AUBURN, Ala. -- Saturday was supposed to be about the largest video board in college football making its debut at Auburn, but it nearly turned into disaster for the No. 6 team in the country. The Tigers had to score a touchdown in the final minute of regulation just to force overtime against FCS foe Jacksonville State. The defense made a key stand in overtime for the Tigers to survive the upset bid, 27-20.
What the win means for Auburn: The offense scuffled most of the game. Jeremy Johnson struggled, throwing two bad interceptions (see below). The defense gave up 438 yards on the day. Yet, the Tigers still found a way to pull out the victory. Clearly, there are plenty of issues that need to be fixed before this team goes to LSU next week, but Auburn is 2-0 -- just as everybody predicted.
What the loss means for Jacksonville State: It was heartbreaking, but Jacksonville State earned some national recognition by giving Auburn a scare. Eli Jenkins won the quarterback battle as he went 26-of-43 for 277 yards with a touchdown and one interception. And there’s no doubt the Gamecocks will be a force to be reckoned with this season in the FCS.
Star of the game: Peyton Barber was the star last week, rushing for 115 yards on 24 carries, and he did it again this week. The Auburn running back started slow but made two key plays in overtime when it mattered most. First, he caught a swing pass on third-and-7 and fought for the first down. Then, on the next play, he dove across the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown. Barber finished with 23 carries for 125 yards.
Uh, what?: Johnson threw some bad interceptions last week against Louisville, but that was all behind him, right? He was supposed to get back to being a Heisman Trophy candidate in Week 2. Only he didn’t. Johnson made two head-scratching throws into coverage that were picked off by Jacksonville State. It’s like he never saw the linebacker on either throw. Auburn is 2-0, but Johnson has to play better for the Tigers to have any chance in the SEC.