WEEK 7 PREVIEW: #3 Auburn vs #2 Hawaii
Auburn dons their lei’s as they pack their bags for the beautiful islands of Hawaii. Before relaxing on the beach with their Mai Tai’s, the Tigers must head to the sacred land that is known as Aloha Stadium. Waiting for Auburn there will be the #2 ranked Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. The Warrior’s are a special group that return to their homeland after a convincing 38-24 victory over the Irish. The last time these Warriors stepped foot on their turf, it was a bloodshed of the team known as the “Buckeyes.”
This game provides a fitting matchup of two top teams fighting for a spot atop the SEC conference.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
AUBURN DEFENSE vs HAWAII OFFENSE
Auburn’s defense comes into this game after allowing 636 yards against Ohio State. 480 of those yards came through the air. The Tiger defense comes in at number nine in total offense allowed at 468.5 yards. Doug Ohle and company will look to exploit the Auburn secondary with their passing offense. Ranked fifth in the league, the Hawaii’s offense is averaging 278.2 yards per game via the pass.
Attempting to slow down this passing attack will be Auburns playmaking safety, Eric LeClear. LeClear has been known to win games for the Tigers and will need to be the center fielder against this strong Hawaii attack.
AUBURN HB Brandon Davis Jr. vs HAWAII MLB DeJounte Wilson
If Auburn is going to have a chance in this game, they will need players not named “Moon” to step up. Brandon Davis Jr. struggled in the game last week against OSU, rushing for only 18 yards and 35 yards receiving. His task will be difficult as he will likely be going up against DeJounte Wilson.
Wilson is the playmaking star for this Hawaii defense. He is credited with 53 tackles, five for a loss, two interceptions and a fumble recovery. Wilson will need to use his exceptional speed and tackling ability to stop Brandon Davis Jr. and force Moon to produce for Auburn.
“Blake Moon is a great player and he is surrounded by great players. We just want to make them work for what they get and trust our offense to come through.” – Hawaii AD, wyrmreaver, on how to stop Blake Moon
“This is the toughest team we’ve played yet. They can hurt you in a lot of ways on offense, and their defense plays very well as a cohesive unit. I was unhappy with our defensive performance last week, so we have had to make adjustments on that side of the ball going against a far more dangerous offense. It’s basically pick your poison with this squad. On offense, we need to play our game and avoid mistakes. We need touchdowns, not field goals.” – Auburn AD, pack1797, on tonight’s matchup.
OUTSIDE SCOUTS TAKE
“Auburn’s Rushing Offense v Hawaii’s Rushing Defense Auburn is 4th averaging 192.3 rush yards per game, while Hawai’i is 10th in rushing defense, allowing 201.5. We play Auburn in a couple weeks and I plan to absolutely game plan against the run. I know Moon can beat you with his golden arm of the gods, but you need to stifle that rushing attack and hope you can get some picks. Hawaii has a much better offense than we do so their margin of error is far greater than what we’ll face, but I think if Auburn can run on them with good results, they will win by a comfortable margin.”
Blake Moon played admirably last week in the loss against OSU but teams may have figured out Auburn’s weakness. The AD for Hawaii is a seasoned pro at game planning and will likely take a similar approach of making Moon the one man show. If Hawaii is able to limit big plays from Moon’s surrounding cast, they could walk away with a win.
If Auburn’s defense fixes the issues they had last week, they could pull away early. Eric LeClear and Taitum Callup will need to create turnovers for their defense. On offense, Brandon Davis Jr. will need to help Moon in moving the chains to keep Hawaii’s offense at bay.
While Blake Moon is the best QB in the league, Doug Ohle will be the best QB in this game. Look for Ohle and Ron Dayne Jr. to eat against this vulnerable defense. Hawaii wins this game by one score.
Hawaii 41, Auburn 34