#4 Auburn Football 2015 Preview

Auburn Tigers

Overall Rank: #4
#1 SEC

Auburn Team Page#4 Auburn Football 2015 PreviewBuy Auburn Football Tickets

Auburn got off to a hot start last season, going 7-1 in their first eight. Then things got ugly. The Tigers went 1-4 in their last five, including a gut-wrenching overtime loss to Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl. Even with the disappointing 8-5 season in 2014, Auburn is expected to be a championship contender as they enter 2015. Why? Read the strengths paragraph and you’ll be sold on War Eagle.

2014 Record: 8-5, 4-4
2014 Bowl: Outback Bowl vs Wisconsin (L 34-31)
Coach: Gus Malzahn (20-7 at Auburn, 29-10 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Rhett Laslhee
Defensive Coordinator: Will Muschamp

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Ricardo Louis, 220 yards
Passing: Jeremy Johnson, 436 yards
Receiving: D’haquille Williams, 730 yards
Tackles: Johnathan Ford, 93
Sacks:  DaVonte Lambert, 3.5
Interceptions: Jonathan Jones, 6

Other Key Returnees: LB Cassanova McKinzy, LB Kris Frost, WR Melvin Ray

Key Losses: QB Nick Marshall, WR Sammie Coates, RB Cameron Artis-Payne WR Quan Bray, CB Jermaine Whitehead

Probably the #1 reason people are expecting Auburn to be so good this season is because of quarterback Jeremy Johnson. This may surprise some people, as Johnson only has started two games in his whole career, but he WOWED everyone in those two games, as well his other appearances throughout the year. He finished his sophomore season with a 75% completion percentage and a 98.8 QBR. He showed a tremendous amount of athleticism, drawing Cam Newton comparisons. He has a very strong arm, and also has the ability to make something out of nothing. He only has two career starts, but Auburn’s QB is going to be making noise as a Heisman candidate.  He has some tremendous weapons in D'haquille Williams and Ricardo Louis and you know Auburn’s running game is always going to be good, and JUCO transfer Javon Robinson will help the cause. Robinson rushed for 3,198 yards and 43 touchdowns in his two years in junior college and will be right up there with Leonard Fournette and Nick Chubb as the SEC’s best running backs. The Auburn offense is loaded.

Auburn’s secondary was one of the worst in the SEC last season, ranking 12th in the conference in passing yards allowed. Their overall defense wasn’t great either, ranking 9th in the SEC in total defense and 10th in scoring defense. They absolutely collapsed down the stretch last year, giving up an average of 33 points in their last eight games. The Tiger faithful are optimistic that new defensive coordinator Will Muschamp will fix their defensive woes. A healthy Carl Lawson will help the cause, as he returns after tearing his ACL last season. The top player of the 2015 class, Byron Cowart, will help intensify a pass rush that ranked 11th in the SEC in sacks last season. Auburn’s defense will be much better, but will they be good enough to lead Auburn to an SEC title?

The Bottom Line:
Jeremy Johnson will be hands down the best QB in the SEC this season, and his athleticism will be nearly impossible for opposing defenses to stop. He will lead a vaunted Auburn offense that will be putting up massive numbers. The Tigers defense remains the question mark on the Plains, but Will Muschamp knows what he’s doing and will make Auburn’s defense so much better. With the loaded offense and the much-improved defense, you have to like the Tigers as a trendy pick not just to win the SEC, but to win it all.

Projected Bowl: Orange Bowl (Playoffs)

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 255.5 (13th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Passing Offense: 229.5 (66, 7)
Total Offense: 485.0 (16, 2)
Scoring Offense: 35.5 (25, 4)
Rushing Defense: 168.8 (67, 10)
Pass Defense: 230.1 (68, 12)
Total Defense: 398.8 (64, 9)
Scoring Defense: 26.7 (62, 10)
Turnover Margin: 0.54 (27, 4)
Sacks: 1.62 (95, 11)
Sacks Allowed: 1.15 (15, 3)

Madness 2016 NFL Draft Rankings:
#26 Carl Lawson
#28 Duke Williams
#89 Casanova McKinzy

Madness 2015 Recruit Rankings:
#1 Byron Cowart
#42 Kerryon Johnson
#61 Jeffery Holland
#143 Darius Slayton
#155 Ryan Davis
#156 Prince Tega Wanogho
#168 Tyler Carr
#179 Darrell Williams
#195 Richard McBryde


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