Auburn beat Mercer yesterday, but nobody’s really happy about it. The optimists will tell you “well, without the turnovers we would’ve won by several touchdowns and we’d all be happy!” They’re correct that we would’ve won by several touchdowns, and we probably should’ve still won by several touchdowns even while committing the turnovers that we did.
The offense gained 510 yards, but couldn’t finish drives, couldn’t run the ball, still had receivers not really getting open as easily as they should, and still got Jarrett Stidham harassed a bit in the pocket. None of those things should’ve happened against Mercer, and that’s the end of the story.
While we can chalk it up to the coaching staff trying some new things in the passing game (there was a definite emphasis on throwing the ball), and not playing anyone that needed to be played, it was still a mess. That said, here are our players of the game...
It’s hard not to go with Jarrett Stidham since he hit a couple of really high marks in the win yesterday. Most of the miscues weren’t related to him at all, and his lone turnover (an interception) can likely be laid at the feet of Nate Craig-Myers, who could’ve run through the route a bit harder.
Stidham’s passing numbers were pretty good, no matter who you’re playing against. He went 32-37 through the air for 367 yards, with no touchdowns and the lone interception. He seemed to be able to fit the ball into tiny windows and behind some of his tosses, the Tigers converted 12-17 third downs.
I hope that this performance got him into a rhythm with the receivers, but we’ll likely have to wait until next weekend for the SEC opener to really find out.
Once again, there were a ton of guys who made plays in yesterday’s game, from freshmen to seniors. Traivon Leonard and Big Kat Bryant both made key stops late, while Byron Cowart also had a big day, along with the usual suspects in guys like Tre’ Williams, who was tied for the team lead for tackles with six on the afternoon.
But, we’re going to hand this one to Jeremiah Dinson, who also recorded six tackles on the day. He was all over the field and really had a good performance to confirm that he’s back after pretty much rebuilding his knee after that hit against Texas A&M two seasons ago.
PLAY OF THE GAME
We’ll give this one not to one actual snap, but more of a formation. Without the WildKam formation, our run game would’ve taken quite a hit. Kam Pettway scored thrice out of the Wildcat that’s been altered to fit his style a bit more, and it gave Auburn a new wrinkle in the offense. Each of the Tigers’ touchdowns came out of the WildKam, and we needed all of them.
How much we’ll see this formation moving forward is open to interpretation, since it was likely more expected that Kerryon Johnson would be the guy to trigger the Wildcat, but in his absence they gave that responsibility to Pettway.
All in all, it at least gives opposing teams something to think about, but I haven’t seen the Wildcat run well in quite a while at Auburn, so as long as we don’t take out a hot quarterback just to run it, I can tolerate it.
Auburn hits the road again this week, so many of the questions that were raised against our Homecoming FCS opponent will need to be addressed immediately. Our next home game comes against a team that looks like they may have jumped up the top of the SEC, so we’ll need to be ready.