5 things to watch for in Auburn-Western Carolina game - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

5 things to watch for in Auburn-Western Carolina game

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Barring a rough performance, Auburn could crack the Top 25 for the first time since Nov. 12, 2011 with a win. (Todd Van Emst Photo) Barring a rough performance, Auburn could crack the Top 25 for the first time since Nov. 12, 2011 with a win. (Todd Van Emst Photo)

Associated Press

Five things to look for as Auburn enters a game few expect to be competitive:

WHO'S THE QB?:

Marshall ran for 140 yards against Ole Miss, but passed for just 93 — which gives the offense something to work on if he plays. Wallace has only attempted two passes this season, completing one for 20 yards. Johnson was a four-star prospect and Alabama's Mr. Football. The 6-foot-5, 219-pounder is more of a prototypical passer than his teammates, but is in line for a redshirt year.

HANDLING BUSINESS:

Auburn's wins have all been tight, except for a 38-9 victory over Arkansas State. That was the only time the Tigers have had to deal with life as big favorites and a chance to empty the bench. "I'm more concerned with us playing well," Lashlee said. "I want us to be crisp and not go out and slop around and have penalties."

BALANCING PRIORITIES:

Western Carolina coach Mark Speir has already faced Virginia Tech (a 45-3 loss) and next up are five Southern Conference games. He's aiming to come away without further injuries. "We're taking a pretty beat-up defense down there," Speir said. "It's always a question of, with five SoCon games remaining, how do you manage the game? At what point do you look down the road?"

POLLSTERS:

Barring a rough performance, Auburn could crack the Top 25 for the first time since Nov. 12, 2011 with a win. The Tigers would need a team or two to lose but got the 26th-most votes this week.

STOPPING THE RUN:

The Catamounts are allowing an average of 237 rushing yards a game and have given up 19 touchdowns on the ground. Auburn is running for 242 yards per game and has already become the first Tigers team to have four different players post 100-yard games.