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No. 8 Auburn hosts Kent State

By The Associated Press

Kent State (1-1) at No. 8 Auburn (2-0), Saturday at 7 p.m. EDT (ESPN2).

Line: Auburn by 35 1/2.

Series record: First meeting.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Auburn has climbed the rankings after each win so far, and wants to keep improving heading into the Southeastern Conference opener at No. 16 Texas A&M next weekend. Kent State is seeking a big upset and second straight win.

KEY MATCHUP

Auburn’s running game against Kent State’s defense. The Tigers’ rushing offense has put up solid numbers, mostly behind workhorse JaTarvious Whitlow, but has had issues at times. Kent State has held opponents to 3.8 yards per carry this season.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Kent St: QB Dustin Crum replaced former Auburn signee Woody Barrett as the starter against Kennesaw State. He passed and ran for a touchdown, throwing for 192 yards. Barrett passed for just 83 yards in the opener against Arizona State. Neither has thrown an interception.

Auburn: RB Kam Martin has a chance to emerge as the top option behind Whitlow, who already has 47 carries. Martin has yet to get going but has had big performances in apparent mismatches in the past. Freshman D.J. Williams or redshirt freshman Harold Joiner are also candidates to get some carries.

FACTS & FIGURES

Kent State’s 33-year-old Sean Lewis is the youngest head coach in the FBS. … Auburn is 7-0 against current members of the Mid-American Conference with an average margin of 32 points. The Tigers haven’t played a MAC team since beating Ball State 54-30 in 2009. … Auburn defensive end Marlon Davidson is the reigning Southeastern Conference defensive lineman of the week. … Barrett transferred to Copiah-Lincoln Community College after redshirting his lone season at Auburn. He started all 12 games last season.

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