Why reigniting the pass rush must be a top priority for Auburn football in 2021
The Tigers used to be one of the most feared third-down defenses in CFB. Last year, they were one of the worst. Getting after the QB is key.
(Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics)
Statistically, there wasn’t a bigger drop for Auburn football in 2020 than the one it experienced in the area of third-down defense.
In 2019, the Tigers were No. 8 nationally in third-down defense, allowing conversions on just 29.9% of opponents’ attempts. If Auburn could get you to the “money down,” it was usually game over for your drive.
But in 2020, the Tigers had nearly a complete reversal of results. They ranked a woeful 121st in the FBS in third-down defense, with opponents converting on 50.31% of their attempts.
Auburn was one of just eight teams in college football who allowed more conversions than they had stops on third downs — a list that included only one other team with a winning record (Stanford) and featured subdivision doormats Bowling Green, UMass, Akron and Louisiana-Monroe.
Auburn only had two games — a blowout win over LSU and a regular-season finale victory at Mississippi State — in which it had a third-down defensive percentage of le…