AUBURN — After going 21 days between games, Auburn returned to action Saturday with a 30-17 victory over Tennessee.
Here's how we'd grade the Tigers' performance:
Auburn moved the ball well and hit some big plays — most notably Bo Nix's 54-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Schwartz — but red zone woes loom large. Nix threw an interception in the end zone, and the Tigers had to settle for two short field goals after 13-plus-play drives.
Kevin Steele's group bent a ton, especially early, but did not break. Smoke Monday's 100-yard interception return for a touchdown — on a drive where Tennessee could have taken the lead — proved the play of the game.
Special teams: A-
Anders Carlson hit all three of his field goal attempts. Tennessee did have one long kick return, but T.D. Moultry also blew one up.
Auburn didn't get off to the best start on either side of the ball, but the home team made the necessary adjustments in the win.
A win is a win, and that is always good. But, the Tigers are going to have to play much better than they did against Tennessee if they want to upset No. 1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa next weekend.