Overshadowed by conference powerhouses Alabama, Georgia, and LSU, Auburn has somewhat quietly clawed up to No. 7 in both the AP and Coaches Polls. This weekend, the Tigers face SEC West foe Mississippi State.
The Bulldogs present some uncertainty to Saturday's game. Mississippi State's quarterback situation is still very much in flux.
Penn State transfer Tommy Stevens won the job out of camp, and had some impressive moments early in the season. He was forced out during the team's close loss to Kansas State in Week 3 with an injury.
Stevens participated in practice this week but remains questionable. If he can't go, freshman Garrett Shrader, who guided the team to a 28-13 win over Kentucky last week, will get another start. Stevens is 36-for-55 for 441 yards, five touchdowns, and two interceptions, while Shrader is 28-for-45 for 302 yards and an interception. Both players bring a rushing element as well, as Stevens has score twice on the ground, while Shrader has 223 yards and a touchdown this season.
Auburn will keep rolling with Bo Nix under center. The true freshman hasn't put up huge numbers, but he has made some incredibly clutch throws and has the Tigers at 4-0.
More on the game:
Game Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Spread: Auburn -10
Announcers: Sean McDonough, Todd Blackledge, Holly Rowe
This one could wind up being a defensive slugfest, as that 46 total points line indicates. Auburn has thrived on defense this season, in particular, allowing under 16 points per game. The Tigers' defense is ranked No. 10 in FPI and No. 6 in SP+, ESPN's two major college football metrics.
The game may come down to whichever team best contains the other's rushing attack. Auburn's JaTarvious Whitlow has 408 yards and four yards on the year, while Mississippi State will ride lead back Kylin Hill, who has 551 yards and five scores. MSU's Shrader and Auburn's Joey Gatewood are each the backup quarterback, but both are second on their respective team in rushing yards, adding a dangerous element for each side as well.
Auburn will go from this game to a tough division crossover against Florida, while Mississippi State is on bye before an Oct. 12 game at Tennessee.