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Saturday December 3rd, 2022 1:53PM

Auburn tries to snap 5-game skid in opener with Mercer

By The Associated Press
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AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Mercer (1-0) at Auburn (0-0), Saturday, 7 p.m. ET (SEC Network Plus)

Line: No early line from FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Auburn leads 12-0.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Auburn is trying to snap a five-game losing streak that led to a challenging offseason for coach Bryan Harsin. The Tigers also need to identify some playmakers in the passing game for quarterback T.J. Finley, who beat out two transfers to retain the starting job. FCS Mercer is coming off a 63-13 opening win over Morehead State and seeking its first win over Auburn.

KEY MATCHUP

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.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Mercer: WR Ty James had five catches for 192 yards and three touchdowns in the opener, all in the first half. He could test a secondary replacing top cornerback Roger McCreary.

Auburn: RB 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.

FACTS & FIGURES

Auburn has won 15 straight nonconference home games dating back to the 2016 season. ... The Tigers open with five consecutive home games for the first time since 2016 ... Mercer set a school record with 635 total yards against Morehead State. ... 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.

___

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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