Yesterday’s win was the third straight game that Auburn’s scored 44+ points in SEC play, and despite the sluggish action on both sides of the ball down the stretch, it ended up being the third straight conference win by three touchdowns or more.
Not bad for an 11 AM kickoff against a team that came in trying to save face after losing by 63 the week before.
Auburn now sits at 5-1 overall, and 3-0 in the SEC, tied atop the West with Alabama. After the polls came out earlier today, we learned that the Tigers are also now a top ten team (#10 in the AP Poll, #11 in the Coaches Poll), and they’ve got a chance to move up even more next weekend, since a win in Baton Rouge would likely hold solid weight no matter the quality of the Bayou Bengals.
That’s several days away, though. Let’s focus on now. Check out the highlights from yesterday.
PLAY OF THE GAME
This one’s pretty easy. After the Tigers marched down the field and scored on their first drive of the game, they allowed a field goal to Ole Miss and held a 7-3 lead heading into their second possession. First-and-ten at the 25, Jarrett Stidham flared a quick screen pass to the short side of the field for Ryan Davis, who got a great block from Austin Golson to spring him into the open field down the sideline.
After that, it was just a matter of turning on the jets and using his blockers to cut across the field for Auburn’s longest play of the season, a 75-yard touchdown. It gave the Tigers a 14-3 lead and they never looked back.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
There was a lot to be excited about in the first half on offense, as the Tigers ran out to a 35-3 halftime lead, scoring on their first five drives of the game. Ryan Davis had the huge catch-and-run, Jarrett Stidham played one of the most efficient halves you’ll see, and the Tigers racked up almost 400 yards of offense before halftime.
None of that compared to what was happening in the run game with Kerryon Johnson, adding to what’s been an incredible three weeks to begin SEC play.
Johnson had 159 yards on just 16 carries, and three touchdowns to go along with it. He finished with 204 yards on the ground, 230 overall, and those three scores to give him 12 on the season, and 11 in the last three games alone.
Right now, through six games (only four of which he’s played in), Johnson’s got 504 yards rushing, he’s averaging 5.9 yards per carry with 12 touchdowns (tied for the national lead). He compares well in the rushing category with Saquon Barkley, although Barkley has an incredible receiving stat line and he does everything else as well. Overall, pretty easy choice for our player of the game on offense.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
We’ve got a bit of a sour taste in our mouths from the defensive effort at the end of yesterday’s game, but for the third straight week, it was our backups going against starters as the Rebels tried to save face at the end. In the first half, Ole Miss threw for 186 yards, but very few of them were actually meaningful, and they only ran for 18 yards. We knew the Rebel run game was lacking, and the Tiger defense kept it that way from start until late in the contest. The guy doing most up front to contain the big plays, and to hold Shea Patterson in the pocket was defensive tackle Derrick Brown. Brown finished yesterday’s game with six tackles, including two TFLs, and a half sack as well. The first team played magnificently through the first half, and with the game on ice basically as soon as the second half began, I won’t fault them too much for easing up.
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Duh. Just the SEC’s all-time leading scorer!
Daniel Carlson scored 14 points yesterday with three field goals and five extra points to give him 413 for his career. That pushed him past Blair Walsh for the all-time mark in the SEC. That’s impressive, considering he’s not even close to being done yet. The Tigers have minimum seven games left (we’re not missing a bowl game), and if things go according to plan, as many as nine games left.
If the offense continues to improve like it has been doing each week, there’s no reason to believe they won’t average five touchdowns a game and a couple of field goals on the side. That could be as many as 10-11 points per game for Carlson the rest of the way. If he does hit that mark, he could end up with close to 500 points, which would be a very difficult mark to hit in the future.
Baton Rouge next weekend, people. We’re looking for our first win there this millennium, so let’s do everything we can to make sure that happens. Until then, War Eagle.