AUBURN, Ala. -- It’s Homecoming week which means a lesser opponent for Auburn on Saturday, but that doesn’t change anything for the Tigers. They’re treating Western Carolina like any other team, even with Texas A&M looming.
“There's a lot of different philosophies,” offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said. “Some people want to spend a week and just work on the next opponent and some people don't.
“We're more of the mind-set that we want to treat it (like a regular game). We want to try to keep things consistent for our guys. So for the most part, it's going to be a normal game week. We’re preparing for one opponent, and we’re not really going to work ahead at all.”
Auburn is 2-0 against Western Carolina, including a 56-0 win over the Catamounts in 2002, their most recent meeting.
What Auburn needs to do to win: It’s safe to say Auburn will likely win the game, but it’s not as much about the outcome or the final score as it is about the team playing well and improving. The Tigers are currently riding a wave of momentum, and they want to continue that through this weekend and into the Texas A&M game. Western Carolina has given up more than 40 points in four games this season, so the offense should have no trouble moving the ball. It would be a victory for the defense, which has given up their fair share of yards, to keep the Catamounts out of the end zone or off the scoreboard altogether.
Players to watch
Auburn QB Jonathan Wallace: Starting quarterback Nick Marshall suffered a minor knee injury against Ole Miss, and although it’s likely he’ll play, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn hasn’t ruled one way or the other yet. If Marshall can’t go, Wallace is next in line to get the start. He started four games for the Tigers a year ago.
Auburn DT Montravius Adams: How much will he play? Adams suffered a leg bruise which kept him out of the second half against Ole Miss. The coaches say he’s fine, but it will be interesting to see how much he actually plays Saturday. If he does suit up, he’ll be hungry to match the performance fellow freshman Carl Lawson had last weekend.
“Whenever you have one of your players carted off, that is one of the worse feelings you can have as a coach. I looked up and saw him back on the sidelines standing up and moving with a smile on his face. That gave me a lift, and I am sure it gave the rest of our coaches and players a lift, too.” -- Gus Malzahn on Cassanova McKinzy’s neck injury from Saturday