The “Age of Bubba” was too brief. The Tigers entered the 2016 season with a ton of questions at the running back spot after a max exodus in the offseason. Peyton Barber had surprisingly gone pro, Roc Thomas had transferred to Jacksonville State and Jovon Robinson had been kicked off the team. All of a sudden, Auburn had no depth at running back.
So that spring the coaching staff got creative and allowed fullbacks Chandler Cox and Kamryn Pettway to take reps at RB. It didn’t take long till there was some buzz about the power of Pettway. Still, the job was all Kerryon Johnson’s and I don’t think many people expected Pettway to offer more than the occasional backup carry. That proved even more true when Pettway was not given a carry in the season opener vs Clemson. But things started changing quickly.
Pettway went for 152 yards the next week against Arkansas State and followed that effort up with 123 in a loss to the Texas A&M Aggies. It really wasn’t until a trip to Starkville though when he really took over. With Kerryon Johnson banged up, it became the Bubba show and he didn’t disappoint. The big man carried the ball a whopping 39 times against the Bulldogs, racking up 169 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Tigers new RB star had been born.
But his best performance was probably in the wild offensive slugfest October 29th, 2016. Auburn traveled to Oxford to take on the always explosive Rebels lead by holy man Hugh Freeze. A total of 69 points (nice) were scored that night with a late interception by Josh Holsey proving the difference. The first touchdown of the evening for the Tigers, however, was Pettway at his best.
There have been better backs than Pettway. Guys with more speed, quickness and agility. Guys with better vision or instincts. But you would be hard pressed to find a more physically dominating runner for the Tigers than Kamryn Pettway. When he was at his best, he would physically demoralize a defense and it felt like it was a matter of time before their will would break.
Sadly, injuries and off field issues cut Pettway’s Auburn career short and given the fact he hasn’t caught on anywhere in the NFL yet, his football career in general. I can’t help but imagine what last year would have looked like with a true 1-2 punch of Johnson and Pettway. We got at taste of it vs Arkansas but man it would have been nice to have the big man in Atlanta in November....
If you wanna relive that wild night, check out the video below. Who knew this would be the last time ever we would see a healthy Sean White and Kamryn Pettway in the backfield together...
41 days till kickoff! War Eagle!