Week six is upon us and the push for the playoffs has officially begun as we open up this week with an SEC battle between the Auburn Tigers and the Texas Longhorns. Auburn comes in at 3-2 (2-1 SEC) and a half-game ahead of Miami, who holds the tiebreaker, for the final SEC playoff spot. With Clemson looming next week, this is a must-win for the Tigers if they want to get to the CFSL playoffs. Texas enters at 4-1 (2-0 SEC) and sits comfortably tied with Clemson atop the SEC standings. Texas ends the season with three conference games in a row, so they haven’t quite clinched yet, but a win tonight would surely secure their spot in the playoffs.
Auburn’s struggles have come on offense, as they have been inconsistent and middle of the road team when in possession. Griffin Jelkic showed toughness last week as he brought his team to victory from behind as he tallied 3 total touchdowns, one of those being a highlight catch and run by freshman phenom Cross Ferry III. Texas is elite against the run game, which is Auburn’s bread and butter, so the Tigers will have to get creative in the passing game tonight to keep the Longhorns on their toes. TCU was able to get to the Texas secondary last week, so look for the receiving duo of Ferry and Bubba Davis to get going tonight, with tight end James Mattly to get a good matchup against the Longhorn linebackers, which seems to be the weak spot for Texas.
Down 14 points at the half, Auburn battled back and edged out the Florida Gators, capped off by a gutsy 4th and 1 stop late in the game by freshman linebacker Mark Calloway. The Auburn defense continues to keep the Tigers in games. Arguably the top defense in the CFSL, the Tigers are the best team in the CFSL when facing the run and top 5 when facing the path, all while holding opponents to 21.4 points per game. Calloway leads this Auburn defense into a tough matchup with the top offensive team in the league. Texas rolls out the top receiving corps in the league, so corners LaRoi Sanders, Max Hands, and free safety Sky Taylor are going to have to be in top form in order for the Tigers to come away with a victory.
The Longhorn offense is fast, high powered, and just plain nasty. They come in as the top-scoring team in the CFSL with 47 points per game and the top passing team with 379 yards per game through the air. Reigning all-American Ray Tatum leads the offense with two other all-Americans in receiver Vincent McCoy and tight end Jackson James along with the other receivers Scooby Lewis and Ray Conley, who leads the league in touchdown catches. This Texas offense is super dynamic and can beat you with any one of those four targets, which creates impossible matchups for opponents. The Longhorns have to be ready for the possibility of an all-out rushing defense from the Tigers, so they’ll have to get freshman running back Tarraj Walker involved, who has been an afterthought for the Longhorns this season.
The Longhorns’ defense is just as talented as its offense as their hybrid attack leads the league in points allowed with just over 20 points per game allowed, which is incredible in such a good offensive league. Led by all-American and fan-favorite Jimbo Smithers, who had a pick 6 last week against TCU, the Longhorns will look to stymie the balanced attack of the Tigers offense tonight. While this defense has been really good, it has been suspect against the pass as we saw Notre Dame take advantage of that earlier in the season. Terrance top will likely get the tough matchup against Cross Ferry III and Jakari June will draw Bubba Davis, which on paper seems like an advantage for Auburn. The Longhorns defense, mainly their pass defense, will prove key to a Texas victory tonight.
What to Watch For
We have the top 2 defenses tonight going head to head, so we will see which offense can overcome the other’s stronghold tonight. We know that the Auburn offense has struggled for a majority of the season and we know that the Texas offense has been the best in the league. Look for Auburn to attack the Longhorn secondary. Terrance Top vs Cross Ferry III is turning out to be a matchup to watch in this one.
Auburn has a bad stigma on their name when it comes to facing top teams, they just struggle against contenders. Texas has been steady and consistent and put the league on notice with their great play on both sides of the ball. The defenses are both really good as mentioned before, so we will turn to the offenses to determine the winner. It’s simple, Auburn has struggled on offense and doesn’t match up well with the Longhorns. Texas has been a juggernaut and rolls out the top receiver corps. Auburn won’t be able to slow this Texas attack. Give me Texas in the convincing win as they punch their ticket to the CFSL playoffs.
Auburn 24 Texas 35