The Auburn Corner: Tigers Escape Cal with a Narrow Victory
(Photo via Austin Perryman/Auburn Tigers)
Every Tuesday right here you can read The Auburn Corner, where we’ll get into a different topic on the Auburn Tigers, break down the previous game, preview the upcoming game, and everything in between. In this week’s edition, the Auburn Tigers are 2-0. Let’s break down Saturday’s victory over Cal:
It wasn’t pretty for Hugh Freeze’s squad, but the Tigers return home from out West with a huge win that they’ll take by any means necessary. The story of the game for Auburn is defense. The Tigers only surrendered 113 yards to a potent Golden Bears rushing attack and the defense was able to keep Auburn in it all night while the offense sputtered.
For as encouraging as the defense was, however, the offense was equally discouraging. Hugh Freeze expressed displeasure with the unit the unit after the game, saying there was no juice and no momentum.
Payton Thorne struggled for Auburn, completing 9 of 14 passes for just 94 yards including a dreadful interception near the end of the first half where he missed his receiver high. Thorne did throw two touchdowns, however, including the game winner to tight end Rivaldo Fairweather.
After not being targeted in week one, Fairweather made two massive plays for the Tigers including a crucial third and 17 catch on the touchdown drive before finishing the possession with a catch in the end zone to put Auburn on top for good.
Auburn’s Rivaldo Fairweather with one heck of a catch for the first down.
The FIU transfer has impressive size and athleticism. Sleeper in the 2024 NFL Draft. pic.twitter.com/ytGXxtJjpo
— Seven Rounds in Heaven (@7RoundsInHeaven) September 10, 2023
Auburn seems to have something in receiver Jay Fair. Fair has caught touchdowns in both of Auburn’s first two games and is an electric playmaker for the Tigers.
Payton Thorne to Jay Fair
— Auburn Gold Mine (@AUGoldMine) September 10, 2023
Jarquez Hunter also returned for Auburn, rushing for 53 yards on 11 carries in his season debut.
While it was ugly, a win is still a win. You can chock this up as a win and move on for the Tigers. Payton Thorne was not good, and the offense seems to still be finding its footing. But the defense is incredibly encouraging and is going to keep Auburn in games all season long.
Auburn must correct their offensive issues before they get into SEC play. Four turnovers for the offense will simply not get it done, and the Tigers are lucky to be 2-0. The good news is that Auburn has a matchup against Samford this week to get some things corrected before they head out on the road again to College Station to take on Texas A&M.