Scouting Auburn’s 2020 opponents: Alcorn State

Stay tuned to RadioAlabama Sports as Noah Gardner breaks down each of Auburn football’s 2020 opponents. Follow Noah on Twitter at @PointGuardner.

Game History: Auburn and Alcorn State have never met.

2019 Team Stats: 9-4 (6-1) SWAC, lost to North Carolina A&T in the Celebration Bowl 64-44.

PPG: 33.6

PAPG: 23.1

RYPG: 155.3 (4.2 YPC)

PYPG: 251.9 (59.7 PCT)

SKS allowed: 27

TO DIFF: +12

RYPG allowed: 143.3 (3.7)

PYPG allowed: 211.0 (57.2 PCT)

SKS: 25

Offensive Impact Player: QB Felix Harper (#2)

2019 stats: 2,954 YDS, 60.4 PCT, 33 TD, 9 INT, 169 YDS, 2.6 YPC, 6 TD

Felix “Triggerman” Harper took over as starting quarterback after Noah Johnson went down with an injury in the third game against McNeese State, and he did not disappoint. Harper was named the 2019 SWAC Offensive Player of the Year for his explosive season. In the Celebration Bowl against North Carolina A&T, Harper put on full display what makes him dynamic, throwing for 341 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for an additional two scores. He returns as a redshirt senior and the leader of the Alcorn State offense.

Defensive Impact Player: DB Qwynnterrio Cole (#32)

2019 stats: 86 TKL, 0.5 TFL, 5 INT, 1 PBU, 1 FF

A ball-hawking safety, Qwynnterrio Cole earned his second-straight SWAC All-Conference First-Team selection in 2019. Not only can he patrol the air, Cole finished third on the team in tackles showing his ability to step up and help in stopping the run. One of the key returners from a unit that stays largely intact, Auburn will need to be aware of his location on defense.

Offensive Key Unit: Quarterback

Alcorn State returns their two most lethal weapons in the backfield, quarterback Felix Harper and running back Niko Duffey. Defenses are going to have a hard time managing the combination of the two, considering Harper is a valid running option at quarterback. Nearly a 3,000-yard passer, Harper can uncork the defense with the play-action pass. Having a dual-threat quarterback gives Auburn’s defense one more thing to worry about from this backfield.

Defensive Key Unit: Defensive backs

Two of the Braves’ top three tacklers return, and they are all from the defensive backfield. Between Qwynnterrio Cole and Juwan Taylor, Alcorn State returns seven interceptions from a group that led the nation in interceptions. Both players possess the ability to help as run stoppers. It’s a dynamic group that flies across the field.