Auburn Hopes to Snap Losing Skid with Season Opener Against Mercer

Bryan Harsin

Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Auburn opens its second season under Coach Bryan Harsin, seeking to snap a five-game losing streak when it hosts Mercer.

The Tigers will start T.J. Finley at quarterback after he fought off challenges from two new transfers. They’re breaking in a largely new receiving group besides Shedrick Jackson.

Auburn has won 15 straight nonconference home games dating to the 2016 season. Mercer opened the season with a 63-13 win over Morehead State, producing a school-record 625 total yards.

A key matchup is Auburn’s passing game against Mercer’s defense. Auburn knows who its starting quarterback is now but the Tigers still must identify their go-to wide receivers. Shedrick Jackson is the most proven performer. Finley got the starting nod for the fourth straight game, with mobile Oregon transfer Robby Ashford as his backup.

Auburn running back Tank Bigsby is the Tigers’ best offensive playmaker. There’s little doubt of that. Bigsby has run for 1,933 yards and 15 touchdowns over his first two seasons and is a preseason All-Southeastern Conference pick.

The Tigers open with five consecutive home games for the first time since 2016. Auburn has outscored Mercer 530-22 with nine shutouts in a series that saw its first game in 1896. Nearly half of Mercer’s points came in a 24-10 loss in 2017, the last time they played each other.

Kickoff is Saturday at 6PM CDT on SEC Network Plus.

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