The Opening Drive: Auburn vs. Georgia State

AUBURN, Ala. – When Kobe Hudson fumbled early in the second half against Penn State, it would have been easy for the sophomore wide receiver to get down and let that one play affect his performance the rest of the game. He didn’t. He got up, moved past it and caught three passes for 30 yards, including two for first downs, in the final two quarters. 

Hudson finished the game with four catches for 66 yards – both career highs. On Sunday, he tweeted out a message acknowledging his mistake. 

“Lessons are learned and character is built. Sleep if you want to.”

“It’s important to see that,” Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin said. “I think it’s important to see anybody respond when something negative happens. That’s what you want. You want to see your team respond. We talk about that a lot. The majority of the game you’re going to have things that happen to you where it’s not perfect, and you’re going to have to come back and respond to whatever that challenge was. 

“Some of those things we can’t let happen. We want to respond properly when bad things happen to us, but we also don’t want to put ourselves in position to have negative plays or bad things happen to us. That goes back all the way to Sunday through Friday in our preparation.

“But ultimately, in the middle of the game and in the heat of the battle, you have got to move on to that next play. You have got to be able to get back out there and make things happen. He was able to do that and so were other players on the team.”

It’s no different this week as Auburn prepares for Georgia State on Saturday. How will the Tigers get up and respond following a loss? 

While it’s important to move on and not let the last game beat you twice, that sting from losing can also be used as motivation to get better and not let it happen again. 

“What a loss does is not so much exposes but gives you the understanding of just how important everything we do is,” Harsin said. “You don’t go out there and do the same thing. You make sure you do those things, but you do them better – you do them with more urgency, you do them with better focus. Because you don’t want to be in that same position again. To me, that should always be a driving factor.” 

Auburn and Georgia State are scheduled to kick off at 3 p.m. CT from Jordan-Hare Stadium. The game will be televised on SEC Network with Dave Neal, Deuce McCallister and Andraya Carter on the call. You can also listen to Andy Burcham, Stan White and Ronnie Brown who will have the radio call on 93.9 Tiger FM and online at AuburnTigers.com.

Luke Deal, Football: Auburn vs Alabama State
 

THREE QUESTIONS WITH … TE LUKE DEAL

Q: What is the biggest thing this team learned from the Penn State game? 

A: The biggest thing is to not let one loss turn into two. Everybody is disappointed, everybody is frustrated, but we can’t let that happen again. Really, it’s just fundamental things, things that we work on day in and day out. We just have to key in on those during the game. Physicality I don’t think was an issue, but those fundamental things and some of those things we just didn’t quite hit on last week, I think we’re going to try and key in on those this week. 

Q: What did it mean seeing John Samuel Shenker have a big game at Penn State? 

A: It was great. He’s super hard-working. Our tight ends, we’ve got such a great group of guys that anytime anybody, especially a veteran guy like Shenk, gets an opportunity like that – we’ve seen it in practice. Every one of our guys at tight end can make plays. But to able to see it on that stage was pretty cool. 

Q: How much has the support of your teammates and the Auburn Family helped you handle your dad’s battle with ALS? 

A: It’s tough. Through fall camp, that hit me pretty hard. I kind of kept it closed off to a lot of people, and I started opening up to some of my guys, some of my good friends like Nick (Brahms). Just to be able to see what they’ve done with this, it’s incredible. You wouldn’t think that a Division I college football player who is also flying planes and doing a bunch of other things with his life has the time and the compassion to do what he’s done. Just this whole community showing compassion around me during this time, it takes my mind off it and kind of helps put me in a better state of mind to play football and do what I do. 
 

INSIDE THE SERIES: GEORGIA STATE

This is the first meeting between the schools. Georgia State is the 85th team of 130 current FBS members that Auburn has played. Of the 84 FBS teams Auburn has played previously, the Tigers have defeated 77 at least once; the only exceptions: Minnesota, Oklahoma, Rice, SMU, South Florida and Texas Tech.

Auburn is 22-0 all-time against current members of the Sun Belt Conference, which includes games with Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Georgia Southern, Louisiana and Louisiana Monroe. All 22 games were played in Auburn. 
 

BY THE NUMBERS

7.3: Sophomore running back Tank Bigsby, who now has 1,177 career rushing yards after three straight 100-yard games to start the season, leads the SEC and is 15th nationally at 7.3 yards per rush this year. As a team, Auburn ranks seventh in the country in rushing offense, averaging 287.3 yards per game on the ground. 

12: All-America kicker Anders Carlson has converted a career-best 12 consecutive field goal attempts, the fourth-longest current streak nationally. His older brother, Daniel, has made 26 consecutive field goals for the Las Vegas Raiders. 

5: Auburn is tied for fifth nationally having allowed only four rushes of 10 or more yards this season. The Tigers have yet to allow a rush of 20 yards or more through three games. 

11: Tight end John Samuel Shenker has now caught five passes in two of the first three games this season (vs. Akron for 38 yards and at Penn State for 62 yards). He has 11 total catches through the first three games, the most by an Auburn tight end since C.J. Uzomah (11 catches in 2013 and 2014).
 

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