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Auburn facing five of Top 12? Tigers glad to be home
Nov. 22, 2014

Nick Marshall and Auburn are looking for win No. 8 tonight

By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- It's been a long road of Top 25 teams for Auburn heading into Saturday's 6 p.m. against Samford.
Auburn has already played four of the nation's Top 12 teams away from Jordan-Hare Stadium, and a fifth Top 12 team, Alabama, waits in Tuscaloosa next Saturday.

That's just the start of it.

Auburn will complete the regular season having played two of the Top 4 teams, should the rankings stay the same. And next Saturday at Alabama will be the seventh straight ranked team Auburn has played on the road, including a fifth against a Top 5 team.


Auburn comes into tonight's game at 7-3 and ranked No. 14 nationally, the highest ranked three-loss team in the country. Samford is 7-3 and has won four straight, but is a decided underdog as it steps up in classification.

Auburn scheduled Samford -- a game in which 27 players will suit up for the final time in Jordan-Hare -- to catch its breath between Georgia and Alabama. There is work to do, however, like solidifying the defense, making sure the offense is working properly and surveying the first 10 games. If the score allows, Auburn will look at young players, too.

But coach Gus Malzahn said Saturday's goal is to "get our edge back, play better and try to get better in all three areas."

"If the opportunity presents itself," he added, "it would be great to get those young guys in to play."

The tough schedule didn't sneak up on anybody. Auburn knew what it was getting into when practice started in August.

"We knew the schedule was the toughest," Malzahn said. "You've got to have a plan and be strategic. 

"I'm not looking for excuses. It is what it is and we knew it when we started.  We've got to finish this thing."

There have been moments of reflection, indeed, after last week's loss at Georgia.

"That's how this thing works in life and athletics," said offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee. "We are going to find out a lot about our team, what we're made of and how we respond.

"As coaches, we've got to respond well if we want our players to respond well. We still have plenty to play for. We have a lot of opportunities, win No. 8 this weekend being one of them"

Auburn leads the SEC in rushing, and so does Cameron Artis-Payne. 

"At the end of the day," Lashlee said, "I'd like to think we've still done a lot of productive things. We're going to move forward and try to build on what we know our strengths are and get better."

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



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