FINAL: Clemson defeats Auburn 14-6. To sum it up succinctly, the Auburn offense was terrible when it mattered Saturday night. Quarterback Jarrett Stidham was sacked 11 times, and the offense was never able to really get itself going after two promising drives in the first half led to only six points.
The Auburn defense did everything it could, forcing six punts and helping its team win the turnover battle 2-0. But since the defense couldn't put up any points, their efforts went for naught.
Auburn tries to regroup on Sept. 16 against Mercer.
1:28, 4Q: Kelly Bryant converts on third down. Clemson can run the clock out from here.
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2:22, 4Q: Auburn takes its last timeout. Barring a forced turnover or a stop and a big punt return, the Tigers' chances of toppling Clemson are uber, uber slim.
3:15, 4Q: No drive better summarizes Auburn's second half then it's latest drive. Quarterback Jarrett Stidham was sacked on three consecutive plays, leaving the Clemson defense with 11 -- yes, 11 -- sacks tonight.
6:10, 4Q: Stephen Roberts with a big punt return to get Auburn close to midfield. The Tigers' offense has been dismal tonight, particularly in the second half, but make sure and credit the Auburn defense. Auburn's defense has forced six punts tonight.
END 3Q: Clemson leads Auburn 14-6. The Auburn offensive line has struggled mightily against a touted Clemson defensive line. Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham has been sacked multiple times, including one two Auburn drives ago that resulted in a turnover on downs.
5:39, 3Q. Auburn's latest drive ends with Stidham getting leveled at midfield for a turnover on downs. The Tigers tried to go for it on fourth down shortly after Auburn's third-down play featured about a five-yard pass when the team needed to 10. Needless to say, Auburn's offense has seen better drives.
9:04, 3Q. Consecutive sacks ended what was almost a disastrous drive for Auburn. Quarterback Jarrett Stidham fumbled on the first of the fumbles, but offensive lineman Prince Tega Wanogho did a great job of spotting and diving on the loose football. A Clemson score on this drive could prove troubling.
11:48, 3Q. Kelly Bryant with a 27-yard TD run. Clemson leads Auburn 14-6. The Clemson offense had several big plays on this eight-play, 79-yard drive, which ended with Bryant calling his own number for the long touchdown run. As promising as Auburn's first two quarters were, the SEC Tigers need a drive to end in the end zone if they want to keep pace with a Clemson offense that's heating up.
HALFTIME: Clemson leads Auburn 7-6. The game might as well be tied after a 30-minute opening half in which Auburn mostly dominated. The SEC Tigers' need to settle for field goals makes it hard to see just how well they played in the first two quarters. Those kicks may also loom large, especially the first one after a delay of game pushed Auburn too far back on a would-be fourth-and-goal.
The top three players from the first half were kicker Daniel Carlson, defensive back Jeremiah Dinson and running back Kamyrn Pettway. Carlson delivered all of Auburn's first-half points, Dinson forced a fumble that set up Carlson's second field goal, and Pettway continued to make big runs with his strong second efforts.
0:48, 2Q. Clemson's Kelly Bryant with a 3-yard touchdown run. Clemson leads Auburn 7-6. And just like that, Auburn trails near the end of a strong first half. The Tigers' use of those two timeouts early in the first quarter may be harmful as they try to answer back before halftime.
6:47, 2Q: Clemson misses a 46-yard field goal. This miss was a huge win for the Auburn defense, which finally bent a little for the first time tonight but still surrendered no points.
14:17, 2Q: Daniel Carlson tacks on a 28-yard field goal. Auburn leads 6-0. A touchdown could have been huge for Auburn, the game remains in the road squad's favor. Clemson's next drive will be interesting, as the home Tigers have done little so far offensively.
END OF 1Q: Auburn leads 3-0. The scoreboard doesn't reflect it, but the road Tigers completely dominated the opening 15 minuts. No play will likely be more important than Dinson's forced fumble and subsequent recovery. The Clemson defense has already had one strong goal line stand, but an Auburn touchdown here would do wonders.
1:13, 1Q: Auburn defensive back Jeremiah Dinson with a tremendous play to force a Clemson fumble deep in the ACC Tigers' territory and falling on the ball. After review, the play was upheld. Stidham and Co. have great field position to start their next drive.
5:12, 1Q: The Auburn defense stood tall on their first drive and made sure Clemson could not quickly strike back after Carlson's field goal. The big play was undoubtedly on Clemson's third down, when Jeff Holland and Nick Coe came together for the drive-ending sack.
7:41, 1Q: Daniel Carlson connects on a 24-yard field goal. Auburn leads 3-0. Auburn would have likely been pushing its luck had it gone for its second fourth-down conversion of its opening drive, which it planned before a delay of game penalty. Auburn showed it was capable of moving the ball against the defending champs, but judging by the Clemson defensive line's work near the goal line, Auburn offensive line coach Herb Hand may have a thing or two to tell his guys on the sideline.
12:03, 1Q: There's been plenty to like from Auburn's opening drive of the game. Quarterback Jarrett Stidham has done a solid job of standing tall in the pocket, despite taking a big hit on the very first play of the game. Auburn benefited from a pass-interference call on a third down a few plays ago, but other than that, the SEC Tigers have done what they needed thus far.
One of the top games on Saturday night will be the Tangle of the Tigers, a showdown between No. 13 Auburn and No. 3 Clemson. As part of the game’s coverage, we’ll have a live blog following the ins and outs of the matchup.
Before kickoff, here’s what you need to know.
When: 7 p.m. EST
Where to Watch: ESPN (Commentators: Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Todd McShay)
All-Time Series Record: Auburn leads 33-14-2
Last Meeting: Clemson won 19-13 in 2016
Battle for the Ball: Coaches always preach winning the turnover battle, which is something Auburn needs in its favor to win a road game against a tough Clemson team. The SEC Tigers turned the ball over three times in the Week 1 blowout win over Georgia Southern, which included a fumble that led to the Eagles’ only seven points. If Auburn gifts Clemson three possessions, it might turn ugly.
Pick a Running Back, Any Running Back: Auburn has been already been tasked with running the ball without top backs Kamryn Pettway --suspended against Georgia Southern -- or Kerryon Johnson, who left in the first half of the victory. The status of both players is unclear against Clemson, which was mediocre against the run in 2016 (surrendered 119 yards per game). Auburn only rushed for 87 yards in its last go around with the ACC Tigers, but the team needs a much better night on the ground to have a shot.
What Can Brown Do For You?: Sophomore defensive lineman Derrick Brown was a big get for the Tigers two years ago, spurning Georgia and others to leave the Peach State. Brown was looked upon as a candidate to replace Montravius Adams and Carl Lawson on the Tigers’ defensive line and showed flashes last week, recording one-and-a-half tackles for loss and six total tackles. Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant had little issues against Kent State, but if Auburn is going to disrupt its opponent’s offense, Brown needs to get after Bryant early and often.
Three Auburn players to watch
Jarrett Stidham, quarterback
Kam Martin, running back
Tre’ Williams, linebacker