Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Auburn Takes Care of Business Against Samford

The Auburn Tigers did what was expected Saturday night and took care of business against the Samford Bulldogs. The Tigers 45-13 victory over the FCS program puts them at 3-0 as they prepare to head into the SEC schedule. They were led in the game by quarterback Payton Thorne who put up some stellar numbers. Thorne passed for 282 yards and one touchdown, plus 123 yards on the ground with two more scores. Turnovers were an issue again with the Tigers giving the ball back three times. Two were interceptions thrown by Thorne. The defense once again did well and kept the Bulldogs’ passing attack limited. Samford only totaled 218 yards and was picked off twice.

Auburn Takes Care of Business Against Samford

Scoreless First Quarter

Despite both teams being able to move the ball in the opening quarter, neither could find the endzone. For Auburn, they could not get out of their own way. After Auburn forced a punt on the opening possession, the Tigers went on a 15-play drive that took up 5:07 off the clock. The drive set the tone for the game that Auburn was going to air it out. 12 of the plays were passing, but Thorne looked in rhythm early. The three runs on the possession were all to Jarquez Hunter for 17 yards. He led all running backs with 37 and one touchdown. The drive though stalled on the one-yard line when the Tigers went with three straight passes. On third and goal, Thorne rolled out and when no one was open he attempted to force a pass. It was intercepted by Jaden Mosley off a tip.

Auburn Continues to Stop Themselves

The Tigers opened the quarter with the ball on a drive that carried over from the first. Again, Auburn could not get out of their own way. The Tigers got to Samford 19 and faced a fourth and one. Running back Damari Alston was pushed back for a one-yard loss for a turnover on downs. Auburn showed early they could not be stopped unless they stopped themselves.

Auburn would then force another Samford punt and find the endzone for the first time. They found it quickly too. The three-play drive ended when Thorne found Shane Hooks for a 32-yard touchdown with 9:31 left until halftime. The play before, Omari Kelly hauled in a 40-yard pass to get Auburn to the Samford 32. Both teams then traded interceptions. After Auburn put pressure on Samford quarterback Michael HiersJ.D. Rhym outfought receiver D.J. Rias for the ball at the Samford 46. Three plays later Thorne was picked off after forcing the ball deep into double coverage. Auburn went three verticals on the play but had Jyaire Shorter wide open for an easy first down.

With 6:09 in the second, Hiers threw a pass over the middle that was picked off by Jaylin Simpson to set the Tigers up at the 24. Simpson stepped in front of the pass to get his second interception of the season. In six plays Auburn found the endzone off a five-yard run from Thorne to put them up 14-0 with 3:04 remaining. This was the drive where the offense started to feature the running ability of the transfer quarterback. They would close out the half with a 22-yard field goal by Alex McPherson with 41 seconds left until halftime. A 41-yard pass to tight end Rivaldo Fairweather set up the kick.

Auburn Pulls Away in the Second Half

Going into halftime it felt like Auburn should have been up more than 30, and not just the 17-0 lead they possessed. They opened the third with a 13-play, 76-yard drive that took up 6:35 off the clock. It ended with a one-yard touchdown run by Robby Ashford to put them up 24-0. That was the first appearance of Ashford in the game. The quarterback rotation they had used the first two weeks was mostly nonexistent. The big play of the drive was a 20-yard catch by Jay Fair on a second-and-five play. He led all Tigers receivers with 93 yards on seven catches.

After Samford got on the board finally, Auburn answered back. Thorne rushed for a 38-yard gain that at first looked like a touchdown. A review showed he did not make it, but Hunter capped it off with a one-yard touchdown. With 4:29 in the third, the Tigers led 31-7.

Auburn made their final miscue of the evening when they forced another Samford punt. Hugh Freeze was trying Fair out as punt returning, and it did not work. Fair muffed the punt, and the Bulldogs got the ball at the Auburn nine-yard line. Three plays later Hiers would run it in for three yards to cut into the Tigers lead 31-13 with 57 seconds left in the third. Auburn added two more scores in the fourth to close out the game. Thorne scored on an 18-yard touchdown run, and Ashford found Micah Riley for a 32-yard touchdown pass.

Final Thoughts

It was a game that the Tigers needed after struggling against Cal the week prior. In that 14-10-win, Auburn showed inconsistencies on offense and could not find a rhythm. Auburn needed to take care of business against Samford. Staying with Thorne at quarterback gave them that consistency, and it equaled a big performance. Turnovers are still an issue though with three on the evening. That is seven in two weeks and will cost them games in the SEC if not corrected. The defense has remained consistent and has been a bright spot each week. That unit will get tested in week four against an improved Texas A&M offense.

Photo Credit: Mickey Welsh / Advertiser / USA TODAY NETWORK


More Posts

Nebraska Over Louisiana Tech

With Nebraska’s 28-14 win over Sonny Cumbie and the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, the Big Red has now improved to 2-0 in Memorial Stadium and 2-2 in the Matt

Send Us A Message