No. 18 Auburn, perhaps minus White, faces Alabama A&M

BY foxsports • November 18, 2016

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) The Auburn Tigers have far more concerns than beating the latest pre-Iron Bowl FCS opponent.

The 18th-ranked Tigers go into Saturday night's game against Alabama A&M with quarterback Sean White questionable and tailback Kamryn Pettway out, among other injury issues.

That probably won't matter much in the outcome of this game for the Tigers (7-3) against the Bulldogs (4-6) but the uncertainty could linger into the Iron Bowl against No. 1 Alabama.

White passed for just 27 yards in last week's loss to Georgia, when he aggravated a right (throwing) shoulder injury. That combined with some dropped passes and the absence of the Southeastern Conference's leading rusher Pettway led to a miserable offensive outing.

Pettway remains out with a let leg injury, leaving his status for Iron Bowl a big question mark.

''It's got to be the next man up mentality,'' Tigers coach Gus Malzahn said.

But questions abound about the next man at tailback and quarterback, too. Backup QB John Franklin III is a dynamic runner but has only passed for 94 yards all season. Third-teamer Jeremy Johnson is a former starter who hasn't thrown a pass since the opener.

At tailback, No. 2 rusher Kerryon Johnson has been playing through an ankle injury and Stanton Truitt (ankle) is out, along with H-back Chandler Cox (leg). Freshman Malik Miller returned to practice this week after missing the last five games with a knee injury, though it's not assured that he'll be ready to go.

Starting safety Johnathon Ford has been working at running back, where he had six carries for 73 yards against lesser competition as a freshman before moving to defense fulltime.

Punt returner/receiver Marcus Davis is also out for the final two games with a shoulder injury.


Some other things to look for in the Alabama A&M-Auburn game:

WHO'S THE QB: White was the SEC's highest rated passer entering the Georgia game. If he can't go, Johnson is more of a dropback passer while any game plan with Franklin would likely include a number of zone read plays and designed QB runs. It could be a chance to play both and sort out the Iron Bowl starter if White's not healthy.

KERRYON'S CARRIES: Malzahn indicated early in the week that the ideal scenario might be to rest Kerryon Johnson, too, but he might not have that luxury. The tailback has played in the past three games after sitting out against Arkansas.'' But at the same time we need to win this game, too,'' Malzahn said, ''so I'm not ready to make a call on that right now.''

SENIOR SENDOFF: It's the final home game for a group of seniors that includes Ford, guard Alex Kozan, cornerback Joshua Holsey, right tackle Robert Leff, punter Kevin Phillips and wide receiver Tony Stevens.

COWART'S OUT: This would have been a good time for backups like defensive end Byron Cowart to log some extra snaps. But the former top recruit is recovering from an emergency appendectomy he underwent on Wednesday.

FULLER'S HOUSE: Bulldogs assistant head coach Andy Fuller was an All-Southeastern Conference tight end for the Tigers and a member of the 1993 undefeated Auburn team. He was also on the Alabama A&M staff in 2012, the teams' only other meeting.


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