So many folks tend to think hurry-up, no-huddle, fast-paced offenses mean throwing the ball nearly every down.
As Auburn has shown this season, you can run a hurry-up offense that is based on a physical running game. In fact, that’s what Auburn rode to a national title in 2010.
The running game worked so well Saturday against Tennessee that Auburn threw only seven passes. The previous week, the Tigers attempted only nine.
Nick Marshall rushed for 214 yards, and Tre Mason was his usual dependable self.
If you want to ding Auburn for anything it did on offense, you can point out Tennessee’s interception return for a touchdown with fewer than two minutes left in the first half. But the Tigers responded with a touchdown drive before intermission, erasing any momentum the Vols had gained.
Auburn allowed the Vols to rush for more than 200 yards. In addition, the Tigers forced only one turnover.
Still, Auburn’s defense gave up only one touchdown, probably because it shined in an important statistic — third-down coversion.
The Tigers allowed the Vols to convert only 4 of 13.
Sure, Tennessee is struggling, but that’s solid.
Chris Davis returned a punt for a touchdown and Corey Grant did the same on a kickoff return. Auburn hasn’t had both happen in a game ever. It’s hard to beat that.
Two weeks earlier, Davis returned a punt 70 yards against Florida Atlantic.
Auburn has had a kickoff return for a touchdown already this year, but it was by Mason.
The one negative on special teams — the Tigers got an extra point blocked for the first time since 1996.
For another week, who can argue with Gus Malzahn?
Auburn got significant contributions from all three phases Saturday — offense, defense and special teams. That’s solid, even against a team slumping as badly as Tennessee is.
The Tigers wiped out Tennessee as expected, and now they move on to bigger and more meaningful Saturdays.
Auburn is 9-1 with two of its biggest games of the year left: Georgia and Alabama.
Both are at home, which is good. Both are going to be tough outs, which isn’t so good.
However, Malzahn and his staff have prepared their team as well as they possibly can. The possibility of an 11-1 record is there.