New-look offensive line pays off for Auburn against Missouri

Auburn’s offensive line had its most complete performance of the season during the team’s 51-14 win at Missouri to open SEC play.

New-look offensive line pays off for Auburn against Missouri

Auburn's offensive line had its most complete performance of the season during the team's 51-14 win at Missouri to open SEC play.

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A new-look offensive line led to the most complete game of the season from Auburn’s big men up front.

With Darius James not starting following a scary neck injury sustained a week earlier against Mercer, Auburn altered its starting five along the offensive line for its SEC opener at Missouri. Auburn went with the same five that closed out that Mercer game: Prince Tega Wanogho Jr. at left tackle, Mike Horton at left guard, Casey Dunn making his first start at center, Braden Smith at right guard and Austin Golson moving from center to right tackle.

The move paid dividends for Auburn in its 51-14 drubbing of Missouri at Memorial Stadium after three weeks of often inconsistent play and issues up front.

“Confidence-wise, it’s great for us,” Dunn said. “You got Mercer and you got five turnovers and it’s never great. I mean, the stats are good but you look down and you see five turnovers it’s never great. We battled through that and had a chip on our shoulders all week practicing and we came out here and executed pretty well tonight.”

Grading Auburn’s 51-14 win at Missouri

Auburn’s line had its cleanest performance of the season. The unit allowed just one sack for the second straight week, and while Auburn is still ranked 128th nationally in sacks allowed, it has improved drastically after allowing 14 through the first two games. The lone sack allowed against Missouri came late in the game, when Kobi Whiteside took down Malik Willis for an 11-yard loss on a play that saw Marquel Harrell and Wanogho get beat on the left side.

The unit protected starting quarterback Jarrett Stidham well and kept him on his feet throughout the night, which afforded him time in the pocket and resulted in another efficient passing performance — a 13-of-17 passing, 218-yard effort that included Auburn’s three longest pass plays of the season.

“We needed that game, definitely, to just kind of propel ourselves in the right direction,” Smith said. “We’ve still got a lot of work to do but it’s nice to get that first SEC win.”

The offensive line also only committed one penalty — a late-game false start by Wilson Bell — and paved the way for Auburn’s best offensive performance of the season, which came on the heels of head coach Gus Malzahn demanding improvement in the run game. Auburn finished the game with 263 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns while averaging nearly 5 yards per carry.

“Our goal was to run for 200 yards, and we rushed for over 200 yards,” Malzahn said. “I talked about how we have to get back to effectively running the football. That’s really a big part of what we do, and we were able to do that. I thought that was a big key.”

Dunn said that throughout the week, the unit focused a lot on energy, maintaining it throughout the game and keeping its foot on the gas against Missouri.

Smith attributed the success of the offensive line to improved execution from all five positions — something that was an issue through the first quarter of the season. It came in Golson’s first start at right tackle and Dunn’s first FBS start at center.

“I thought I played really well,” Golson said. “I believe I executed. Obviously, there’s a lot I can get better at. I’ll just keep trying to improve.”

Golson was also complimentary of Dunn’s performance in his first start, noting that the former Jacksonville State standout communicated well at the position. The former FCS All-American said afterward that he shook off some rust during his relief appearance against Mercer, and although he wasn’t explicitly told during the week that he would start at center, he figured that would be the case because he took most of the first-team reps in practice.

The result was Auburn’s most dominant offensive performance to date and something Dunn said he believes will help the group shake off some of those early-season struggles.

“It felt great, like what I said, a breakthrough,” Dunn said. “Having a breakthrough game to get our confidence back up and take on the rest of the season…. We did pretty good.”

Auburn Football Review: Missouri

The locker room is happy. The cameras are fogged up from all the body heat in that little room. It’s exactly how an Auburn Football Review should be. Gus even had a little smile on his face while Rod interviewed him. It’s a good one.

Auburn men’s basketball season tickets sell out for 4th straight season

Auburn basketball has sold out of season tickets for the fourth straight time in 2017-18, all under head coach Bruce Pearl, to continue the school record streak. Prior to Pearl, the only other time the Tigers sold out of season…

What Dan Mullen sees from Auburn defense that’s ‘dominated’ this season

Mississippi State recognizes the scale of the challenge it will face in going against Auburn’s vaunted defense.

What Dan Mullen sees from Auburn defense that’s ‘dominated’ this season

Mississippi State recognizes the scale of the challenge it will face in going against Auburn's vaunted defense.

Mississippi State recognizes the scale of the challenge it will face in going against Auburn’s vaunted defense.

No. 13 Auburn (3-1, 1-0 SEC) leads the SEC and is fourth nationally in total defense (236.2 yards per game) and ranks second in the league and seventh nationally in scoring (11.3 points) this season.

“Defensively, they’re one of the top defenses in the country over the first couple of weeks of the season,” Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said. “You see that in they’ve played different styles of team and dominated the defensive side of the ball pretty much everybody that they’ve played.”

Both Mullen and MSU quarterback Nick Fitzgerald compared Auburn’s defense to what the Bulldogs faced in a 31-3 loss at Georgia last week.

Fitzgerald was just 14 for 29 for 83 yards with two interceptions and had 10 carries for 47 yards as MSU gained just 280 yards on 70 plays.

“A lot of talent, a lot of speed, a lot of great players,” Mullen said about the similarities between the defenses of Auburn and Georgia. “Schematically they’re different in some ways but there are similar – like every defense, there’s crossover, there’s differences, but the one thing you do see is a lot of talented players out there on the field.”

Auburn’s defense tormented Fitzgerald, especially during the first half, of last year’s game in Starkville with a pair of sacks that led to fumbles, one of which was returned for a touchdown. He later threw an interception in the 38-14 Tigers win.

“The game itself didn’t go too well,” Fitzgerald said. “A lot of turnovers, a lot of missed assignments, a lot of bad reads. Just overall offensive, just not a very good game.”

Auburn, which had four takeaways in its 51-14 win at Missouri, has been able to accomplish much of its statistical feats this season thanks to 33 tackles for loss, which ranks eighth nationally.

The defensive line, which is responsible for just over half of the TFLs including seven of Auburn’s 12 sacks, has been the catalyst.

“They do a nice job with the scheme of making sure they’re in position, but they have a really – most of them are top national players,” Mullen said. “So they have talented, NFL-style players up there (on the line) and those guys are pretty good at disrupting things.”

Malik Willis burns redshirt, gains experience in debut at Missouri

On the first play of the fourth quarter Saturday at Missouri, Malik Willis faked a handoff to Malik Miller on a run-pass option, rolled to his right and found a wide-open Griffin King down the sideline for a 38-yard touchdown.

Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Auburn Tigers Odds, College Football Betting Pick – Bleacher Report


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Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Auburn Tigers Odds, College Football Betting Pick
Bleacher Report
The Auburn Tigers lead the all-time series with the Mississippi State Bulldogs 59-28, including a convincing victory last year in Starkville. But the Bulldogs are 3-2 straight up and 4-1 against the spread over the last five meetings. The teams meet
Auburn vs. Mississippi State – 9/30/17 College Football Pick, Odds, and PredictionSports Chat Place (blog)



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Most sensational moments of Week 4 of college football: Tide freshmen, Kerryon, Saquon, a squirrel

Alabama freshmen made the most of their playing time, while Auburn running back scores five touchdowns. Also, a flea-flicker, a squirrel and more.

Most sensational moments of Week 4 of college football: Tide freshmen, Kerryon, Saquon, a squirrel

Alabama freshmen made the most of their playing time, while Auburn running back scores five touchdowns. Also, a flea-flicker, a squirrel and more.

Most sensational moments of Week 4 of college football: Tide freshmen, Kerryon, Saquon, a squirrel

Alabama freshmen made the most of their playing time, while Auburn running back scores five touchdowns. Also, a flea-flicker, a squirrel and more.

Early kickoff set for Auburn-Ole Miss on Oct. 7 – Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site


Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site

Early kickoff set for Auburn-Ole Miss on Oct. 7
Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
Auburn and Ole Miss will kickoff at 11 a.m. CT from Jordan-Hare Stadium on Oct. 7. Sept. 25, 2017. By Greg Ostendorf AuburnTigers.com. AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn fans might have to wake up a little earlier on Saturday, Oct. 7. The SEC announced Monday …
Auburn-Ole Miss: Game time announcement for Week 6 gameSECcountry.com


Kickoff time set for Ole Miss, Auburn on Oct. 7247Sports

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Gameday Tweets – Auburn 51, Missouri 14

WarBlogle_twitter_newIn a way, night away games that I don’t attend are very stressful. Yes, you finally get to watch some other football games for once, but the stress of sitting there thinking about what Auburn is going to do that night is a lot for me. I shouldn’t have been stressed. See the amount of tweets. That means I wasn’t worrying a lot once the game started. Figure out was I talking about in my no-context tweets below. It was fun. Follow me.

Auburn-Ole Miss kickoff time, TV channel announced

Auburn’s game against Ole Miss on Oct. 7 will be the team’s first this season with an early kick.

Auburn vs. Ole Miss game time announced

Auburn will host Ole Miss on Oct. 7 at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Auburn and Ole Miss will kick off at 11 a.m. on Oct. 7 at Jordan-Hare Stadium, the SEC announced Monday morning. The game will be broadcast on either ESPN, ESPN2 or the SEC Network.

The channel for the game will be finalized after this weekend’s games.

This year’s game will mark the 42nd all-time meeting between the two SEC West teams. Auburn leads the all-time series with Ole Miss, 30-11, and won last year’s meeting in Oxford, Miss., 40-29. The Rebels won the last time the programs met at Jordan-Hare Stadium in 2015, 27-19.

No. 13 Auburn (3-1, 1-0 SEC) is coming off a drubbing of Missouri and will host No. 24 Mississippi State this weekend. Ole Miss (2-1) is coming off a bye week and will open SEC play this weekend against top-ranked Alabama. 

AL.com will update this post.

Auburn vs. Ole Miss game time announced

Auburn will host Ole Miss on Oct. 7 at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Auburn vs. Ole Miss game time announced

Auburn will host Ole Miss on Oct. 7 at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Why do old Auburn football games keep popping up in the background of TV shows?

It's not a coincidence–someone has to be fan. That's Andrea Archer Compton's theory on the phenomena, at least.

It’s not a coincidence–someone has to be fan. That’s former TV production coordinator Andrea Archer Compton’s theory on the phenomena, at least. Or maybe multiple someones, given how many different shows its happened on, and on how many different networks. CBS. NBC. ABC. Now you can add Netflix to the list. 

Because that split-second shot of the football game on the screen just over Sam Elliott’s shoulder in the bar scene of the Part 3: Ep. 2 episode of the new Netflix comedy The Ranch most definitely shows former Auburn quarterback Brandon Cox about to take a snap. And it’s not the first small screen bar scene to feature a Tuberville-era Auburn game.    

In 2014, the Tigers’ 2004 win over Arkansas played in the background while Craig T. Nelson and Dax Shepherd knocked back beers in an episode of Parenthood. And that was actually the second Auburn game Nelson’s character had caught in as many seasons of the NBC dramedy; in 2013, he and Lauren Graham had a heart-to-heart talk during a replay of Auburn’s 2006 Thursday night win over South Carolina.

“I can’t speak for primetime (TV),” says Compton, who is responsible for introducing Auburn souvenirs to the set of General Hospital in 2009, “but what I suspect is that there’s somebody who is an Auburn fan somewhere in the production staff probably, or in the post-production department where you’re putting that material in the screen.”

Supporting that theory is the fact that several examples of Boda Getta in the background are from Auburn’s six-year Iron Bowl win streak. The Tigers’ 22-15 “Fear The Thumb” win over the Tide in 2006 actually popped in three separate shows–a 2011 episode of ABC’s Body of Proof, a 2013 episode of CBS’ The Mentalistand a 2014 episode of NBC’s The Mindy Project

A 2012 episode of the short-lived NBC comedy Animal Practice ended with a monkey laughing while watching Auburn sack former Bama quarterback John Parker Wilson in the 2007 Iron Bowl. 

“They probably didn’t roll it live on the set, they probably green-screened it in later,” Compton says. “Someone was probably a fan, and you just make a few phone calls and as long as everyone is agreed and all the signatures are there for the release, why not? But yeah, Auburn stuff just continues to pop up.” 

Of course, to be fair, the post-production pigskin partisans at The Ranch may actually have been pulling for another team. Though Cox got most of the screen time, the game glowing behind Sam Elliott was actually South Florida’s upset win over the Tigers in 2007–the first cameo for an Auburn loss. 

Why do old Auburn football games keep popping up in the background of TV shows?

It’s not a coincidence–someone has to be fan. That’s Andrea Archer Compton’s theory on the phenomena, at least.

Why do old Auburn football games keep popping up in the background of TV shows?

It’s not a coincidence–someone has to be fan. That’s Andrea Archer Compton’s theory on the phenomena, at least.

Auburn kicker Daniel Carlson recognized by Lou Groza award

Booting three field goals, including a pair 50-yarders, earned Daniel Carlson national recognition.

Booting three field goals, including a pair 50-yarders, earned Daniel Carlson national recognition.

A two-time finalist for the Lou Groza award, Auburn’s kicker was among three “Stars of the Week” recognized by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission, which administers the Groza award, along with South Florida’s Emilio Nadelman and New Mexico’s Jason Sanders.

Carlson made three field goals from distances of 41, 52 and 54 yards and nine touchbacks on 10 kickoffs in Auburn’s 51-14 win at Missouri. The 54-yard kick is tied for the fourth-longest in the FBS this season.

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn proclaimed Carlson was “back” after the pair of 50-yard field goals after starting the season 5 for 8 with a miss from 26 yards.

Auburn kicker Daniel Carlson recognized by Lou Groza award

Booting three field goals, including a pair 50-yarders, earned Daniel Carlson national recognition.

Auburn kicker Daniel Carlson recognized by Lou Groza award

Booting three field goals, including a pair 50-yarders, earned Daniel Carlson national recognition.

Marlon Davidson named SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week

Davidson had four tackles, including one for a loss, and a fumble recovery against Missouri.

Marlon Davidson named SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week

Davidson had four tackles, including one for a loss, and a fumble recovery against Missouri.

Auburn sophomore Marlon Davidson was named the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week, the league announced Monday morning.

Davidson, who returned from a knee injury that sidelined him one week prior, finished with four total tackles, including one for a loss, and a fumble recovery during Auburn’s 51-14 win at Missouri on Saturday.

Davidson recovers fumble in return from knee injury

Davidson’s four tackles were tied for second-most on the team and led all Auburn defensive linemen against Missouri. According to the SEC, Davidson’s 28 production points was second among Auburn’s entire defensive unit.

Davidson also had a 33-yard fumble recovery in the second quarter that set up Auburn’s fourth touchdown of the night and made it 28-0. When Jeff Holland sacked Missouri quarterback Drew Lock and jarred the ball loose, Davidson — after everyone on the field initially assumed it was an incomplete pass — made a heads-up play, scooped up the ball and rumbled 33 yards into Missouri territory before he was stopped at the 20-yard line. Auburn scored four plays later on Kerryon Johnson’s fourth touchdown of the night.


 

Marlon Davidson named SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week – Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site


Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site

Marlon Davidson named SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week
Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
He picked up the loose football and returned it 33 yards deep into Missouri territory to set up another touchdown. “When I saw that bag (from the referee) on the ground, I just took off and went and got the ball,” Davidson said after the game. “Just

and more »

Auburn’s Marlon Davidson named SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week

From the first moment Marlon Davidson ran onto the field Saturday at Faurot Field, he wanted to show he was back.

How Auburn transfers, former signees fared in Week 4

Tracking how former Auburn players and signees performed during Week 4 of the college football season

How Auburn transfers, former signees fared in Week 4

Tracking how former Auburn players and signees performed during Week 4 of the college football season

Tracking how former Auburn players and signees performed during Week 4 of the college football season:

Kamryn Melton, Troy DB: Melton had three tackles and a pass breakup in a 22-17 win over Akron.
Season: Seven tackles and two pass breakups

Markell Boston, UT-Chattanooga DB: Boston had one tackle and interception in 63-7 win over VMI
Season: Five tackles, interception

John Franklin III, Florida Atlantic WR: Franklin had one carry for seven yards in 34-31 loss to Buffalo.
Season: Four receptions for 19 yards and two carries for 25 yards

Raashed Kennion, Florida A&M DL: Had three tackles in a 20-14 win over Savannah State.
Season: Six tackles and a forced fumble

Roc Thomas, Jacksonville State RB: Had 18 carries for 87 yards with two touchdowns and two receptions for four yards in 31-10 win over Liberty
Season: 55 carries for 295 yards and three touchdown, six receptions for 91 yards

Justin Thomas-Thornton, Jacksonville State DE: Had two tackles in 31-10 win over Liberty
Season: Three tackles

Michael Sherwood, Arkansas Tech DB: Had an interception in 52-0 win over Southern Nazarene.
Season: 12 tackles, two pass breakups, interception

Jordan Diamond, Miami-Ohio OL: Played in 31-14 win over Central Michigan.

Antwuan Jackson Jr., Blinn C.C. DT: Jackson had two tackles with .5 sacks in a 27-16 win over Kilgore
Season: 27 tackles with five for loss, 3.5 sacks

Woody Barrett, Copiah-Lincoln C.C. QB: Went 9 of 23 for 127 yards with an interception and had 17 carries for 32 yards in a 35-10 loss to Jones County.
Season: 41 for 86 or 544 yards with two touchdowns and interception and 210 rushing yards and three touchdowns

Marlon Character, Northwest Mississippi C.C. DB: Had two tackles in 41-0 win over Mississippi Delta.
Season: 10 tackles, four pass breakups and a blocked kick

Landon Rice, Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C. TE: Had two receptions for 16 yards in 48-25 win over East Central Miss.
Season: Six receptions for 74 yards

Alaric Williams, Garden City C.C. RB: Garden City had an off week.
Season: 22 carries for 87 yards and two touchdowns

Tyler Queen, West Georgia QB: Was 0 for 1 passing and had two carries for seven yards in 48-16 win over Albany State.
Season: 4 for 14 for 55 yards with seven carries for 54 yards and a touchdown

Tim Irvin, East Carolina DB: Did not play in 41-28 win over UConn.
Season: 20 tackles with .5 for loss

Deon Mix, Houston OL: Did not play in a 27-24 loss to Texas Tech.

Stanton Truitt, North Carolina RB: Did not play in 27-17 loss to Duke.

Carlito Gonzalez, Memphis DB: Did not play in 44-31 win over Southern Illinois.

Auburn target Richard Jibunor explains potential plan to wait, take visits to Florida, Auburn and Tennessee – SECcountry.com


SECcountry.com

Auburn target Richard Jibunor explains potential plan to wait, take visits to Florida, Auburn and Tennessee
SECcountry.com
Welcome to SEC Country's daily Auburn Tigers football recruiting notebook with Auburn recruiting beat writer Benjamin Wolk. It's Monday, and SEC Country spoke with Richard Jibunor about his top 3.

Richard McBryde makes most of opportunity, has career game against Missouri

Richard McBryde saw more time at linebacker against Missouri with Tre' Williams sidelined and finished with a career-high four tackles.

Richard McBryde’s opportunities have been limited since he arrived at Auburn in 2015, but the redshirt sophomore linebacker made the most of perhaps his biggest one to date during his team’s 51-14 thrashing of Missouri on Saturday night.

McBryde, who factored more heavily into Auburn’s linebacker rotation with Tre’ Williams sidelined, had a career-high four tackles — including his first tackle for a loss — during Auburn’s SEC-opening win at Memorial Stadium.

“Richard got a chance to get in there with some big hits,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “Tre’ Williams didn’t play, so Richard got a chance to do that.”

Williams was sidelined with a nagging right shoulder injury he sustained two weeks prior in the Clemson game, so Auburn had to alter its rotation at linebacker. Montavious Atkinson got the start in place of Williams alongside Deshaun Davis, and McBryde was bumped up a spot and rotated in with Darrell Williams throughout the game.

As senior safety Tray Matthews put it afterward, it’s “next man up around here.”

Grading Auburn’s 51-14 win against Missouri

“He was like ‘it was a blessing,'” Williams said of McBryde. “He didn’t think it was going to come this soon, but when it came he stepped up to the challenge. I told him ‘man I’m really proud of you and I’m looking forward to seeing you in these next few games.'”

McBryde not only had a career-high four tackles, but he tripled his career total against Missouri. He entered the game with just two total tackles on his resume, and those came during last season’s blowout of Arkansas.

This time around, McBryde’s contributions came before the game was out of reach. All four of McBryde’s tackles came in the first half against Missouri.

He had two tackles on the same drive in the first quarter, when he twice dropped Missouri running back Damarea Crockett in a span of three plays. The first was on a 3-yard gain and the other was at the line of scrimmage.

In the second quarter, McBryde tackled quarterback Drew Lock after a 5-yard run, and then he capped his day with another stop of Crockett, this time for a 1-yard loss one play prior to Missouri’s first touchdown.

RELATED: Williams says “minor setback” held him out of Missouri game

While Williams, who spoke to the media Sunday night, is expected back for this weekend’s home game against No. 24 Mississippi State, the senior linebacker believes McBryde’s performance will only lead to more chances for him to make an impact this season.

“It was very exciting,” Williams said. “I was excited for him. Normally, as you can see, he didn’t get that many opportunities. When he got the opportunity he actually stepped up and played big. Now we just gain even more trust in him and you’ll probably see more snaps out of him as well.”

Richard McBryde makes most of opportunity, has career game against Missouri

Richard McBryde saw more time at linebacker against Missouri with Tre’ Williams sidelined and finished with a career-high four tackles.

Highlights of Auburn’s 51-14 Win Over Missouri

Auburn traveled to the State of Missouri for the first time ever last Saturday and everything went exactly as expectd. The highlights started early and went on well into the night. The backups even had some fun.

How Auburn’s 10th-ranked passing defense shut down Missouri’s top receiver

No player on Missouri’s offense drew more of Auburn’s attention in the week leading up to its trip to Columbia, Mo., than wide receiver J’Mon Moore.

Fans and Features: A look back at Auburn at Missouri

For a second time this season, it was Tigers vs. Tigers as Auburn hit the road to take on Missouri. Auburn returned to the Plains victorious after routing Missouri 51-14. Check out the atmosphere in Columbia, Mo. on Saturday in this fans and features gallery. For more game action photos, take a look at Auburn at Missouri.

For a second time this season, it was Tigers vs. Tigers as Auburn hit the road to take on Missouri. Auburn returned to the Plains victorious after routing Missouri 51-14. Check out the atmosphere in Columbia, Mo. on Saturday in this fans and features gallery.

For more game action photos, take a look at Auburn at Missouri.

Fans and Features: A look back at Auburn at Missouri

For a second time this season, it was Tigers vs. Tigers as Auburn hit the road to take on Missouri. Auburn returned to the Plains victorious after routing Missouri 51-14. Check out the atmosphere in Columbia, Mo. on Saturday in this…

What Was the Real Reason for Auburn’s Breakout Performance on Offense?

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Auburn’s victory over Missouri Saturday was a welcome sight for Tiger fans. While the Mizzou Tigers are not a good team they do have some good players particularly on the defensive front. Yet Auburn ran up close to 500 yards of offense evenly split between the run game and the passing game. Make no mistake, anytime you can go on the road and beat an SEC team like that, in their home stadium, it’s a big win.

The decisive win puts the Tigers in a good position heading into a big match up this weekend with Mississippi State. At 3-1 with their single defeat being an eight point loss to the defending national champions, the Tigers now have that all important sports attribute on their side – momentum.

However, going into the game Auburn’s fans were naturally concerned after the team had some struggles in their last two contest.

What could be the reason for the sudden turnaround? 

For three weeks Tiger fans debated why the offense couldn’t seem to play up to pre season expectations. There have been no shortage of suggestions coming from the fan base.

Some cited wide receivers not getting separation from defensive backs, others opined that quarterback Jarrett Stidham held the ball too long, still others pointed to issues with the offensive line. And finally, some thought it would take a few games to get the team acclimated to the new schemes of offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey.

But after watching the Tigers dismantle Mizzou Saturday my wife pointed out what may have been the real reason. She noticed right off the bat that head coach Gus Malzahn was dressed differently. Gone was the traditional sweater vest – replaced by an orange stripe polo shirt. At first I laughed but then I thought her supposition carries as much weight as all the other suggestions from fans except for one thing … Auburn won this one 51-14.

So please Gus, ditch the sweater vest and take Auburn all the way to Atlanta!

War Eagle!

The post What Was the Real Reason for Auburn’s Breakout Performance on Offense? appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.

Auburn NFL roundup: Carl Lawson breaks out in Cincinnati Bengals’ pass rush

Eighteen former Auburn players got on the field on the third Sunday of the NFL's 2017 season.

In his first two NFL games, Cincinnati Bengals outside linebacker Carl Lawson had drawn praise for his ability to pressure opposing quarterbacks. But on the stat sheet, he didn’t have a tackle, let alone a sack to show for his efforts.

He took care of that on Sunday.

Lawson was in on three sacks of Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, but the Bengals still lost to the Packers 27-24 in overtime to fall to 0-3 for the season.

Lawson had four tackles in the game.

His second one came on a third-and-9 snap at the Green Bay 42-yard line, when he sacked Rodgers for an 8-yard loss with about six-and-a-half minutes left in the second quarter.

The next time that Green Bay had the football, Lawson sacked Rodgers again for a 5-yard loss on the play before the two-minute warning.

With about six minutes left in the third quarter, Lawson shared a sack with defensive end Chris Smith, taking down Rodgers for a 13-yard loss to set his official sack total for the game at 2.5.

Lawson was among the 18 former Auburn players who got on the field during the third Sunday of the NFL’s 2017 season.

Former Auburn players who started on Sunday included:

  • Quarterback Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers completed 17-of-26 passes for 167 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions in a 34-13 loss to the New Orleans Saints. He also ran three times for 16 yards and a touchdown.

  • Nose tackle Pat Sims of the Bengals made one tackle against the Packers.
  • Right offensive tackle Shon Coleman and wide receiver Ricardo Louis of the Cleveland Browns. Louis caught a 10-yard pass in a 31-28 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
  • Left offensive tackle Greg Robinson of the Detroit Lions.
  • Fullback Jay Prosch (UMS-Wright) of the Houston Texans.
  • Right outside linebacker Dee Ford (St. Clair County) of the Kansas City Chiefs made a tackle and had two quarterback hits in a 24-10 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers. Ford suffered a hip injury in the game.

Other former Auburn players seeing action on Sunday included:

  • Atlanta Falcons long snapper Josh Harris.
  • Bengals tight end C.J. Uzomah, who was sidelined by an injury in the first two games, made his 2017 debut and had a special-teams tackle against the Packers.
  • Packers defensive tackle Montravius Adams made his NFL debut against the Bengals. Adams suffered a broken foot on the second day of training camp and had to have surgery, keeping him sidelined throughout the preseason and for the first two games of the regular season.
  • Colts wide receiver Quan Bray caught a 22-yard pass and returned three punts for 16 yards against the Browns.
  • Jacksonville Jaguars running back Corey Grant (Opelika) ran for 75 yards on six carries and caught an 18-yard pass in a 44-7 victory over the Baltimore Ravens. Grant broke loose for a 58-yard run on a fake punt.
  • Miami Dolphins place-kicker Cody Parkey had only one kick – an extra-point attempt when Miami scored on the final play of the game – and he missed it with 0:00 left in a 20-6 loss to the New York Jets.
  • New England Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones and safety Brandon King (Thompson). Jones made three tackles in a 36-33 victory over the Texans.
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Peyton Barber.
  • Tennessee Titans linebacker Daren Bates made a special-teams tackle in a 33-27 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

FOR MORE OF AL.COM’S COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE OF THE NFL, GO TO OUR NFL PAGE

Panthers running back Cameron Artis-Payne, Browns wide receiver Sammie Coates (Leroy), Seahawks cornerback Neiko Thorpe and Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Holsey were designated as inactive on Sunday.

On Monday night, the Dallas Cowboys will visit the Arizona Cardinals at 7:30 CDT. ESPN will televise the game

Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @AMarkG1.

Auburn NFL roundup: Carl Lawson breaks out in Cincinnati Bengals’ pass rush

Eighteen former Auburn players got on the field on the third Sunday of the NFL’s 2017 season.

What did the state’s NFL players do during the national anthem on Sunday?

NFL players had an outpouring of expression during the national anthem before the league’s Sunday games after President Donald Trump had said NFL players who did not stand during the national anthem should be fired. The 102 players from Alabama high schools and colleges on NFL active rosters on Sunday did a variety of things, including locking arms with teammates, kneeling, sitting and staying in the locker room.

What did the state’s NFL players do during the national anthem on Sunday?

NFL players had an outpouring of expression during the national anthem before the league's Sunday games after President Donald Trump had said NFL players who did not stand during the national anthem should be fired. The 102 players from Alabama high schools and colleges on NFL active rosters on Sunday did a variety of things, including locking arms with teammates, kneeling, sitting and staying in the locker room.

Many more NFL players took a knee during the playing of the national anthem on Sunday than had done so previously. Some sat during the performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” And three NFL teams stayed in the locker room for the pregame tradition.

Most teams did something – commonly locking arms (sometimes with the team’s owner) – during the national anthem on Sunday.

The outpouring of expression came after President Donald Trump had said NFL players who did not stand during the national anthem should be fired. Trump made the remark during a campaign stop for U.S. Sen. Luther Strange in Huntsville on Friday night.

“That’s a total disrespect of our heritage. That’s a total disrespect of everything that we stand for,” Trump said during a rally in Huntsville for Luther Strange’s U.S. Senate campaign on Friday night.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired.'”

So how did the 102 players from Alabama high schools and colleges who were on NFL active rosters on Sunday respond?

In a variety of ways.

Many stood, as usual, but running back Mark Ingram (Alabama) was one of the 10 members of the New Orleans Saints who sat during the national anthem. Defensive end Darius Philon (Vigor) and defensive tackle Damion Square (Alabama) of the Los Angeles Chargers also sat.

Among the players with Alabama roots who were reported as kneeling during the song were cornerback Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Alabama), inside linebacker C.J. Mosley (Theodore, Alabama), outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith (Greenville), outside linebacker Tim Williams (Alabama) and defensive back Lardarius Webb (Beauregard) of the Baltimore Ravens; defensive tackle Marcell Dareus (Huffman, Alabama) and wide receiver Jordan Matthews (Madison Academy) of the Buffalo Bills, running back Isaiah Crowell (Alabama State) and wide receiver Ricardo Louis (Auburn) of the Cleveland Browns, running back Ameer Abdullah (Homewood) and defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson (Alabama) of the Detroit Lions, wide receiver Tyreek Hill (West Alabama) of the Kansas City Chiefs, cornerback Malcolm Butler (West Alabama), defensive end Trey Flowers (Columbia), cornerback Jonathan Jones (Auburn) and safety Brandon King (Thompson, Auburn) of the New England Patriots; strong safety Landon Collins (Alabama) of the New York Giants and outside linebacker Ryan Anderson (Daphne, Alabama) of the Washington Redskins.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans remained in the locker rooms during the playing of the national anthem. 

Most of the Steelers’ coaches were on the field, and one player, Alejandro Villanueva, stepped out of the tunnel leading to the locker room to stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Villanueva served in Afghanistan as a U.S. Army Ranger.

“We will not be divided by this,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said. “We got a group of men in there that come from different socioeconomic backgrounds, races, creeds, ethnicities, religions and so forth. That’s football; that’s a lot of team sports. But because of our position, we get drug into (expletive), to be quite honest with you. Some have opinions; some don’t. We wanted to protect those that don’t; we wanted to protect those that do. We came here to play a football game today, and that was our intentions.”

Tomlin said he would have preferred if Villanueva had remained in the locker room with his teammates.

The Oakland Raiders also wanted to remain in the locker room, but coach Jack Del Rio said the timing associated with a prime-time game would have made it difficult for the team to get on the field for the coin toss. Instead, nearly all of the Raiders linked arms and sat on the bench during the national anthem.

FOR MORE OF AL.COM’S COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE OF THE NFL, GO TO OUR NFL PAGE

NFL players have been sitting, kneeling or raising a fist during the national anthem since former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started kneeling before games last year, but not nearly in the numbers seen on Sunday.

Kaepernick’s protest was intended to draw attention to incidents in which police had shot unarmed black men. Kaepernick has not been picked up by a team for the 2017 season, and some observers have attributed his lack of a roster spot to his national-anthem stance.

Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @AMarkG1.

Watch highlights, interviews from Auburn’s win at Missouri

Highlights and interviews from Auburn's 51-14 win at Missouri

Watch highlights, interviews from Auburn’s win at Missouri

Highlights and interviews from Auburn’s 51-14 win at Missouri

Auburn linebacker Tre’ Williams says ‘minor setback’ sidelined him against Missouri

Tre’ Williams said a “minor setback” from the right shoulder injury he suffered against Clemson is what sidelined him for Auburn’s win at Missouri on Saturday

Auburn linebacker Tre’ Williams says ‘minor setback’ sidelined him against Missouri

Tre' Williams said a "minor setback" from the right shoulder injury he suffered against Clemson is what sidelined him for Auburn's win at Missouri on Saturday

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Tre’ Williams said a “minor setback” from the right shoulder injury he suffered against Clemson is what sidelined him for Auburn’s win at Missouri on Saturday.

Auburn’s leading tackler traveled but did not dress out for the 51-14 mauling at Memorial Stadium in Columbia.

“I was pretty banged up ever since Clemson,” Williams said. “I toughened it out against Mercer and I kind of took a couple steps back. The coaches made a decision to sit me out against Missouri and to keep rehabbing and everything and we’ll see how it goes for this week.”

A source with knowledge of the situation told AL.com Williams was held out so as not to aggravate the injury and he should return for next week’s game against Mississippi State.

After Saturday’s game, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said Williams was “not 100 percent” and would “hopefully” return against Mississippi State.

Williams, who still leads Auburn with 25 tackles and 2.5 sacks this season despite missing the game, said he wasn’t sure if he could’ve talked the coaching staff into letting him play.

“I don’t know; It’s really up to them,” he said. “They really care about our health and they’re more than coaches, they really want to build us for the future as well. I’m pretty sure they (wanted) to prevent anything serious from happening, so it was their call.”

Montavious Atkinson started in place of Williams and had six tackles and forced a fumble, one of four turnovers for Auburn’s defense.

Redshirt-sophomore linebacker Richard McBryde also took his most meaningful reps to date and had four tackles with one for loss and delivered a pair of big hits.

“They had one of the best performances. It can happen to anybody, it doesn’t matter how was displaced from this defense, we have depth to where we don’t miss a beat and you saw that Saturday,” Williams said. “You can see as a defense, the standard we set. You can see that standard is for everybody; it don’t matter if you’re the oldest guy or the youngest guy.

“Everybody comes out and plays to the Auburn standard and you saw that Saturday.”

Auburn linebacker Tre’ Williams calls injury a ‘minor setback’

The injury that kept Tre’ Williams sidelined Saturday at Missouri is just “a little minor setback,” the linebacker said Sunday.

Tigers Dominate Behind Complete Team Performance – Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site


Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site

Tigers Dominate Behind Complete Team Performance
Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
AUBURN, Ala. – The Auburn soccer team put together a complete team performance in a 3-0 shutout of Kentucky Sunday afternoon. The Tigers (5-3-2, 2-0-1 SEC) continued their unbeaten run in Southeastern Conference play after holding a 10-5 advantage …

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Gus Malzahn says Daniel Carlson’s ‘back’ after pair of 50-yard FGs

Daniel Carlson shook off some early-season struggles with field goals and went 3-for-3 against Missouri with two makes of 50-plus yards.

Gus Malzahn says Daniel Carlson’s ‘back’ after pair of 50-yard FGs

Daniel Carlson shook off some early-season struggles with field goals and went 3-for-3 against Missouri with two makes of 50-plus yards.

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Gus Malzahn could sense Daniel Carlson was pressing. The two-time Lou Groza Award finalist wasn’t his normally reliable self a quarter of the way through the season, hitting just five of eight field goal attempts through three games.

Carlson shook off those early-season woes during Auburn’s SEC-opening smackdown of Missouri on the road. The senior was perfect on three field goal attempts — including two 50-plus yarders — and connected on all six of his extra point opportunities.

“I think it was more of him just pressing (early on), like I talked about earlier,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “What’d he have, two 50-yarders that probably would’ve been good from 60, you know? He’s back.”

That was promising news for an Auburn team that struggled with special teams issues early in the season. Along with Carlson’s struggles the first three games, punter Ian Shannon struggled with consistency.

Grading Auburn’s 51-14 win against Missouri

Malzahn reopened the punting job last week amid Shannon’s sluggish start and considered turning to Carlson for punting duties like he did in 2014. The fifth-year Auburn coach ultimately decided to stick with the redshirt sophomore in order to allow Carlson to focus on placekicking.

Through three games, Carlson had more outright missed field goals (three) than he had all of last season, when he missed two outright and had two others partially blocked at the line of scrimmage. He was just 5-of-8 out of the gate, and one of the misses was particularly uncharacteristic as it came on a 26-yard attempt during last week’s win against Mercer.

Last week, Malzahn said he believed Carlson just needed to relax, loosen up and stop putting unnecessary pressure on himself in an attempt to live up to his performance from the last two seasons.

That appeared to pay off against Missouri, as Carlson connected on kicks of 41, 52 and 54 yards during Auburn’s 51-14 win to open SEC play. His 41-yarder gave Auburn a 31-7 lead just before halftime, while the 52-yarder made it 48-7 late in the third quarter and the 54-yarder pushed it to 51-7 early in the fourth.

The final field goal was his longest of the season and his 11th career kick of at least 50 yards. His effort Saturday night extended his school scoring record to 392 career points, and it moved him to fourth all-time in SEC history, surpassing former Alabama kicker Leigh Tiffin on the all-time list.

Auburn opens as 2-score favorite against Mississippi State

After dominating Missouri 51-14 to open SEC play, Auburn opened as a two-score favorite against Mississippi State.

Auburn opens as 2-score favorite against Mississippi State

After dominating Missouri 51-14 to open SEC play, Auburn opened as a two-score favorite against Mississippi State.

After dominating Missouri 51-14 to open SEC play, Auburn opened as a two-score favorite against Mississippi State.

The No. 13 Tigers (3-1, 1-0 SEC) are 10-point favorites against the No. 24 Bulldogs on Saturday (5 p.m. CT, ESPN) at Jordan-Hare Stadium, according to VegasInsider.com.

Preseason scouting report: Mississippi State

Auburn has won 12 of the last 16 meetings in the series, including a 38-14 win in Starkville last season.

Mississippi State (3-1, 1-1 SEC) is coming off a 31-3 loss at Georgia but defeated LSU 37-7 a week earlier.

Check out Carl Lawson’s first NFL sack for the Cincinnati Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals drafted Auburn defensive end Carl Lawson in the fourth round in April because of his pass-rushing ability. On Sunday in his third NFL game, Lawson delivered his first sack.

Check out Carl Lawson’s first NFL sack for the Cincinnati Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals drafted Auburn defensive end Carl Lawson in the fourth round in April because of his pass-rushing ability. On Sunday in his third NFL game, Lawson delivered his first sack.

The Cincinnati Bengals drafted Auburn defensive end Carl Lawson in the fourth round in April because of his pass-rushing ability. On Sunday in his third NFL game, Lawson delivered his first sack.

With the Green Bay Packers facing a third-and-9 at their 42-yard line in the second quarter, Lawson shoved aside left offensive tackle Kyle Murphy to sack quarterback Aaron Rodgers for an 8-yard loss for his first NFL sack and second NFL tackle.

Murphy is not the Packers’ regular left tackle. He was playing because David Bakhtiari missed the game because of a hamstring injury.

Just a few minutes later, Lawson registered his second sack, taking down Rodgers for a 5-yard loss on a second-and-9 snap from the Green Bay 18.

Lawson has transitioned from collegiate defensive end to NFL outside linebacker with the Bengals, although he still lines up at defensive end at times for Cincinnati.

FOR MORE OF AL.COM’S COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE OF THE NFL, GO TO OUR NFL PAGE

Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @AMarkG1.

Tigers Thrash Missouri! (Grading Auburn’s 51-14 win over Missouri.)

Mizzou KJ Grades

Kerryon Johnson soars back into action.
(L.G. Patterson The Associated Press)

     War Eagle everybody! It’s time now for the Acid Reign Report on Auburn’s first road win of the year, a 51-14 shelling of the Missouri Tigers. For the most part, Auburn was clicking in all 3 phases of the game, and Missouri was pretty much dead and buried well before halftime. This game was a far cry from a week ago, when Auburn struggled to get any push against Mercer, and committed 5 turnovers. The offense came alive, and attacked one-on-one matchups. With better players, a lot of those plays went Auburn’s way.

     On the day, the offense generated 482 yards of total offense, but the last quarter was played with mostly backups on the field. Auburn converted 7 of 15 3rd down conversions, and had no turnovers, while Missouri had 4. That allowed Auburn to build a big time of possession advantage, keeping the ball for over 34 minutes.    

     We knew going in that Missouri was suspect on defense, but I was wary of their front four. Auburn’s offensive line made a pretty big jump this week, and had some nasty blocking. Even better was the pass protection. Jarrett Stidham was hardly pressured at all, and if a defense can’t move Stidham’s feet, they will get picked apart.

     If there is any area of concern on offense after this one, it would be on the running game. Both of Auburn’s top runners are hobbled with injuries. This week, Kerryon Johnson played at maybe 80 percent, and Kamryn Pettway took the week off. Auburn finished with 263 rushing yards, but Johnson only had 48 yards on the day. The blazing speed of Kam Martin and Eli Stove accounted for half the yardage, on only 12 carries. If I had my way, we’d see more of Martin out there. He’s a threat to take it to the house on every carry.

     Statistically, this game will appear that Auburn took a few steps backward defensively, but these things can be explained by the blowout. Auburn held two banged up starters out, and was subbing liberally even in the 2nd quarter. A lot of Missouri’s yards came in garbage time, with the game way out of hand. The starting defense regularly put the Mizzou offense in a bind, and clamped down on 3rd down.

     Missouri was their own worst enemy at times. There were 3 false starts in the 1st quarter, alone. Auburn had an interception that went through a Missouri receiver’s hands. And then there was the crazy fumble play that wasn’t blown dead. Me, I thought the quarterback’s arm was going forward, and replay seemed to confirm it. It should have been ruled an incomplete pass. I’d have been howling about the refs, if it had happened to Auburn! Missouri defenders had trouble getting off blocks, and trouble getting a handle on Auburn ball carriers.

     Auburn had a better special teams day, this week. Punting is still a bit concerning. We are seeing short punts, that so far, have hit and rolled. The average ends up around 40 yards, but those things are ugly to watch. If that keeps happening, we will see a knuckler NOT roll, when we need it most in a big game. Daniel Carlson looked like he was finally back to last year’s form, with very strong and accurate kicks.

Unit grades after the jump!

Defensive Line: A-. I felt like the line, particularly the starters did a great job of swallowing up blockers and disrupting up front. It seemed like Drew Lock was being harrassed every pass play, and runs up the middle didn’t get far. Strangely, Auburn only got credit for 1 quarterback hurry, by Jeffery Holland. I guess the home team statistician was taking a nap, instead of watching the game. The Auburn line was credited with 1 sack, 3 tackles for loss, and 10 total tackles.

Linebackers: A-. The Auburn linebackers continue to do a good job of filling lanes and hunting the football down, even with starting middle linebacker Tre’ Williams sitting this one out. Montavious Atkinson and Richard McBryde filled in admirably, and the unit soldiered on. Linebackers were credited with 16 tackles.

Secondary: A-. Most of what I counted off on was second and third team defenders getting beat deep. Fortunately, Missouri was unable to make good throws in those situations. The starting defenders played really well, and took home run threat J’Mon Moore away. Moore had just 2 catches on the day, with a late touchdown against the reserves. Moore was matched up mostly on Carlton Davis, and Davis decisively won that battle. I also enjoyed the play of Jeremiah Dinson, Tray Matthews and Stephen Roberts. Those are all guys that cover a lot of ground, and lay the wood when they get there. Auburn’s secondary contributed 28 total tackles. Missouri put the ball in the air a lot in this game, and Auburn limited them to just 5.5 yards per pass, with most of the yardage coming against the reserves.

Punting: C. Ian Shannon punted 3 times for just 39.3 yards per attempt, and frankly was the beneficiary of some lucky rolls. On the plus side, there were no returns and one was killed inside the 20 yard line.

Punt Returns: B+. Missouri punted 6 times, and there was one fair catch and one return for one yard, by Stephen Roberts. That doesn’t sound like much. However, most of these punts were backspinners landing inside the 10 yard line. Getting away from them is the smart thing for the return man to do. The Roberts fair catch at the 10 was good, too. That ball likely would have rolled down near the goal line. We won’t see another punter that good, till we face Bama’s J. K. Scott.

Kick Returns: B-. Missouri was another team that did not want to kick to Auburn return men. Noah Igbinoghene brought one out late, for 21 yards, which is pretty average.

Place Kicking: A+. Daniel Carlson was 3 for 3 on field goal attempts, and 2 of them were beyond 50 yards. That gives Carlson 12 career field goals of that distance or more. Carlson was also a busy man kicking off, notching 9 touchbacks on 10 kickoffs. We’ve seen Carlson consistently reach the end zone this year, but a lot of kickoffs on this day were actually boomed beyond the back of the end zone. It was quite impressive!

Offensive Line: A-. I still would like to see a bit more push in the run game, but I think Missouri has a decent defensive line, and Auburn held their own well. Pass protection issues seem to have been greatly reduced, if not eliminated. Jarrett Stidham wasn’t sacked, or even close to being sacked. This was the second appearance of Auburn’s shuffled offensive line, and I’m scratching my head. Due to an injury to Darius James last week, center Austin Golson moved out to right tackle, and senior Jax State transfer Casey Dunn took over at center. Early last season, we saw Golson struggle at left tackle, before being moved back to center. This year, on the right side, Golson looked surprisingly good. Missouri continually tried to beat him around the corner, and could not do it. Prince Tega Wanagho has steadily improved this year, too, and looked good in this game on the other side. I got a kick out of the Auburn participation report. It lists Chase Ritter (a walk-on linebacker) as the starting center! I’m sure he enjoyed his moment in the spotlight…

Running Backs: A. Some might question this grade, with Kerryon Johnson only getting 48 yards, but it’s kind of hard to pile up big yardage numbers when most of the carries are inside the 10 yard line! Blocking was good, especially by the H-backs. The reason all those wildcat plays worked so well was that Auburn went with 2 H-backs, Chandler Cox and Spencer Nigh, and they walled their man off consistently. Despite Missouri being stacked to stop the run, Auburn averaged 5 yards per carry, put no balls on the ground, dropped no passes, and did not turn any pass rushers loose till well into garbage time.

Receivers: B. We saw a vast improvement this week. I feel like there were a few route-running errors this week, and another glaring dropped ball by Sal Cannella. However, Auburn’s men blocked ok, got open and caught the ball. Where the blocking was not great was on outside screens, where the Missouri corner could consistently get into the passing lane. That forced the QB to pull the ball back in, and run, too many times. For those RPOs to work, blocking HAS to get better. Auburn got called for holding on the outside twice, which negated big pass plays.

Quarterback: A. Some might question this grade, as Stidham really did have all day to throw. I only saw maybe 2 out of 17 passes that were off target, and nothing even close to a turnover. Stidham is on fire, efficiency-wise, hitting 13 of 17 passes for 218 yards. That’s a gaudy 12.8 yards per pass average! Malik Willis got in the game late, hitting 3 of 4 passes, for no yards. They had Willis throwing those receiver screens, with reserve receivers against Missouri starters.

     It was a fun road trip for Auburn football. Auburn went to a hostile place, and beat the snot out of the home team, which is what they needed. Maybe there is little value in smoking a team that is clearly in disarray, but I was encouraged by Auburn’s improved execution. Like it or not, Coach Malzhan’s teams tend to take a few games to start firing on all cylinders.

     I also have to hand it to the Auburn offensive coaches regarding the Wildcat plays. I’ve been one of the biggest critics, saying that the plays were a waste of a down, and way too predictable, lately. This game, there were some pretty creative new wrinkles. I particularly liked the use of Spencer Nigh on “wham” blocks. Auburn would let a defender through, pull the guard there, and Nigh would come back to the middle and blindside obliterate any defender that came through. This did fail on one play, but Johnson shook off the tackler and scored anyway. I also loved the fake pitch to Stidham in motion. Later down the road, that play might result in a turned-loose tight end wide open in the end zone, with the ball in Stidham’s hands.

     Auburn returns home for the next couple of weeks, hosting first Mississippi State, then Ole Miss. In front of a partisan crowd, this is a great opportunity for more improvement and live competition against SEC-level talent. Mississippi State should come into this game angry. They looked like world-beaters against LSU, only to lay an egg yesterday against Georgia. If Mississippi State is to have any hope at winning the division this year, they have to beat Auburn. I would expect nothing less than their best effort.

The post Tigers Thrash Missouri! (Grading Auburn’s 51-14 win over Missouri.) appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.

Kam Martin, Auburn’s leading rusher, makes most of first carries since Week 1

Kam Martin waited a long time between his 14th and 15th carry of the 2017 season. More than nine full quarters from the fourth against Georgia Southern in Week 1 to the second against Missouri in Week 4, to be…

Auburn Sweeps Georgia, 3-0, Sunday in Athens – Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site


Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site

Auburn Sweeps Georgia, 3-0, Sunday in Athens
Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
ATHENS, Ga. – The Auburn volleyball team capped a successful conference-opening weekend with a sweep of Georgia, 3-0 (26-24, 25-22, 25-16), Sunday afternoon in the Ramsey Center. The Tigers improved to 9-2 overall and 2-0 in SEC play. “This was …

Auburn defensive end Marlon Davidson recovers fumble in return from knee injury

The sophomore defensive end had four tackles with one for loss and had a 33-yard fumble return, all in the first half

Auburn defensive end Marlon Davidson recovers fumble in return from knee injury

The sophomore defensive end had four tackles with one for loss and had a 33-yard fumble return, all in the first half

In his return to the field after being held out of the Mercer game, Marlon Davidson appeared no worse for wear.

The sophomore defensive end had four tackles with one for loss and had a 33-yard fumble return, all in the first half, in No. 15 Auburn’s 51-14 win at Missouri on Saturday.

“When I came out on the field I was like, ‘I’m back,'” Davidson said. “That’s what I had to show people: I’m back and ready to play ball, ready to have fun like I was.”

Davidson made his presence felt immediately, stopping Missouri running back Ish Witter for a loss of four yards on third-and-five on the game’s opening drive.

It was the second quarter when Davidson made his biggest impact.

After Jeff Holland and Nick Coe pressured Drew Lock on third-and-five from the Auburn 48-yard line, the ball left the Missouri quarterback’s hand with what players thought was an incomplete pass but officials ruled it a fumble. Davidson hauled in the loose ball, one of four takeaways in the game for Auburn, and ran it back to the Missouri 20-yard line while showing no signs of the left knee injury he suffered in fall camp that caused him to miss the prior week.

“I’m never the type of person to give up on a play anyway,” Davidson said. “I seen that (black bean) bag on the ground, I just took off and went and got the ball. So just making a good play at a good time.”

Four plays later, Kerryon Johnson scored his fourth of five touchdowns to make it 28-0.

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn declined to elaborate on the injury that kept Davidson out of the Mercer game, but the defensive lineman said it was his left knee and was unsure if he would have been able to play.

“I don’t know. I really don’t,” Davidson said. “It’s up to my coaches. Everything is my coaches’ decision and he made the decision, so I sat out. … They just wanted to sit me out, just rest, get me healthy for the next upcoming week because it’s SEC play and all.”

Davidson, who has 11 tackles with four for loss including two sacks and a forced fumble and recovered fumble this season, said he’s ready to go for the remainder of the season.

“I’m playing at a high level,” he said. “I’m at 100 percent. I’m ready to go, ready to have fun, ready to kick the season off for the rest of the year.”

Auburn moves up in polls for first time this season after blowout of Missouri

For the first time this season, Auburn is on its way up in the polls.

Auburn gains ground in polls after drubbing Missouri

Auburn gained some ground in the coaches poll after drubbing Missouri in its SEC opener.

Auburn gains ground in polls after drubbing Missouri

Auburn gained some ground in the coaches poll after drubbing Missouri in its SEC opener.

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Auburn gained ground in the polls after drubbing Missouri in its SEC opener.

The Tigers (3-1, 1-0 SEC) moved up two spots to No. 13 with 701 points in the Associated Press poll and one spot to No. 15 with 664 points in the coaches poll after their 51-14 win over Mizzou.

Last week, Auburn was No. 15 in the AP poll with 596 points and No. 16 in the coaches poll with 555 points.

Statistically speaking: Auburn improves across the board

James Crepea is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @JamesCrepea.

Watch Corey Grant’s 58-yard run on a fake punt for the Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Corey Grant had shown in the preseason how well a fake punt could work, and he did it again on Sunday in a regular-season game.

Watch Corey Grant’s 58-yard run on a fake punt for the Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Corey Grant had shown in the preseason how well a fake punt could work, and he did it again on Sunday in a regular-season game.

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Corey Grant had shown in the preseason how well a fake punt could work, and he did it again on Sunday in a regular-season game.

On fourth-and-1 at the Jacksonville 35-yard line against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, the former Opelika High School and Auburn standout took a direct snap in punt formation and rambled 58 yards to the Baltimore 7.

The fake punt came with Jacksonville leading by 37 points and set up another Jaguars’ touchdown on their way to a 44-7 victory at Wembley Stadium in London.

Against the Carolina Panthers in a preseason game on Aug. 24, Grant took a direct snap in punt formation and ran 51 yards.

Grant finished the preseason as the leading rusher in the AFC with 191 yards on 22 carries — an average of 8.7 yards per carry bolstered by a 79-yard touchdown run against the New England Patriots on Aug. 10.

Grant finished Sunday’s game with 75 yards on six carries and an 18-yard reception, the longest of his NFL career.

FOR MORE OF AL.COM’S COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE OF THE NFL, GO TO OUR NFL PAGE

Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @AMarkG1

To hope or not to hope? Auburn finds out in only 6 days when Mississippi State visits – SECcountry.com


SECcountry.com

To hope or not to hope? Auburn finds out in only 6 days when Mississippi State visits
SECcountry.com
That's how long it will be before Mississippi State arrives on the Plains for one of the biggest games of Gus Malzahn's Auburn tenure. Before the season, of course, saying “the Mississippi State game will be one of the biggest of Gus Malzahn's Auburn
One Bad Performance does not Define a SeasonFor Whom the Cowbell Tolls



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GRADING OUT: Report card, game balls after Auburn’s 51-14 win at Missouri

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Grading Auburn’s performance and handing out game balls after a 51-14 rout of Missouri:

Auburn keys in on J’Mon Moore, locks down Missouri’s top receiver

Auburn's secondary put on a strong showing against Missouri's potent passing game and limited J'Mon Moore to just two receptions for 35 yards on Saturday.

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As Auburn prepared for its SEC opener against Missouri last week, Kevin Steele made one thing clear to his defense: They were not going to let J’Mon Moore beat them.

Moore, Missouri’s big-play threat and quarterback Drew Lock’s go-to receiver, was the focal point of Auburn’s defensive gameplan against Missouri. It paid off during Auburn’s 51-14 win Saturday night, as Moore was a nonfactor for most of the game and finished with just two receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown.

“He’s scary, and I know Kevin had a plan specifically for him to try not to let him beat us,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “(Steele) did a really good job switching up the coverage.”

Moore led the SEC in regular-season receiving yards a year ago, and he entered the game as Missouri’s leading receiver. Steele and defensive backs coach Greg Brown, who spent last season in the same position at Missouri, were both well aware of Moore’s ability and the threat he posed in the passing game.

If Lock could find Moore with consistency, it could have been a potentially long night for Auburn’s secondary. Steele was intent on not letting that happen this week.

“We just had to know where 6 was,” Auburn defensive back Jeremiah Dinson said. “Every time on the field we just seeing where 6 was (and) eyeing him out, keying him out. Like I said, I feel like we did a good job locking him down tonight, to be honest with you.”

Auburn defense forces 4 turnovers in rout of Missouri

Good might be an understatement. Saturday marked the first time Moore was held to just two catches in the last 11 months, the previous time being when he had two receptions against Kentucky on Oct. 22, 2016. He was also targeted on just three of Lock’s 39 attempts as Auburn’s cornerbacks put the screws to him and throughout the night and were content with the Missouri quarterback nickel and diming them with short passes to other receivers. 

“We played off a little bit more than we have,” Malzahn said. “Usually we’re up in people’s faces, pressing specifically on the outside, but we mixed it up and (Steele) was trying to take away what they did best. I thought he did a super job with the gameplan.”

Auburn’s secondary, particularly cornerback Carlton Davis — who was matched up with Moore for much of the night — made the 6-foot-3, 205-pound receiver a nonfactor in the game. Moore wasn’t targeted until the closing seconds of the first half, when Lock tried to find him on his 21st pass attempt of the game.

Moore didn’t even record his first reception until midway through the third quarter, when Lock found him for a 10-yard gain on first-and-10 at midfield. At that point, Auburn was already up 45-7.

Moore’s only other catch came in the fourth quarter, when Lock hooked up with him for a 25-yard touchdown that made it 51-14 with about 12 minutes to play. Auburn had already emptied its bench by then, with freshman cornerback Traivon Leonard and senior safety Nick Ruffin in coverage on the play.

Auburn’s gameplan forced Lock to try to find his rhythm with other receivers, but he didn’t have much success. The Missouri quarterback finished the game 23-of-39 for 216 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but he averaged just 5.5 yards per pass attempt — well below his season average of 9.6 yards per attempt.

Twelve of his 39 attempts went to Johnathon Johnson, the team’s No. 3 receiver who finished with 10 receptions for 85 yards. If Missouri was going to beat Auburn and its fifth-ranked passing defense on Saturday night, it wasn’t going to be due to Moore’s playmaking ability.

“We just watched a lot of film on (Moore),” Dinson said. “That’s Lock’s guy. We know 6 was the guy. We just want to be hands-on, physical with him. Moore is a good player but (we) just had a gameplan for him and I think we did a good job tonight.”

Auburn keys in on J’Mon Moore, locks down Missouri’s top receiver

Auburn’s secondary put on a strong showing against Missouri’s potent passing game and limited J’Mon Moore to just two receptions for 35 yards on Saturday.

Statistically speaking: Auburn improves across the board after pounding Missouri

Auburn saw improvement in nearly every statistical category after pounding Missouri 51-14 on Saturday.

Statistically speaking: Auburn improves across the board after pounding Missouri

Auburn saw improvement in nearly every statistical category after pounding Missouri 51-14 on Saturday.

Auburn saw improvement in nearly every statistical category after pounding Missouri 51-14 on Saturday.

No. 15 Auburn (3-1, 1-0 SEC) jumped to a season-high 5th in the SEC in passing after Jarrett Stidham threw for 218 yards with a touchdown.

Auburn leads the SEC in third-down conversions at 47 percent

Defensively, Auburn is in the top 3 of the SEC and top 20 nationally against the run, pass, total defense and scoring, with top 10 rankings in the latter two categories.

After posting four takeaways, Auburn’s turnover margin vastly improved from a week ago.

RUSHING OFFENSE
2013:
328.3 (1st, 1st)
2014
: 255.5 (2nd, 13th)
2015: 196.4 (5th, 35th)
2016: 271.3 (1st, 6th)
After Georgia Southern: 351.0 (2nd, 10th)
After Clemson: 194.5 (7th, 52nd)
After Mercer: 178.3 (8th, 61st)
2017: 199.5 (6th, 44th)
Why: Auburn ran for 263 yards on 53 carries with five touchdowns

PASSING OFFENSE
2013:
173.0 (11th, 106th)
2014
: 229.5 (7th, 66th)
2015: 173.6 (12th, 110th)
2016: 169.5 (14th, 112th)
After Georgia Southern: 184.0 (7th, 91st)
After Clemson: 131.5 (14th, 117th)
After Mercer: 209.0 (6th, 79th)
2017: 211.5 (5th, 80th)
Why: Auburn threw for 219 yards

PASS EFFICIENCY OFFENSE
2013: 149.63 (6th, 24th)
2014
: 156.79 (1st, 8th)
2015: 124.47 (10th, 79th)
2016: 135.17 (6th, 54th)
After Georgia Southern: 134.83 (9th, 67th)
After Clemson: 109.38 (12th, 108th)
After Mercer: 132.49 (10th, 73rd)
2017: 141.63 (7th, 51st)
Why: Jarrett Stidham was 13 of 17 with a touchdown and Malik Willis was 3 for 4 for one yard

TOTAL OFFENSE
2013:
501.3 (2nd, 11th)
2014
: 485.0 (2nd, 16th)
2015: 370.0 (10th, 94th)
2016: 440.8 (6th, 43rd)
After Georgia Southern: 535.0 (3rd, 26th)
After Clemson: 326.0 (12th, 106th)
After Mercer: 387.3 (8th, 83rd)
2017: 411.0 (6th, 67th)
Why: Auburn had 482 total yards

SCORING OFFENSE
2013:
39.5 (2nd, 12th)
2014
: 35.5 (4th, 35th)
2015: 27.5 (8th, 75th)
2016: 31.2 (6th, 49th)
After Georgia Southern: 41.0 (7th, 41st)
After Clemson: 23.5 (13th, 94th)
After Mercer: 23.7 (13th, 99th)
2017: 30.5 (7th, 66th)
Why: Auburn scored 51 points

SACKS ALLOWED
2013:
18 sacks, 1.29 per game (3rd, 22nd)
2014
: 15 sacks, 1.15 per game (3rd, 15th)
2015: 19 sacks, 1.46 per game (4th, 33rd)
2016: 19 sacks, 1.46 per game (3rd, 27th)
After Georgia Southern: 3 sacks, 3.0 per game (12th, 95th)
After Clemson: 14 sacks, 7.0 per game (14th, 129th)
After Mercer: 15 sacks, 5.0 per game (14th, 126th)
2017: 16 sacks, 4.0 per game (14th, 126th)
Why: Missouri had 1 sack

THIRD-DOWN CONVERSIONS
2013:
46.5 percent (4th, 24th)
2014
: 52.5 percent (1st, 2nd)
2015: 41.3 percent (6th, 49th)
2016: 41.8 percent (4th, 53rd)
After Georgia Southern: 37.5 percent (10th, 73rd)
After Clemson: 36.4 percent (10th, 85th)
After Mercer: 47.1 percent (2nd, 27th)
2017: 47.0 percent (1st, 20th)
Why: Auburn was 7 of 15 on third down

RED ZONE OFFENSE
2013:
88.5 percent (2nd, 21st)
2014
: 87.9 percent (4th, 31st)
2015: 90.2 percent (2nd, 13th)
2016: 85.5 percent (5th, 52nd)
After Georgia Southern: 100 percent (1st, 1st)
After Clemson: 100 percent (1st, 1st)
After Mercer: 83.3 percent (5th, 69th)
2017: 88.2 percent (4th, 52nd)
Why: Auburn had five touchdowns on five red zone trips

RUSHING DEFENSE
2013:
162.1 (10th, 62nd)
2014
: 168.8 (10th, 67th)
2015: 182.7 (11th, 81st)
2016: 132.8 (3rd, 27th)
After Georgia Southern: 70.0 (7th, 29th)
After Clemson: 84.5 (6th, 25th)
After Mercer: 88.7 (5th, 12th)
2017: 97.5 (3rd, 17th)
Why: Missouri had 124 rushing yards on 31 carries

PASSING DEFENSE
2013:
258.6 (13th, 100th)
2014
: 230.1 (12th, 68th)
2015: 222.5 (11th, 63rd)
2016: 229.2 (9th, 67th)
After Georgia Southern: 8.0 (1st, 2nd)
After Clemson: 96.5 (2nd, 8th)
After Mercer: 113.0 (3rd, 9th)
2017: 138.8 (3rd, 10th)
Why: Drew Lock threw for 216 yards

PASS EFFICIENCY DEFENSE
2013:
126.88 (9th, 63rd)
2014
: 124.19 (10th, 52nd)
2015: 116.99 (8th, 31st)
2016: 116.83 (4th, 22nd)
After Georgia Southern: 29.69 (1st, 2nd)
After Clemson: 95.53 (4th, 23rd)
After Mercer: 102.47 (5th, 26th)
2017: 107.68 (5th, 29th)
Why: Lock was 23 of 30 with two touchdowns and an interception

TOTAL DEFENSE
2013:
420.7 (12th, 86th)
2014
: 398.8 (9th, 64th)
2015: 405.2 (13th, 71st)
2016: 361.9 (5th, 28th)
After Georgia Southern: 78.0 (2nd, 3rd)
After Clemson: 181.0 (4th, 8th)
After Mercer: 201.7 (2nd, 2nd)
2017: 236.3 (1st, 4th)
Why: Missouri had 340 yards

SCORING DEFENSE
2013:
24.7 (9th, 48th)
2014
: 26.7 (10th, 62nd)
2015: 26.0 (11th, 54th)
2016: 17.1 (4th, 7th)
After Georgia Southern: 7.0 (4th, 15th)
After Clemson: 10.5 (4th, 13th)
After Mercer: 10.3 (3rd, 11th)
2017: 11.3 (2nd, 7th)
Why: Missouri scored 14 points

SACKS
2013:
32 sacks, 2.29 per game (4th, 46th)
2014
: 21 sacks, 1.62 per game (11th, 95th)
2015: 19 sacks, 1.46 per game (13th, 104th)
2016: 25 sacks, 1.92 per game (8th, 75th)
After Georgia Southern: 6 sacks, 6.0 per game (1st, 3rd)
After Clemson: 10 sacks, 5 per game (2nd, 6th)
After Mercer: 10 sacks, 3.33 per game (1st, 12th)
2017: 12 sacks, 3.0 per game (3rd, 18th)
Why: Auburn had two sacks

THIRD-DOWN DEFENSE
2013:
33.0 percent (1st, 13th)
2014
: 36.0 percent (4th, 29th)
2015: 44.9 percent (13th, 109th)
2016: 34.8 percent (4th, 25th)
After Georgia Southern: 0.0 percent (1st, 1st)
After Clemson: 29.0 percent (6th, 41st)
After Mercer: 30.6 percent (6th, 36th)
2017: 30.6 percent (4th, 32nd)
Why: Missouri was 4 of 13 on third down

RED ZONE DEFENSE
2013:
73.1 percent (2nd, 10th)
2014
: 74.1 percent (4th, 13th)
2015: 75.5 percent (5th, 15th)
2016: 74.4 percent (3rd, 11th)
After Georgia Southern: 0.0 percent (1st, 1st)
After Clemson: 50.0 percent (2nd, 9th)
After Mercer: 75.0 percent (5th, 35th)
2017: 80.0 percent (7th, 54th)
Why: Missouri scored a touchdown on its lone red zone trip

NET PUNTING
2013:
40.54 (2nd, 9th)
2014
: 37.44 (12th, 67th)
2015: 37.58 (7th, 54th)
2016: 39.90 (5th, 21st)
After Georgia Southern: 42.0 (6th, 34th)
After Clemson: 38.78 (11th, 64th)
After Mercer: 38.36 (11th, 71st)
2017: 38.57 (11th, 62nd)
Why: Ian Shannon had three punts for 39.3 yards per

KICK RETURNS
2013:
23.40 (5th, 27th)
2014
: 20.03 (11th, 82nd)
2015: 27.94 (2nd, 4th)
2016: 19.04 (12th, 100th)
After Georgia Southern: 29.0 (4th, 21st)
After Clemson: 21.33 (10th, 60th)
After Mercer: 18.00 (13th, 94th)
2017: 18.60 (13th, 96th)
Why: Noah Igbinoghene had an 21-yard return

KICK RETURN DEFENSE
2013:
25.79 (14th, 121st)
2014
: 21.73 (9th, 84th)
2015: 21.17 (12th, 61st)
2016: 18.00 (1st, 13th)
After Georgia Southern: 15.0 (6th, 23rd)
After Clemson: 18.0 (6th, 43rd)
After Mercer: 18.0 (5th, 34th)
2017: 19.0 (6th, 49th)
Why: Missouri had a 21-yard kickoff return

PUNT RETURNS
2013:
11.78 (2nd, 22nd)
2014
: 17.82 yards per return (1st, 4th)
2015: 11.93 yards per return (7th, 28th)
2016: 10.69 (5th, 24th)
After Georgia Southern: 6.0 (6th, 55th)
After Clemson: 15.5 (2nd, 19th)
After Mercer: 11.14 (6th, 34th)
2017: 9.88 (8th, 40th)
Why: Stephen Roberts returned one punt for one yard

PUNT RETURN DEFENSE
2013:
7.0 (8th, 51st)
2014
: 7.79 (10th, 72nd)
2015: 12.43 (11th, 110th)
2016: 3.17 (1st, 8th)
After Georgia Southern: 0 (2nd, 10th)
After Clemson: 4.25 (8th, 58th)
After Mercer: 4.25 (6th, 50th)
2017: 4.25 (6th, 41st)
Why: Missouri had no punt returns

TURNOVER MARGIN
2013:
even, 0.0 per game (9th, 61st)
2014
: plus-seven, 0.54 per game (4th, 27th)
2015: plus-two, 0.15 per game (8th, 51st)
2016: plus-three, plus-0.23 per game (6th, 42nd)
After Georgia Southern: minus-two, minus-2.0 per game (13th, 105th)
After Clemson: zero, 0.0 per game (9th, 63rd)
After Mercer: minus-five, minus-1.67 per game (13th, 119th)
2017: minus-one, minus-0.25 per game (9th, 74th)
Why: Auburn had an interception and recovered three fumbles with one giveaways

PENALTY YARDS PER GAME
2013:
40.64 (7th 30th)
2014
: 68.92 (14th, 112th)
2015: 46.38 (7th, 34th)
2016: 36.54 (1st, 6th)
After Georgia Southern: 42.0 (5th, 44th)
After Clemson: 42.5 (7th, 40th)
After Mercer: 49.0 (9th, 50th)
2017: 49.25 (10th, 52nd)
Why: Auburn committed five penalties for 50 yards

James Crepea is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @JamesCrepea.

Three takeaways from Auburn’s 51-14 win at Missouri

COLUMBIA, Mo. — No. 15 Auburn kicked off SEC play with a bang Saturday, running away with a 51-14 rout of Missouri at Faurot Field.

Grading Auburn’s 51-14 win against Missouri

AL.com grades each position group for Auburn in its 51-14 win against Missouri to open SEC play.

Grading Auburn’s 51-14 win against Missouri

AL.com grades each position group for Auburn in its 51-14 win against Missouri to open SEC play.

Kamryn Pettway held out against Missouri due to ankle injury suffered against Mercer

Auburn managed to rush for more yards and touchdowns than any of Missouri's prior four opponents and it did so without its best running back.

Watch video

Auburn managed to rush for more yards and touchdowns than any of Missouri’s prior four opponents and it did so without its best running back.

Kamryn Pettway was dressed out but did not play in No. 15 Auburn’s 51-14 mauling of Missouri at Memorial Stadium in Columbia on Saturday due to a left ankle injury he suffered a week earlier.

“He wasn’t 100 percent,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “It was kind of one of those deals that if he wasn’t going to be 100 percent we were going to go with the other guys that were. We’ll see how he is this week.”

Malzahn said the injury to Pettway, whose left ankle was heavily taped and who Auburn radio indicated had a “noticeable limp” during pregame warmups, occurred during the win against Mercer, when he had 34 carries for 128 yards and three touchdowns as the only running back to get a carry.

With the benefit of hindsight, Malzahn still was not concerned about the personnel decision the week earlier to give Pettway all the carries at running back against an FCS team.

“I mean we already beat that dead horse,” he said. “We played him last week and we thought we had to do that to win the game.”

In place of Pettway, Kerryon Johnson led Auburn’s running game with 18 carries for 48 yards and a career-high five touchdowns. He and six other players combined for 53 carries for 263 yards.

Johnson, who missed the previous two games due to a hamstring injury he suffered in the season opener, said he learned Pettway wasn’t going to play once the game began.

“They kind of keep those things hidden from me, too, and I think that’s a good thing,” said Johnson, who tied for the most rushing scores in the FBS this season. “He’s had to carry a heavy load the past two weeks, and that’s partially my fault for being out. Any time we can give somebody rest, that’s good.”

Sophomore Kam Martin made the most of his first carries since the season opener, when he had a career performance. Martin had nine carries for 74 yards, all in the second and third quarters, with a long of 47 yards.

Redshirt-freshman Malik Miller had nine carries for 40 yards, all in the fourth quarter, and true freshman Devan Barrett had a carry for no gain and one-yard catch.

“We’ve been banged up. It’s almost a repeat of last year where we kind of had to make shift some things a year ago,” running backs coach Tim Horton said during a postgame radio interview. “Pettway was not able to play (Saturday) night and KJ was back and did some good things. The other thing that I think we learned is Malik Miller and Kam Martin and Devan Barrett can step in there and do an admirable job. So that’s going to help us a lot in the long run.”

James Crepea is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @JamesCrepea.

Kamryn Pettway held out against Missouri due to ankle injury suffered after against Mercer

Auburn managed to rush for more yards and touchdowns than any of Missouri's prior four opponents and it did so without its best running back.

Watch video

Auburn managed to rush for more yards and touchdowns than any of Missouri’s prior four opponents and it did so without its best running back.

Kamryn Pettway was dressed out but did not play in No. 15 Auburn’s 51-14 mauling of Missouri at Memorial Stadium in Columbia on Saturday due to a left ankle injury he suffered a week earlier.

“He wasn’t 100 percent,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “It was kind of one of those deals that if he wasn’t going to be 100 percent we were going to go with the other guys that were. We’ll see how he is this week.”

Malzahn said the injury to Pettway, whose left ankle was heavily taped and who Auburn radio indicated had a “noticeable limp” during pregame warmups, occurred the win against Mercer, when he had 34 carries for 128 yards and three touchdowns as the only running back to get a carry.

With the benefit of hindsight, Malzahn still was not concerned about the personnel decision the week earlier to give Pettway all the carries at running back against an FCS team.

“I mean we already beat that dead horse,” he said. “We played him last week and we thought we had to do that to win the game.”

In place of Pettway, Kerryon Johnson led Auburn’s running game with 18 carries for 48 yards and a career-high five touchdowns. He and six other players combined for 53 carries for 263 yards.

Johnson, who missed the previous two games due to a hamstring injury he suffered in the season opener, said he learned Pettway wasn’t going to play once the game began.

“They kind of keep those things hidden from me, too, and I think that’s a good thing,” said Johnson, who tied for the most rushing scores in the FBS this season. “He’s had to carry a heavy load the past two weeks, and that’s partially my fault for being out. Any time we can give somebody rest, that’s good.”

Sophomore Kam Martin made the most of his first carries since the season opener, when he had a career performance. Martin had nine carries for 74 yards, all in the second and third quarters, with a long of 47 yards.

Redshirt-freshman Malik Miller had nine carries for 40 yards, all in the fourth quarter, and true freshman Devan Barrett had a carry for no gain and one-yard catch.

“We’ve been banged up. It’s almost a repeat of last year where we kind of had to make shift some things a year ago,” running backs coach Tim Horton said during a postgame radio interview. “Pettway was not able to play (Saturday) night and KJ was back and did some good things. The other thing that I think we learned is Malik Miller and Kam Martin and Devan Barrett can step in there and do an admirable job. So that’s going to help us a lot in the long run.”

James Crepea is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @JamesCrepea.

Kamryn Pettway held out against Missouri due to ankle injury suffered against Mercer

Auburn managed to rush for more yards and touchdowns than any of Missouri’s prior four opponents and it did so without its best running back.

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