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Does Auburn have anything to fear facing Idaho Saturday?

Michael Niziolek

mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Auburn defensive backs Carlton Davis (18) and Nick Ruffin (19) push Jacksonville State wide receiver Josh Barge (12) out of bounds in the end zone on fourth down during overtime of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015, in at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala. (Albert Cesare/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP) NO SALES; MANDATORY CREDIT
Auburn defensive backs Carlton Davis (18) and Nick Ruffin (19) push Jacksonville State wide receiver Josh Barge (12) out of bounds in the end zone on fourth down during overtime of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015, in at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala. (Albert Cesare/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP) NO SALES; MANDATORY CREDIT

Auburn heads into Saturday’s game at Jordan-Hare Stadium against Idaho listed by most oddsmakers 32 to 34 point favorites

It’s the second time this year the Tigers have been favored by more than 30 points.

The previous time? A 27-20 overtime win over 40-plus point underdog Jacksonville State, an in-state FCS school.

Idaho (3-7; 2-5 Sun Belt) is a FBS team, but might not be as talented as the lower tier school Auburn faced in September.

The Vandals come in with one of the worst defenses in the country giving up 41.8 points per game (121 of 127 ranked teams) while allowing 488.9 yards per game (116 of 127 ranked teams) and 279. 1 yards on the ground (126 of 127 ranked teams).

Idaho’s junior kicker Austin Rehkow might be the most decorated player on the roster.

His 20 field goals this season are a school record, he’s connected on better than 87 percent of his kicks the past three years and his average of two field goals per game this year is second best in the country.

Rehkow is also fifth in the nation on punts sending his kicks an average of 46 yards. He is one of three FBS kickers in the country to handle kicking and punting duties.

Both Rehkow and Auburn kicker Daniel Carlson are on the Lou Garza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award semifinalist watch list.

On offense, Idaho has a 1,000-yard rusher in senior Elijhaa Penny, but tends to rely on its passing game throwing an average of 39 times per game.

Quarterback Matt Linehan, son of Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, is a true sophomore in his second year as the Vandals’ full-time starter.

He’s thrown for 2,471 yards, completing 63.6 percent of his passes with 14 touchdowns to 10 interceptions this season.

Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp expects a similar looking offense to the one he saw Louisville run in week one considering Idaho is coached by Bobby Petrino’s son Paul Petrino.

Paul Petrino spent years as his father’s offensive coordinator at stops including Louisville and Arkansas. Petrino has a record of 5-28 in two-plus years as the coach of the Vandals.

“Obviously, the background is there,” Muschamp said. “Paul does a great job teaching the quarterback. Certainly we've got our work cut out for us in the little film I've seen so far.”

Idaho’s lone game against a team from a Power 5 conference this year was a 59-9 loss to USC in September. The Vandals allowed 737 total yards of offense with 453 of those coming on the ground. The offense was 5 of 17 on third downs and had to punt nine times.

Michael Niziolek covers Auburn football for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. Email him at mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com or follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+

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