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The sack is back in Auburn's defense
Nov. 3, 2014

Sack: Auburn's Kris Frost has Bo Wallace down in Saturday's game

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn found its elusive pass rush at Ole Miss, and now hopes it will wreck things for Texas A&M and everybody else down the football schedule.

The Tigers had a season-high four sacks in Saturday's 35-31 win, found more pressure by being more aggressive and forced the issue by sending defenders up the middle.

In a game in which the Tigers forced a fumble at the goal line with a minute-and-a-half to play, and then had to survive one more drive, sacking the quarterback and coming close other times was a happy constant.

"One positive thing, I thought we got a little bit more pass pressure," said defense coordinator Ellis Johnson on Sunday night. "That improved this week and, hopefully, that's a good thing to build on going forward. I would say up until that time that was our biggest issue. That wasn't as big of a problem this time. We had some breakdowns back there and we've got to get them straight."

Now, No. 3 Auburn, with a ranking reinforced Sunday, will try to build upon its 7-1 overall record and 4-1 mark in the SEC in Saturday's 2:30 p.m. game in Jordan-Hare Stadium against Texas A&M, which is 6-3 overall, 2-3 in the league and has freshman Kyle Allen trying to make an impression in his second college start.

Counting half-sacks, Auburn had five players knocking down Bo Wallace: Linebackers Kris Frost and Cassanova McKinzy and defensive linemen Angelo Blackson, Montravius Adams and Gimel President. The four sacks wasn't only a season high, but only the second time the Tigers have had multiple sacks in a game this season. Auburn has 16 sacks on the season and has allowed the fewest in the SEC at six (of course, Auburn has thrown the fewest passes in the SEC as well).

"We worked some guys in. We've tried to get the best ones with the skill set and the speed to get it done," Johnson said. "At times it was hard to sub because of their pace, but when we were able to get them in the game, it certainly helped."

Johnson said Brandon King can use his speed at defensive end to press the issue. He said Blackson, Adams, DaVonte Lambert and Gabe Wright did, too.

"In some ways it was just individuals stepping up their game a little bit. Other things it was working some personnel in there and trying to get the right combination of guys that can get that speed for a pass rush situation.

"But I thought our pressure was pretty good from the beginning on through. Even when we didn't sack him, we moved him out of the pocket a lot and got a lot of hits on him.

"No question, it was the best game we've had in that area."

Johnson said Auburn had a low 11 missed tackles, and the Tigers improved in areas such as missed assignment and finishing plays.

"All the accountabilities went down this week. They were better," Johnson said. "But when we missed a tackle, it was big, glaring missed tackles."

But Kris Frost didn't missed. He's the one that ran down receiver Laquon Treadwell and forced the fumble at the goal line with time running down. Treadwell suffered a fractured leg and ankle on the play, something that bothered Auburn a day later.

"That was an unbelievable ending, and just things that were happening and the unfortunate injury just sickens you," Johnson said. "The ball to come out the way it did, the kid's leg was across the line but the ball was not."

Frost called it a hustle play.

"I just feel like I was fortunate enough to get to him and unfortunately he fell back on his leg. It's really unfortunate. I know we've all been praying for him and hoping he'll have a speedy recovery," he said.

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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