No. 11 Auburn trying to sustain momentum against FAU

Auburn defensive end Dee Ford says the Tigers are trying to stay focused and move forward with a win over FAU Saturday. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) The Auburn Tigers are feeling awfully good about themselves after a season when the opposite was often true.

Now, the 11th-ranked Tigers (6-1) hope to keep the good times rolling when heavy underdog Florida Atlantic (2-5) visits on Saturday.

Link:{} Auburn-FAU preview capsule

Auburn is riding high from a 45-41 upset of then-No. 7 Texas A&M that thrust Gus Malzahn's team into Southeastern Conference title contention.

Part of this game against the 24-point underdogs will be about remaining grounded amid all that positive attention. Owls coach Carl Pelini isn't expecting that to be a problem for the Tigers.

"It looks to me like they are making steady improvement every week all year on both sides of the ball," Pelini said. "When you see that on tape, that means one win or one loss usually isn't going to affect your progress very much."

Malzahn told his players and coaches to celebrate the big win Saturday night, but get back to work promptly after that. He's turned the Tigers' fortunes around quickly after inheriting a team that went 3-9 last season.

Malzahn said the Tigers can't let their approach change based on the Texas A&M victory.

"We're happy that people think that highly of us," he said. "But we're onto (the) next week. That's our only focus."

So far, Auburn has been good at taking care of business as heavy favorites. There was no apparent drop-off in play against Arkansas State (38-9) or Western Carolina (62-3), when quarterback Nick Marshall was sidelined with a minor knee injury.

That's the challenge again in facing Florida Atlantic, which is coming off an open date after losing 24-23 to Marshall on a last-second field goal.

"We're just trying to keep our composure and keep our focus and just keep moving forward," Auburn defensive end Dee Ford said. "But it's definitely a great feeling moving forward. Definitely a big difference between this year and last year."