Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Auburn's struggling offense was dealt another blow late Saturday as leading rusher Michael Dyer has suspended for the Tigers' Chick-Fil-A matchup against Virginia.
The suspension has reportedly been handed down for a violation of an undisclosed team rule. Gene Chizik has not yet officially addressed the issue.
With Auburn's lackluster quarterback play and a banged-up receiving corps, Dyer was often his team's only legitimate offensive threat this season. But he still finished with 1,242 rushing yards to become the first Auburn player ever to rush for more than 1,000 yards in two seasons, good enough for first-team All-SEC honors.
Though Dyer's absence will mean a heavier load for second-leading rusher Onterio McCalebb (532 yards), McCalebb's lack of between-the-tackles size should also mean a larger role for true freshman Tre Mason. Mason has been used mostly on kick returns this season but has averaged better than 5 yards per-carry in limited action.
The Cavaliers rank 35th nationally in rush defense--weaker than many of Auburn's opponents in their SEC schedule, but easily high enough that the Tigers face a stiff challenge on the ground with Dyer out.