Auburn will be missing two regular contributors for the second straight week when the Tigers take on No. 10 Penn State on Saturday night.
Running back Shaun Shivers and cornerback Jaylin Simpson will not be available for the Tigers’ showdown against the Nittany Lions. Shivers missed the Alabama State game last week for undisclosed reasons, while Simpson left the season opener against Akron with an apparent injury.
“Could not attend my Auntie funeral today or the game today,” Shivers tweeted Saturday afternoon.
Shivers, a senior, entered the season as the Tigers’ No. 2 running back behind sophomore Tank Bigsby. Shivers rushed for 24 yards and one touchdown and also had a 19-yard touchdown reception in the team’s season-opening victory over Akron on Sept. 4.
Shivers’ absence opened the door for true freshman Jarquez Hunter, who made the most of his opportunity last week against Alabama State.
Hunter showed out against the Hornets by rushing for 147 yards and one touchdown – a 94-yard score, the longest run in program history – to add to what’s been an impressive start to his first season with the Tigers. Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin later said the team gave Hunter the game ball for his play.
Auburn running back Tank Bigsby expressed his trust in Hunter on Tuesday with Shivers’ status for Saturday still unclear.
“He has everything that he needs,” Bigsby said. “Jarquez is a very talented back. He has everything it takes to be a great back. I feel like he’ll be able to do the job if Coach calls his name.”
Simpson, who is a second-string cornerback behind Nehemiah Pritchett, played in the season opener against Akron but limped off the field during the first half of the Tigers’ 60-10 victory.
While Auburn will be going without Shivers or Simpson, the Tigers did get a big boost in the return of sophomore wide receiver Ja’Varrius Johnson, who missed the Alabama State game due to an undisclosed injury.
Auburn’s game against Penn State kicks off at 6:30 p.m. CT.