Corey Grant

Auburn expects to use RB Corey Grant more in the coming weeks

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Corey Grant’s touches have decreased almost every week this season. The Auburn Tigers coaching staff plans to rectify that issue.

Through the first two games, the senior running back ran the ball 20 times for 176 yards. During the following four games, Grant carried the ball 19 times for 76 yards. Despite his game-changing speed, Grant only had a single carry Saturday against the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

“You know, with Corey, he’s like a lightning rod,” Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee told Al.com’s Brandon Marcello. “He gets in the game, and everybody knows how explosive he is. Defenses almost have specific plans when they see 20 on the field. They know, bam, they’re going to do certain things. We’ve got to get creative and find ways to get him touches.”

Grant is at his best when he can get out on the edges and outrace defenders down the sideline. Whereas Cameron Artis-Payne and Nick Marshall are more traditional between-the-tackles running backs.

“Obviously [opposing defense are] worried about perimeter,” Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn told Marcello. “He’s one of the fastest guys in college football. We run him between the tackles more than we have on the perimeter this year.”

Once Grant is excluded from the game plan, the Tigers’ offense becomes far more limited.

“You’re right, his touches the last few games have been down, but he has still made plays with it,” Lashlee said.  “It’s a good problem with those guys, but we’ve got to do a better job managing and making sure that we’re getting them the touches when they need it and the right kind of touches.”

This weekend will be the perfect opportunity for the Tigers to find a better balance within their running game. Auburn hosts the South Carolina Gamecocks, who are currently ranked 85th overall in rushing defense and surrender 176.8 yards per game.

Halftime: Auburn rolling all over San Jose State, 38-10

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If you were inclined to believe San Jose State could travel cross-country and push No. 5 Auburn in Jordan-Hare Stadium, there was a moment where it seemed possible. Key phrase: a moment.

Auburn opened the scoring with a four-yard touchdown toss from Nick Marshall to Ricardo Louis, and the Spartans responded immediately with a 75-yard Blake Jurich touchdown strike to Tyler Ervin. There was your moment.

The Tigers rolled 60 yards in eight plays to take a 14-7 lead, and haven’t looked back from there. Cameron Artis-Payne has led the way, posting a fantasy-friendly line of 16 rushes for 114 yards and three touchdowns. Marshall has added 77 passing yards, 71 rushing yards and one touchdown, and Corey Grant has rushed six times for 57 yards. Sophomore quarterback Jeremy Johnson has yet to see the field, but with Auburn nursing a 38-10 lead and, given his play last week, that should change in the second half.

Outside of that 75-yarder, Jurich has completed 10-of-17 passes for 69 yards and two interceptions.

San Jose State gets the ball to open the second half.

Auburn picks up where it left off, cruises past Arkansas

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The last time Auburn took the pristine field at Jordan-Hare Stadium, Chris Davis carried the ball 109 yards, past the Alabama field goal unit and into the pages of history. Nine months later, Gus Malzahn and the No. 6 Auburn Tigers picked up right where they left off, cruising past Arkansas 45-21.

Jeremy Johnson earned the start for a double-secret suspended Nick Marshall and could not have started hotter, guiding Auburn on touchdown drives of 75, 75 and 98 to open the game. The sophomore hit his first eight throws for 204 yards and two touchdowns, the first of which came on the same extended play-action that tied the Alabama game, carrying Melvin Ray 49 yards into the same end zone where Ricardo Louis stunned Georgia and where the Tigers scored the tying and winning touchdowns against Alabama. Johnson played the entire first half and did all of his damage through the air, hitting 13-of-17 passes for 243 yards and those two scores.

Marshall played the second half and got the familiar Malzahn-patented running game going. In addition to his own 19-yard scoring dash to open the second half, Marshall’s presence gave Auburn’s running backs space to do their best Tre Mason impressions. Cameron Artis-Payne rushed 26 for 178 yards and one touchdown, and Corey Grant added 10 carries for 87 yards and another score.

Arkansas matched Auburn score for score early. With an offensive line that the SEC Network broadcast noted as the fourth-largest in all of football, the Razorbacks pummeled the Auburn front for 151 yards on seven yards a pop in forging a 21-21 halftime deadlock, but defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson’s unit dominated the second half. Every second half Arkansas possession traveled 20 yards or less and ended in a punt, except for the one Jermaine Whitehead ended with a 33-yard pick six that effectively shut down any chance of an upset.

After rushing for those 151 first-half yards, Arkansas was nearly doubled up on the ground, 302-153. That means Arkansas rushed for two yards in the second half.

The second half was fractured by a one hour, 28 minute weather delay. And, in the ultimate act of vengeance by the football gods, after years debate over the hurry-up no-huddle and debates about “what we want football to be” that saw Bret Bielema and Malzahn taking polar opposite sides, the Jordan-Hare Stadium clocks were inoperable for the entire first half.

All-SEC First Team led by eight from Alabama

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Alabama was picked by the media as the conference favorite in 2014 for good reason. The amount of talent on Alabama’s roster is in a class of its own, which is put on display by the preseason all-SEC teams released on th final day of SEC Media Week. Alabama led the conference with eight players on the All-SEC First Team.

Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper received the most voting points of any offensive player in the media poll, with 282 points. Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall was named to the first team with 241 points. Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon received 281 points for the top spot on the first team offense, but Georgia running back Todd Gurley received 280 points to receive first team honors as well.

Two defensive players from Alabama also received the highest voting totals for the defensive first team. Defensive back Landon Collins received 274 points, followed by linebacker Trey DePriest (253). Christion Jones received first team honors for special teams, giving Alabama eight total first team All-SEC players.

Here is the full breakdown of the preseason All-SEC teams, courtesy of TideSports.com;

2014 PRE-SEASON MEDIA DAYS ALL-SEC TEAM

(Total points earned in parenthesis)

OFFENSE

First-Team
QB Nick Marshall, Auburn (241)

RB T.J. Yeldon, Alabama (281)
RB Todd Gurley, Georgia (280)

WR Amari Cooper, Alabama (282)

WR Sammie Coates, Auburn (207)

TE O.J. Howard, Alabama (188)

OL La’el Collins, LSU (231)

OL Arie Kouandjio, Alabama (188)

OL Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss (183)

OL Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M (174)

C Reese Dismukes, Auburn (226)

Second-Team

QB Dak Prescott, Mississippi State (118)

RB Mike Davis, South Carolina (240)

RB Alex Collins, Arkansas (126)

WR Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss (182)

WR Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia (71)

TE C.J. Uzomah, Auburn (141)

OL A.J. Cann, South Carolina (166)

OL Vadal Alexander, LSU (112)

OL Alex Kozan, Auburn (112)

OL Corey Robinson, South Carolina (107)

C Ryan Kelly, Alabama (126)

Third-Team

QB Bo Wallace, Ole Miss (94)

RB Corey Grant, Auburn (52)

RB Keith Marshall, Georgia (44)

WR Jameon Lewis, Mississippi State (67)

WR Marquez North, Tennessee (66)

TE Hunter Henry, Arkansas (72)

OL Austin Shepherd, Alabama (106)

OL Chad Slade, Auburn (101)

OL John Theus, Georgia (96)

OL Chaz Green, Florida (94)

C Evan Boehm, Missouri (77)

DEFENSE

First-Team

DL Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss (239)

DL Dante Fowler, Jr., Florida (212)

DL A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama (208)

DL Gabe Wright, Auburn (192)

LB Trey DePriest, Alabama (253)

LB A.J. Johnson, Tennessee (186)

LB Ramik Wilson, Georgia (147)

DB Landon Collins, Alabama (274)

DB Vernon Hargreaves, III, Florida (243)

DB Cody Prewitt, Ole Miss (210)

DB Deshazor Everett, Texas A&M (183)

Second-Team

DL Trey Flowers, Arkansas (181)

DL Chris Jones, Mississippi State (150)

DL Alvin “Bud” Dupree, Kentucky (134)

DL Markus Golden, Missouri (125)

LB Benardrick McKinney, Mississippi State (143)

LB Jordan Jenkins, Georgia (137)

LB Denzel Nkemdiche, Ole Miss (116)

DB Robenson Therezie, Auburn (144)

DB Tre’Davious White, LSU (141)

DB Damian Swann, Georgia (127)

DB Tony Conner, Ole Miss (116)

Third-Team

DL Ray Drew, Georgia (102)

DL Montravius Adams, Auburn (94)

DL Carl Lawson, Auburn (87)

DL Jermauria Rasco, LSU (79)

LB Kwon Alexander, LSU (112)

LB Cassanova McKinzy, Auburn (82)

LB Serderius Bryant, Ole Miss (76)

DB Jon Mincy, Auburn (99)

DB Corey Thompson, LSU (86)

DB Rashard Robinson, LSU (84)

DB Brison Williams, South Carolina (81)

SPECIALISTS

First-Team

P Drew Kaser, Texas A&M (221)

PK Marshall Morgan, Georgia (224)

RS Christion Jones, Alabama (262)

AP Christion Jones, Alabama (130)

Second-Team

P Sam Irwin-Hill, Arkansas (136)

PK Colby Delahoussaye, LSU (142)

RS Andre Debose, Florida (97)

AP Terrence Magee, LSU (111)

Third-Team
P Jamie Keehn, LSU (81)

PK Andrew Baggett, Missouri (103)

RS Marcus Murphy, Missouri (72)

AP Trey Williams, Texas A&M (89)