Tennessee football: Five Auburn Tigers to watch for against Vols

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Oct 24, 2020; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Auburn Tigers linebacker Zakoby McClain (9) reacts during the second half against the Mississippi Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

These will be the five key AU players against the Tennessee football Volunteers.

Despite inconsistencies throughout the year, the Auburn Tigers have plenty of weapons who will be able to give Tennessee football plenty of trouble on Saturday. They come from any position and have a wide range of experience.

Different players have stepped up for Gus Malzahn’s team all year, even in their ugly wins, and the Vols will account for all of them if they want to pull off this upset. Matchup problems for UT make a few of them stand out specifically.

Rocky Top will have to shore up some key weaknesses if it wants to repeat what it did to Auburn in 2018. Fixing those issues could account for the players who could do damage to them. Let’s name those players. These are the five Tigers to watch for against Tennessee football Saturday.

5
Zakoby McClain
Linebacker Junior

6’0″ 211 pounds; Hometown: Valdosta, Ga.

K.J. Britt was supposed to be the star linebacker for the Auburn Tigers this year, but he hasn’t been able to play for much of the season, and he still wasn’t cleared for Saturday as of earlier this week. In his absence, Zakoby McClain and Owen Pappoe have both stepped up.

Pappoe could have made the list, as he leads the team in solo tackles with 36, is second in overall tackles with 53, and also has two sacks, two and a half tackles for a loss, an interception, two pass deflections and a fumble recovery. He has been more versatile, particularly in coverage.

However, McClain seems to have been in on every play. While he is second in solo tackles with 32, he leads the team in overall tackles with 62. Meanwhile, the product of Valdosta High School in Georgia has three tackles for a loss and two sacks. He has also spread out his production, being in on a tackle for a loss or a sack in four different games.

As a result, while both are elite, McClain gets the slight nod on this list. Tennessee football will have to account for him, particularly when trying to establish the run, if it’s going to pull out this win. Both players will be key, though.

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