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Game Superlatives: Auburn 21, Washington 16

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Who showed out for Auburn yesterday? Plenty of dudes.

NCAA Football: Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game-Auburn at Washington Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

What were the big wins in college football yesterday?

Notre Dame took down Michigan 24-17 at home.

Maryland took care of Texas 34-29 to sweep the Longhorns in two straight seasons.

Nicholls (State) proved that Kansas is still very bad.

Still, no disrespect to the Irish, Terps, or uh... coins... but there was one win that’s head and shoulders above anyone else’s effort in Week One.

Here are the comments from Gus, Jarrett Stidham, and Darrell Williams after the game, courtesy of AL.com.

QUICK TAKES:

  • Red zone questions off the bat, Gus says that CHIP CALLED THE GOOD PLAY with Boobee Whitlow’s touchdown, so we can put that to bed.
  • Gus starts his talk about the offensive line by talking about how good UW’s defensive line is, so there’s that.
  • He says the answers they got from the win were 1) winning close games that we didn’t last year 2) overcoming adversity 3) leaders seizing the moment.
  • New guys — Boobee got to be the guy in the moment with the touchdown and the late Wildcat third-down conversion, and Noah Igbinoghene earned the respect of the Washington offense and special teams.
  • Darrell Williams said that while Auburn struggled at times on defense, the important things — red zone and third down defense — were pretty solid.
  • Quick corrections from Gus moving forward — penalties (12 for 111 and they negated some big plays), but those are easier to correct after a win.
  • Jarrett Stidham “I’m not gonna be Cam Newton bustin’ 80 down the sideline” but he mentions that he was able to use his legs to his advantage and when needed today.
  • Both players mention the different vibe in playing at the Benz for the third time. I imagine the home crowd for Auburn really helped yesterday.
  • Jarrett says he didn’t really know what he was getting himself into at the same time last year, but he matured quickly and he’s much more prepared as a person and a leader and a quarterback.
  • Gus assesses Kaleb Kim’s performance, talks about clean snaps throughout the game, Jarrett mentions that he practiced against the best every day.
  • Someone says that our biggest plays down the stretch came from Boobee, Big Kat, and Smoke. Good observation.
  • Then there’s a question about the CoxCat with Chandler Cox throwing the ball, Gus says “Yeah, we thought it was going to work. We’re gonna be aggressive this year, that’s how it’s going to go down.”

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME

This one’s tough, and I think I’m going to go with someone who wasn’t electric by any stretch, but who was solid and smooth for Auburn yesterday. That’s Jarrett Stidham.

26-36, 273 yards, 1 TD, no turnovers. That’s against a legitimate top ten defense that returned nine starters. In the first quarter alone, Stidham hit seven different receivers, including freshman Seth Williams and “tight end” Sal Cannella. He spread the ball around, confused the Washington defense early, and helped Auburn build a lead that it would need.

You could see the improvement from this time last year, and even the last two games in this building. He didn’t panic, and avoided what should’ve been a fair few sacks (Washington only got two during the game), turning those broken plays into positive yardage with his feet.

Auburn faced a defensive secondary that has actual preseason All-Americans on it, and Stidham’s sheet was clean. Overall, he hit nine different receivers, and led the game-winning touchdown drive in the end. While the running game was struggling, he made the offense go.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME

This one’s a little tougher. Jamel Dean had the early interception, Nick Coe got the big forced fumble on the goal line to prevent a Washington score, and Smoke Monday got in on the rush on the final fourth down play, but I’m going with a guy that kept it together when things were teetering.

Jake Browning was trusting his receivers to make some big time catches yesterday, and they obliged, snagging literally everything that came their way. While he had some balls completed on him, he stuffed the stat sheet and came up with some big plays when needed.

Jeremiah Dinson racked up 7 tackles, 1 sack, 1.5 TFLS, and a pass breakup. This from a guy that’s been riddled with injuries during his entire career, and I think yesterday was the first time in quite a while that we saw him get back up to nearly full speed and play like we know he’s capable of doing.

This category needs a second entry as well, so we’re going with Dontavius Russell. He’s the guy that doesn’t get nearly the pub as his tackle mate Derrick Brown, but he was a monster yesterday in the middle. 3 tackles, 1 sack, 2 TFLs, and that classic rumble down the field on the fourth down sack (incompletion) of Browning. Gus took note, maybe Russell will get a carry at some point this season...

PLAY OF THE GAME

We’re piggybacking off of the defensive player of the game section here.

Auburn settled back for 99% of the game on defense and let Browning have time to pick apart the secondary. The receivers were tearing us apart and we finally decided to hassle the Husky (not fat) quarterback with some real pressure. On third down with two minutes to play, Big Kat Bryant got in for a big sack, but on fourth and 14, Steele sent EVERYONE.

It worked, and Smoke Monday took Browning down in the backfield. He lost the ball, and Russell hilariously rumbled downfield. After a review, it was just an incomplete pass, but a turnover nonetheless. Still, it all but clinched the game for Auburn.

HONORABLE MENTION

  • Sal Cannella’s fancy touchdown catch on the opening drive.
  • Anders Carlson calmly banging through a 53-yard field goal.
  • Jamel Dean getting an interception (LOOKS LIKE HE TURNED HIS HEAD THIS TIME, NAYSAYERS).

Hey, Auburn’s 1-0, with Alabama State next Saturday night (fall weather incoming?), and we should be 2-0 with a good warmup out of the way for LSU in two weeks. How are ya feelin’, Gus?

Same.

War Eagle!