Penn State vs. Auburn Player to Watch: Running Back Tank Bigsby

By John Morgan on September 18, 2021 at 10:30 am
Auburn Tigers running back Tank Bigsby (4) celebrates after running in for a touchdown at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Auburn Tigers leads Akron Zips 37-0.
Jake Crandall via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The 22nd-ranked Auburn Tigers come to town Saturday night in one of the more anticipated home games in recent Penn State history. With the usual fare of Pitt, MAC schools, or Central Florida, the non-conference slate hasn't really moved the needle like this game as an SEC team heads north to take on the Nittany Lions.

As Nick wrote in the key matchup, the Penn State defense faces a tough test with the Auburn running game with backs Tank Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter. Though Hunter leads the Tigers in rushing in the first two games, it's Bigsby that is this week's player to watch. 

Tank Bigsby came to Auburn by way of Hogansville, GA where he was a four-star recruit and considered one of the best running backs in the country. Last season, the talented running back was named SEC Freshman of the Year after running for 834 yards and five touchdowns. In games against Alabama State and Akron this season, Bigsby is off to a fast start with 241 yards and a 10.0 yards per carry average. He broke for a 51-yard touchdown against Alabama State, which was the longest scoring run of his career.

The Penn State defense will clearly be the best defense that Auburn has faced all year, but Bigsby brings a different dynamic than what the Nittany Lions have faced. With a powerful 1-2 punch, the Penn State defense cannot let Bigsby cut through for manageable first downs for Auburn quarterback Bo Nix. The defensive line for Penn State has performed well in the first two games, but like Bigsby and the Tigers, this is a showcase game and how well Bigsby performs will go a long way for Auburn in their bid to knock off the Nittany Lions and quiet a White Out crowd.