Let’s tell you the truth. Auburn looked bad against Southern Miss today. Maybe it’s a function of a Golden Eagle team that’s not terrible, but it’s most likely a combination of mistakes on offense that led to another sluggish performance early this season. Either way, Auburn won 24-13 to improve to 4-1 just in time for a road trip to Starkville, but injuries on the offensive line and at running back pose a ton of questions heading into next weekend.
The first quarter began like Auburn fans wouldn’t have wanted to see on offense — with a three-and-out — but the Tigers recovered a muffed punt snap on Southern Miss’ second drive at the Golden Eagle 33. Things didn’t change much as the offense went backward thanks to two penalties and had to punt from the USM 40, where Javaris Davis downed the ball at the three.
After a three-and-out by Southern Miss, Auburn got the ball near midfield again, and it took just two plays before Jarrett Stidham lobbed up a deep ball that Seth Williams plucked out of the air for a 46-yard score to put the Tigers up 7-0. It was Williams’ first career touchdown. Jeremiah Dinson intercepted a pass on the Golden Eagles’ next drive, but Auburn went backward on offense thanks to penalties on the offensive line and had to punt from inside their own ten.
Southern Miss managed to get close enough for a 43-yard field goal two minutes into the second quarter, but the next drive for Auburn turned out to be the best of the half. The Tigers went 73 yards in thirteen plays, mixing the run and the pass, and capped it with a six-yard Anthony Schwartz jet sweep touchdown run for a 14-3 lead.
IT WAS THEN THAT THERE WAS A LIGHTNING DELAY.
Surely, there’s no coincidence that we Anthony “Flash” Schwartz scores a touchdown that was immediately followed by a lightning delay, but everyone had to vacate the field with 4:27 left in the second quarter.
After the delay, neither team scored and halftime ensued. In the third quarter, Auburn started slowly, but pieced together a nice drive that included a 53-yard pass to Darius Slayton. The drive finished with a 2-yard touchdown to Chandler Cox to put Auburn up 21-6.
As the fourth quarter started, Southern Miss didn’t go away, and had moved into Tiger territory. They’d find the end zone for the first time on a 13-yard touchdown pass to Quez Watkins, cutting the margin to just eight at 21-13. After that, Auburn went backward on its next drive and Southern Miss got possession in Auburn territory with a chance to tie, but the Tiger defense forced a three-and-out with ten minutes left to play.
After another three-and-out, Southern Miss sacked Stidham and forced a fumble with 5:40 to go, giving them another shot near midfield. Auburn then took the turnover right back with a tipped interception by Christian Tutt that gave the Tigers the ball at the USM 25. Auburn went on a six-play, 19-yard drive that ended with a short field goal to take a 24-13 lead with two minutes to play, and that’s how it ended.
There’s a lot to be said for the injuries that Auburn sustained in this game on the offensive line and at running back (already the most unproven positions on the team), but the defense played exceptionally well outside of one drive in the second half. There are major questions about the offensive line’s ability to protect Jarrett Stidham, and Stidham’s faith in the protection he does get. We’ll see if things improve in time for a Mississippi State team that’s reeling at the moment.
- Total Yards: 341
- Passing Yards: 245
- Rushing Yards: 96
- Penalties: 9-78
- Third Down: 5-16
- Total Yards: 260
- Passing Yards: 215
- Rushing Yards: 45
- Penalties: 7-46
- Third Down: 2-13
AUBURN: Jarrett Stidham - 19-33, 245 yards, 2 TDs
SOUTHERN MISS: Jack Abraham - 30-44, 215 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs
AUBURN: Kam Martin - 24 carries, 90 yards; Boobee Whitlow - 4 carries, 23 yards
AUBURN: Darius Slayton - 5 catches, 90 yards; Seth Williams - 2 catches, 60 yards, 1 TD
SOUTHERN MISS: Jaylond Adama - 8 catches, 47 yards; Quez Watkins - 5 catches, 48 yards, 1 TD
AUBURN: Deshaun Davis - 10 tackles, 2 TFLs; Darrell Williams - 9 tackles, 2.5 TFLs; Jeremiah Dinson - 4 tackles, 0.5 TFLs, 1 INT; Derrick Brown - 3 tackles, 1 sack, 2 TFLS
SOUTHERN MISS: Picasso Nelson - 8 tackles, 0.5 TFLs, 1 PBU
AUBURN: Anders Carlson - 1-2 FGs (made 23, missed 53)