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Auburn Tigers vs Kansas State Wildcats preview

Nick Marshall attempts to get Heisman campaign underway Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports
Nick Marshall attempts to get Heisman campaign underway
Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports
Nick Marshall ready for big road test at Kansas State

The Auburn Tigers suspended safety Jermaine Whitehead on Wednesday right before their road game with Kansas State. Whitehead is the most decorated defensive back for the Auburn Tigers. He’s fourth on the team in tackles with 12, and leads Auburn with two interceptions, including one for a touchdown.

With Kansas State’s ground game, Jermaine Whitehead’s absence will be a detrimental factor for Auburn. The Wildcats are not as potent on the ground, because they utilize a much more balanced attacked than Auburn’s offense.  However, the Wildcats may use a ball controlled offense to keep Auburn's offense off the field.  

According to, Auburn is a nine point favorite, but the line could go down with the loss of Whitehead. A Thursday night game on the road has not been kind to "Top 5" teams. Auburn will try to buck that trend.

Auburn Tigers

The Tigers average 330 rushing yards per game, and their philosophy will make teams wilt in the second half. Usually, that’s the best case scenario. Otherwise, Auburn can run past opponents in the first half. They average 6.7 yards per carry this season, so Auburn rarely has to use the passing game. However, when they do unleash the passing attack, it can be as deadly as the running game.

Nick Marshall leads the way at quarterback and he gets the chance to showcase his first of many Heisman trophy aspiring talents. Marshall has run the ball 19 times, and only passed the ball 25 times. He has a total of three touchdowns, but expect him to be unleashed if needed.

Cameron Artist-Payne leads the ground attack with 42 carries for 289 yards and four touchdowns. However, Corey Grant has been their more explosive running back this season. Grant is averaging 8.8 yards per carry, and he brings a dynamic change of pace to the Auburn Tigers.

Kansas State Wildcats

This game will come down to Kansas State’s defense. It’s not a foregone conclusion that Auburn will run all over this Wildcat defense. Kansas State gives up three yards per carry, but Auburn is by far the most explosive offense they have faced this season.

Kansas State will stack the box and force Auburn to pass the ball on early downs. Whether or not they are successful depends how comfortable Nick Marshall is in the passing game. Not does Kansas State have to tackle well, they need to be in the correct spots on the field to tackle well.

Auburn has a knack for getting the defense out of position, and then the whole team concept will get discombobulated. Kansas State must be wary of that from the opening kickoff.


Turnovers will be another huge key for both teams. Together, they have combined for three turnovers. Jake Waters has thrown one interception, while Auburn has fumbled a couple of times. Waters also ran for four more touchdowns this season. He has the second most carries in the game, so Jake Waters will be keyed as much in the running game as the passing game.

The Verdict

Usually, this is the perfect spot where Kansas State pulls off the upset and rides off into the sunset. Auburn has to get off to a fast start. The quicker that they slow the momentum of the home crowd, the better it will be for the Tigers’ chances.

Auburn 42

Kansas State 35