AUBURN — Bryan Harsin will encounter a former coaching collaborator this weekend as Auburn football’s nonconference slate ends on a national stage.
From 2011-12, Harsin was offensive coordinator and Manny Diaz was defensive coordinator on Mack Brown’s Texas staff. Harsin moved on to a seven-year tenure as Boise State’s head coach. Diaz eventually scored the top job at Miami, one of the most coveted programs in college football. But he only lasted three years, and after a tumultuous ending, he ended up in another DC job at Penn State this season.
They’ll reunite as opponents Saturday (2:30 p.m. CT, CBS) when Auburn (2-0) hosts No. 23 Penn State (2-0) at Jordan-Hare Stadium in a must-win game.
Last offseason, Miami kept Diaz as its head coach for two weeks after public reports that the school had already chosen his replacement, Oregon’s Mario Cristobal. Diaz was finally fired at the end of an ugly saga.
“I felt for him in how Miami handled the whole situation,” Harsin said this week. “I didn’t like that, a guy I worked with and had respect for. … He’s a very well respected coach in this profession. The reason he was a head coach is because he’s very good at what he does.”
Now he’s scheming and play-calling against Harsin, whose own head coaching position feels tenuous. Can the Tigers earn an early statement win against a ranked Big Ten foe? Follow along here for live score updates and analysis from Jordan-Hare.
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FINAL: Penn State 41, Auburn 12. A blowout at home. The Tigers are 2-1. Stories upcoming.
5:21 left: Penn State kicks a 22-yard field goal. Now up to 245 rushing yards. Penn State 41, Auburn 12.
11:08 left: Auburn will punt. Starting to see more backups on both sides.
12:03 left: Nicholas Singleton sprints through a big hole on the right side and outraces the Auburn defense for a 54-yard touchdown run. Penn State 38, Auburn 12.
The Nittany Lions have 209 rushing yards on 29 carries, or 7.2 yards per rush.
14:27 left: Jarquez Hunter dives into the end zone after some good YAC to score Auburn’s first TD of the game. Two-point conversion is no good. Penn State 31, Auburn 12.
1:07 left: That was the easiest drive yet for Penn State’s offense. Keytron Allen’s 7-yard touchdown run was through a very open hole. Six plays, 48 yards. Penn State 31, Auburn 6.
3:07 left: After a Penn State offensive pass interference penalty, PSU’s Parker Washington takes a simple crossing route for 28 yards and a first down.
4:35 left: Robby Ashford sacked on second and goal, then is picked off on third down. The football and the vibes are not good in Jordan-Hare.
Auburn has four turnovers today. PSU’s Ji’Ayir Brown with the interception.
6:13 left: Auburn going on 4th down near the PSU 30, and the Tigers convert. Ja’Varrius Johnson makes a good catch over the left side.
Robby Ashford sacked on 1st and goal after a 15-yard catch by Malcolm Johnson.
8:00 left: Tank Bigsby with a run up the middle into Penn State territory. May see a lot him with the ball, as time allows it.
9:21 left: Robby Ashford in at QB to start the Auburn drive.
9:27 left: Auburn’s defense stands tall after the turnover again. Jake Pinegar’s 49-yard field goal is good. Penn State 24, Auburn 6.
10:36 left: Auburn’s offense is meltdown mode. TJ Finley is hurried, sacked and fumbles. Penn State ball in Auburn territory.
13:00 left: Nicholas Singleton has a big hole on the right side and sprints down the sideline for 53 yards on Penn State’s first second half play from scrimmage. Two plays later, Singleton scores from a yard out.
Penn State 21, Auburn 6.
13:43 left: TJ Finley sacked on third down. Auburn three-and-out out of the locker room.
15:00 left: Auburn gets the ball to start the second half. TJ Finley in the game at QB, and a first down handoff to Tank Bigsby goes nowhere.
HALFTIME: TJ Finley is sacked. He has been hit a lot in this half. Penn State 14, Auburn 6.
18 seconds left: Tank Bigsby is really, really good. He YACs it up to midfield.
29 seconds left: TJ Finley runs for a first down, but Brandon Council is flagged for a very late hit after the play. Finley has taken two shots in this drive.
51 seconds left: Good drive by the Auburn defense. Penn State three-and-out.
1:07 left: Shedrick Jackson fumbles near midfield. Penn State recovers. Not good at all for Auburn, as Penn State gets an extra opportunity late in the half.
1:46 left: Kaytron Allen scores from 3 yards out, and Penn State leads 14-6 nearing halftime. Allen had a really nice cutback to the left to find room for the score.
2:47 left: Sean Clifford catches a throwback screen pass and runs to the Auburn 10. First and goal, Nittany Lions.
5:24 left: Sean Clifford with good pocket presence on third down to climb the pocket, avoid Auburn’s pass rush and complete a pass for a first down into Auburn territory.
Clifford has been solid today so far.
6:59 left: Anders Carlson good from 22 yards. Penn State 7, Auburn 6.
Auburn had two Jarquez Hunter rushes and a pass short of the goal line on that goal-to-go sequence. Not ideal.
9:45 left: TJ Finley scrambles for 22 yards on 3rd and 18. Auburn’s offense has flashes. Can the Tigers put it all together with consistency?
11:00 left: What a catch by Landen King on a third down jump ball! First down Auburn.
Look at this catch.
12:13 left: Auburn gets a stop near midfield after a pair of PSU offensive penalties. Good decision by Keionte Scott to pick the ball up and return the punt for good yardage instead of allowing the punt to roll inside the 5.
0:00 left: TJ Finley throws an untimely interception on a poor decision as the clock strikes zero on the quarter. PSU’s Zakee Wheatley on the INT.
In fact, it appears the clock went to 0:00 before the play was snapped. Likely would have erased the play upon review, but the officials and the booth do not review the play. It is a Big Ten officiating crew.
3:35 left: TJ Finley scrambles for a first down, as does Tank Bigsby on the next play. Bigsby’s run is called back after a holding penalty by Austin Troxell.
4:21 left: Sean Clifford scores a 7-yard touchdown run up the middle on a designed QB run. He wasn’t touched until he lunged over the goal line. Penn State 7, Auburn 3.
5:24 left: Mitchell Tinsley wins a jumpball and gains 34 yards. First-and-goal, Penn State.
8:20 left: Auburn 3, Penn State 0. Anders Carlson good from 31 yards. A third down sack stymied Auburn’s drive inside the 10.
9:20 left: Shedrick Jackson makes a tough catch over the middle as TJ Finley steps up in the pocket on third down. Auburn first-and-goal.
13:13 left: Owen Pappoe lays it onto Sean Clifford as the latter scrambled for a first down. Clifford fumbled, and the ball went backward a couple yards. Penn State goes for it on 4th and a long yard from its own 48, and Auburn gets the stop on a Clifford sneak. What a start for the Auburn defense.
15:00 left: Auburn defers after winning the coin toss, and Penn State will start with the football. Sean Clifford is Penn State’s QB.
Should be an charged-up atmosphere in Jordan-Hare Stadium. Getting close to kickoff time.