2024 Missouri Football Early Opponent Preview, Game 7: Auburn

MizzouCentral takes a first look at each of the Tigers' upcoming opponents this season. Missouri faces off against the Auburn Tigers next.
Nov 18, 2023; Auburn, Alabama, USA; Auburn Tigers running back Jarquez Hunter (27) carries the ball against the New Mexico State Aggies during the second quarter at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 18, 2023; Auburn, Alabama, USA; Auburn Tigers running back Jarquez Hunter (27) carries the ball against the New Mexico State Aggies during the second quarter at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Auburn Tigers are looking to move past a disappointing 6-7 season across the 2023 calender year, filled with struggles and a generally mediocre year of football. Auburn still holds a strong grasp on the recruiting world, which is an advantage keeping them afloat in a always-evolving SEC conference.

Like many, Auburn lost some players, had a few key ones return and brought in fresh talent to fill some holes. They brought in two of the best receiver recruits in the country, Cam Coleman and Perry Thompson, as well as transfer KeAndre Lambert-Smith, to serve as weapons for Payton Thorne.

Missouri is the final of a brutal three-game stretch to kick off conference play for Auburn, starting with Oklahoma, then Georgia and ultimately Missouri. They play Texas A&M and Alabama later on down the road as well. With five really strong opponents, the number of winnable games gets smaller and smaller. Here's a look into the battle of the Tigers between Auburn and Missouri.


The keys to the Tigers' offense this year are in the hand of senior Payton Thorne. Thorne transferred into Auburn from Michigan State last year, where he beat out now South Carolina quarterback Robby Ashford, among others, for the starting spot. Thorne went on to throw for 1,755 yards and 16 touchdowns with 10 interceptions to accompany it, all with a 61.1% completion percentage.

Arguably the most explosive and impactful player on the Tigers offense is running back Jarquez Hunter. He had NFL hopes this year, but decided to run it back for one more. He rushed for 909 yards and 7 touchdowns last season, also catching 18 passes for 118 yards. He should be in the spotlight of Auburn's offense this coming year. Backing him up will be senior Damari Alston and sophomore Jeremiah Cobb

Auburn really upgraded their receiving core, bringing in two top-ten receiver recruits in the country and two dynamic transfers. Cam Coleman the No. 5 player in the entire country and No. 2 receiver, is the headliner of the group. Perry Thompson was ranked as the No. 38 overall player and No. 8 receiver in the 2024 class. They also added 4-star receivers Bryce Cain, the No. 160 player in the country and Malcolm Simmons, the No. 150 player in the country.

Georgia State transfer Robert Lewis is a quick, technical receiving threat for Payton Thorne. He caught 70 passes for 877 yards and 7 touchdowns last season for the Panthers. Penn State transfer KeAndre Lambert-Smith, one of the highest touted transfer receivers in the country during this last cycle, joined the Tigers as well. He racked up 673 yards and 4 touchdowns for the Nittany Lions.

On top of all this, Auburn returns one of the best tight ends in the country, Rivaldo Fairweather. He led the Tigers in receiving yards last season with 394 yards, as well as touchdowns with 6. Former 4-star freshman Caleb Burton III also returns. With all the returners and new talent in the receiving core, there is no shortage of weapons for Thorne. Auburn's offense has dynamic, high-scoring potential next season.


Just like on offense, Auburn has given the keys to the defense to a single player. Senior linebacker Eugene Asante, who boasted 86 tackles and 5 sacks last season, should be the best player on Auburn's defense and one of the best in the SEC. Jalen McLeod, another senior linebacker, seems like a candidate to be in the same boat as Asante.

The leader in the secondary will be senior cornerback Keionte Scott, who recorded 42 tackles last season. Scott was at one point in the transfer portal, but opted to return to Auburn. Sophomore Kayin Lee, one of the better true freshman in the SEC last season, will join Scott as cornerback two for the Tigers.

Keldric Faulk, a sophomore defensive lineman, was also one of the best true-freshmen in the SEC last season. He recorded 36 tackles and a single sack last year. He will be joined by two transfers, Texas's Trill Carter and former Kansas Jayhawk Gage Keys. Keys posted 21 tackles last season and Carter with 9. It will be his sixth season of college football.

Debatebly the best defensive addition was former Texas Longhorn safety Jerrin Thompson. He posted 38 tackles last season and 3 interceptions as well. The year prior he played wonderfully, securing 82 tackles and an interception to go along with it. He will be a very good addition to their revamped secondary, as will JUCO safety Laquan Robinson. For Holmes Community College last season, Robinson recorded 46 tackles and an interception.

What's at Stake?

Missouri doesn't have a ton of games on their schedule that jump out as scary ones, besides Alabama. This seems like a matchup where they should be able to take care of business, but they have to get it done. Losses such as a potential loss to Auburn could hurt their playoff chances, a risk they don't want to take with National Championship goals.

Game Details

Date: Oct. 19

Time: TBA


Location: Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium

Series: Auburn leads 1-3, with the last a 17-14 defeat in 2022.

Last Meeting

Last Meeting: Sept 24, 2022:  Quarterback Brady Cook tied the low-scoring matchup at 14 a piece with 30 seconds to go, eventually sending it to overtime. Auburn would later drive down the field to drill a field goal by Anders Carlson, giving Auburn a 17-14 win.

Opponent at a Glance

Head Coach: Hugh Freeze, second year with Auburn and spent the three previous seasons with the Liberty Flames.

Offensive Coordinator: Derrick Nix, held same position with Ole Miss last season leading them to a 11-2 record.

Defensive Coordinator: D.J. Durkin, first year with Tigers, spending last season with Texas A&M in the same position.

2023 Record: 6-7 (3-5)

Biggest Question:

Players to Watch: 

Program History

Last SEC Title: 2013

Conference Championships: 2

Bowl Record: 24-21-2

Total Bowl Appearances: 121

Last Bowl Appearance: 2023 Music City Bowl: Maryland 31, Auburn 13

National Championships: 2

Read More:

Mizzou Football Lands First Running Back Commit in 2025 Class

2024 Missouri Football Early Opponent Preview, Game 6: UMass

Which Mizzou Football Transfer Will Have the Most Immediate Impact? - The Mizzou Minute

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Michael Stamps


Michael Stamps is a freshman at the University of Missouri pursuing a degree in journalism. He's covered recruiting for MizzouCentral since 2023.  Michael is from Papillion, Nebraska.