Film Room: A closer look at Auburn's pass defense problems against Mississippi State

Auburn's bend-don't-break style, which had produced solid results in most of its SEC games, broke over and over again in Saturday's collapse.

(Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics)

Heading into the Mississippi State game, Auburn’s pass defense had to at least feel good about its chances to slow down Mike Leach’s famed Air Raid attack.

In SEC play, the Tigers had only allowed five passing touchdowns in five games — and none since the win over Arkansas almost a month ago. Only one quarterback, Georgia’s Stetson Bennett, had completed more than 62% of his passes against the Tigers. Defensive coordinator Derek Mason’s bend-don’t-break style was doing its job.

And the first three drives Saturday reinforced that. The Tigers held the Bulldogs out of the end zone, and quarterback Will Rogers completed just five of his first 11 passes.

But that success seemed like a distant memory three quarters later. Rogers threw six touchdown passes, more than doubling the amount the Tigers had allowed in SEC play in just one afternoon. He completed 78.6% of his passes for 415 yards. He only threw three incompletions after the first quarter.

Auburn didn’t s…

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