spirits.

This touchdown drive was textbook Gus Malzahn. Auburn used the Zone Read with pace to pick up 38 yards and a touchdown on 3 straight plays.

It starts with Bo Nix on the keeper. He’s reading the end to the top of the screen who squeezes inside on the snap. Seeing the DE sink in, Nix keeps it and picks up 17 yards. There’s so much open space to the field because Kent State is in a single high look (meaning one safety deep) with man to man coverage on the outside. Matthew Hill runs a bubble which draws the nickel defender leaving plenty of green grass for Bo Nix.

Auburn doesn’t let the Golden Flashes rest. Following the big gain, Gus Malzahn has Nix snap the ball quickly and run the same play again, this time to the opposite side.

Bo Nix is reading the near side defensive end who sells out to take Whitlow. Kent State’s defensive end might have been trying a “mesh charge” but it’s not at all effective as Nix pulls it and is able to gash Kent State for 10+ yards once again.

A snap later, Auburn was in the endzone.

Look familiar? That’s right, Auburn runs the same play for the 3rd straight time but on this snap, Kent State’s defense end sits wide instead of crashing inside. As a result, Nix gives it to JaTarvious Whitlow who follows Marquel Harrell into the endzone for 6 points.

War Eagle!