Report card: Grading Auburn's offense, defense in Citrus Bowl loss vs. Northwestern

Josh Vitale
Montgomery Advertiser

Auburn's 2020 season ended with a 35-19 loss to Northwestern in the Citrus Bowl on Friday.

Here's how we'd grade the Tigers' performance:

Offense: D-

Auburn showed some life with two field goals and a touchdown in the span of four drives spanning the end of the second quarter and start of the third to make it a one-score game, and freshman Elijah Canion's 57-yard touchdown catch was a highliught. But quarterback Bo Nix was inefficient; the running game was nonexistent without Tank Bigsby; and the offensive line struggled again.

More:Attention Bryan Harsin: Auburn's Citrus Bowl shortcomings show you the work to be done

Defense: F

Northwestern hadn't scored more than 28 points in a game since its opener against Maryland in October. Quarterback Peyton Ramsey had a career day with 341 total yards and four touchdowns. Auburn was without four starters, but still, that was not a good performance.

Jan 1, 2021; Orlando FL, USA; Team huddle during a timeout during the game between Auburn vs Northwestern at Orlando. Mandatory Credit: Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics

Special teams: A

Anders Carlson hit both field goals, and Oscar Chapman averaged 47.4 yards per punt and downed three inside the 20.

Coaching: D

A staff without a head coach (Kevin Steele was acting in place of Bryan Harsin) did what it could with the limited time and available players it had. Northwestern was just better prepared.

Overall: D

Auburn did show some fight at times despite going through weeks of turmoil and being undermanned. Give the players credit for that, at least.

Josh Vitale is the Auburn beat writer for the Montgomery Advertiser. You can follow him on Twitter at @JoshVitale. To reach him by email, click here.