ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 01: Kiehl Frazier #10 of the Auburn Tigers reacts as time expires in their 26-19 loss to the Clemson Tigers at Georgia Dome on September 1, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Let's not let the offense off the hook here: Kiehl Frazier's debut was uneven at best, and the big nights of some of the skill players for Auburn were not reflected in the team's overall stats. Not that the 374 yards for the game was bad, per se, but the big games by contributors like Tre Mason (106 yards rushing) and Emory Blake (109 yards receiving) might lead you to believe the team would gain more to that.
No matter. The offense was not necessarily the primary problem for Auburn on Saturday night. The bigger issues are on defense, were Auburn allowed 528 yards -- including drives of 75 and 79 yards in the pivotal fourth quarter, when Clemson scored 10 unanswered points to overturn what has been a small Auburn lead. Even without Sammy Watkins, the "other" Tigers offense made it clear how big a task new defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder has ahead of him.
Andre Ellington ran for 231 yards on 26 carries. DeAndre Hopkins caught a school-record 13 passes for 119 yards and the touchdown that put Clemson ahead for good. For a team that was without one of its most dynamic players, Clemson still looked pretty explosive on offense.
Auburn has a few weeks to try to work out the worst problems, though they best correct at least a few before traveling to Mississippi State next week. But the month ends with a visit from LSU before a bye; October begins with Arkansas coming to Auburn. You don't exactly want to go into either of those games without having made some progress on defense.
No, we shouldn't let the offense off the hook for a game that didn't feature an Auburn touchdown in the last 48 minutes. But that's not going to matter too much until the Tigers coaching staff figures out some way to fix the defense.