On Saturday night, the Alabama State Hornets were no match for the Auburn Tigers. In the first meeting between the two schools, Auburn defeated the Hornets 63-9 in a game that saw action from many Tigers. The Auburn Freshmen lead the way by totaling 457 of the 568 yards.
Tigers Start Slowly
Unlike in the previous game, Auburn got off to a bit of a slow start against the Hornets. In Auburn’s first possession they went three and out. That was followed by a JaTarvious Whitlow fumble while driving into Alabama State territory with 12:29 left in the first quarter. The first play after the fumble Alabama State quarterback Darryl Pearson Jr. hit receiver Dieuly Aristilde Jr. for a 51-yard play to set up the Hornets at the Auburn 30. Alabama State was not able to advance the ball for a first down. They settled for a 43-yard field goal attempt that was missed by kicker Hunter Hanson.
Auburn Freshmen Lead The Way
When the offense did get going, it was the running game that led the way. This was a concern in the previous game against Washington. Auburn had a total of 147 yards and a 3.3 yards per carry average against the Huskies. In that game, they were led by Kam Martin with 80 yards. In game two, it was a completely different story.
Auburn rushed for a total of 429 yards with an average carry of 7.3 yards. Now, this is against what would be lesser competition from a talent standpoint. With that said, the improvement is nothing but positive. Freshmen Whitlow and Shaun Shivers led the way with a combined 239 yards.
One freshman that Auburn fans have been excited to see on the field is speedy receiver, Anthony Schwartz. Schwartz was a silver medalist at the U20 World Championships in the 100 Meters over the summer, and he without a doubt showed off that speed on Saturday. Schwartz combined for a total of 117 yards with one touchdown rushing and receiving.
Short Night For Stidham
It would turn out to be a very short night for Jarrett Stidham. Stidham was pulled from the game around 5:00 left in the second quarter and Malik Miller entered the game. Stidham went six for eleven with 113 yards with one passing touchdown. The highlight was a 57-yard touchdown pass to Schwartz that would put Auburn up 14-0 late in the first quarter.
Miller and newcomer Cord Sandberg received playing time in relief for Stidham. Both only went for a combined two of three with 25 yards, but Sandberg contributed to the ground game when he entered. Sandberg had 35 yards on 3 carries. Joey Gatewood did not see action due to an thumb injury.
Defense and Special Teams Making Plays
Auburn has been trying to find ways to get Devan Barrett involved with the offense in many ways. On Saturday night, he got himself involved in a big way. With 7:42 left in the second quarter Jordyn Peters broke through to block an Anthony Craven punt. Barrett was there to scoop it up for his first touchdown as an Auburn Tiger.
The big star for Auburn on the defensive side was safety Daniel Thomas with two interceptions. It was the first time a Tiger had multiple interceptions in one game since Thomas did so against Alabama in 2016. When Auburn went up 14-0 after the Schwartz touchdown, Thomas added to the score when he intercepted Pearson for a 29-yard touchdown return. The second interception for Thomas came with 7:35 in the second to set Auburn up inside the 30. That led another Schwartz touchdown to put the Tigers up 42-0. Jamien Sherwood chipped in with an interception late in the fourth quarter.
On a night when most things went Auburn’s way, turnovers were the one negative from the performance. Auburn lost four fumbles on the night, and three from the running backs. Also, Auburn gave up a safety late in the first half when Willis was sacked in the end zone.
Next week Auburn stays home for a big SEC matchup with LSU. LSU comes into the contest 2-0, and it should be a clash of top ten teams.