1. Payton Thorne makes his last regular season start at Auburn.
That three-game win streak saw quarterback Payton Thorne start to operate smoothly in Hugh Freeze’s offense, but it’s tough to believe that there isn’t a better option at the position when the transfer portal opens up.
It’s also tough to believe Freeze himself doesn’t think the same thing.
Rebuilding a program is a tall task, and the first season is often about making do with what you have. Freeze made the 2023 roster work, winning three SEC games and attaining bowl eligibility after a disaster tenure under Bryan Harsin left the program in shambles.
Going forward, however, most of the roster is susceptible to being upgraded, and it starts at quarterback.
Thorne has been incredibly average in 2023. Through 11 games, he’s thrown for 1,580 yards, completed 65 percent of his passes, and thrown 14 touchdowns to 7 interceptions. He’s added 463 yards and three scores on the ground.
These are respectable numbers, and with a year of eligibility remaining, Thorne could certainly go have a strong year for a high-level Group of Five program.
Auburn, however, needs to upgrade.
Unless Thorne pulls some serious magic out of his hat on Saturday, and that’s unlikely, this will almost certainly be his last regular season start on the plains.