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Auburn missing key offensive performers for Citrus Bowl


AUBURN, #Alabama—#Preparing to face one of the country’s top-ranked defenses in the VRBO #Citrus #Bowl, the #Auburn #Tigers (6-4) will be without their leading receiver in number of catches and there is a question on whether the team’s top rusher #Tank #Bigsby will be ready for action vs. #Northwestern. #Junior wide receiver #Anthony #Schwartz is opting out of the contest, according to interim head coach #Kevin #Steele, who said on  #Wednesday that other players are questionable for the bowl.

“#Schwartz and #Mark-Antony #Richards for sure,” #Steele said of guys who won’t be available on #Friday for the bowl game. “#We have got some other guys and I’m not going to disclose that because I take more of an NFL approach of not letting the opponent know exactly what. #We have some guys that are injured. #We have some guys in covid protocol that may or may not be cleared from #Dr. (#Mike) #Goodlett, but it’s a work in progress. #We have had guys in and out of practice. #We have got some regular just football injuries we’re dealing with. #It’s going to be a little bit mix and match and we possibly may get some of those guys. #We may not get them back. #It’s kind of touch and go in terms of what we will have.”

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The SEC #Freshman of the #Year, #Bigsby is leading #Auburn in rushing with 834 yards and had five touchdowns on 138 carries. #That total is the second-most in school history for a freshman behind #Michael #Dyer’s total in 2010.

#With #Bigsby healthy the #Auburn offense was at its best this season. #He had 20-plus carries in three games this season, all wins for the #Tigers. #In those games he ran for 146 yards against #Arkansas, 129 yards against #Ole #Miss and 192 yards the last time out in a win over #Mississippi #State. #Auburn offensive coordinator #Chad #Morris said #Bigsby is a big part of the offense.

“#We’re hoping,” #Morris said of having #Bigsby available. “#We’ll see on that. #He has definitely had a great year, a phenomenal year. A young man that has an incredible future ahead of him. #When you’re able to to get the ball in his hands he makes a lot of things right. A young man that loves football and is a pleasure to be around.”

#Not having #Bigsby would be especially important because #Auburn is already without #Richards, who entered the transfer portal following the final game against #Mississippi #State. #That leaves the #Tigers with only #Shaun #Shivers and DJ #Williams as scholarship running backs heading into the bowl game.

#Auburn doesn’t have another running back who had a rushing attempt this season. #Walk-on #Peyton #Anderson from #Fyffe #High would likely be the third back for the #Tigers. The 5-11, 225 redshirt freshman was on the travel squad this season and got on the field in the loss to #Alabama.

#While the loss of #Schwartz may not be as impactful to the #Auburn offense because of the other players at the position, it means the loss of perhaps the fastest player in the country and a guy who stepped up his game as a junior in 2020. #Leading the team with 54 receptions, #Schwartz had 636 yards and three touchdowns this year. #This season he had a pair of 100-yard games in wins over #Arkansas and LSU.

#Without #Schwartz the #Tigers could give a number of young players more playing time and potentially more touches in the offense. The first option would likely be true freshman #Ze’#Vian #Capers. #Playing in nine games this season he has six receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown, but has gotten some key experience along the way.

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#Another true freshman that has gotten some playing time this season and could be in line for more work is #Kobe #Hudson. #With four catches this season for 41 yards, #Hudson has the ability to move all over the field and is good with the ball in his hands.

#Maybe the player who could benefit the most from #Schwartz not playing against #Northwestern is true freshman #Malcolm #Johnson. The early high school graduate has speed to burn and may be the best fit to try to replicate what #Schwartz brought to the table for the #Auburn offense.

#Something else that is a possibility is to see more of a tight end presence for the #Tigers. #This season we have seen #John #Samuel #Shenker and #Jeremiah #Pegues have an impact on offense with #Luke #Deal doing a great job as a blocker, but true freshman #Brandon #Frazier just started to round into form at the end of the regular season after missing much of the year with an undisclosed issue. #With his size and athleticism, #Frazier could give #Auburn a different look against #Northwestern.

#Tank #Bigsby has been one of the breakout performers in the SEC. (#Photo: #Jason #Caldwell/Inside The #Auburn #Tigers, 247Sports)





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https://247sports.com/college/auburn/Article/Auburn-football-takes-on-the-Northwestern-Wildcats-in-the-Citrus-Bowl-on-New-Years-Day-158032015/

##Auburn #missing #key #offensive #performers ##Citrus ##Bowl

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