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Game Superlatives - Auburn 24, Southern Miss 13

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NCAA Football: Southern Mississippi at Auburn John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

24-13, your final score from yesterday. Auburn’s 4-1 now on the season, ranked #8 in the AP Poll (#9 in the Coaches Poll), and set up for the first true road game of the season next Saturday at Mississippi State.

Yeah, it’s tough to only score 24 points in a game like that, especially when the offense looks bad, but we got the win. Blame it on the rain in the end.

And let’s see what Gus Malzahn had to say after the game.

  • He says we played well defensively, with the turnovers and third down defense, but offense had trouble protecting Jarrett Stidham. Once more, running the football was inconsistent and Kam Martin did a good job filling in for Boobee Whitlow once he got hurt.
  • On the question of whether the weather changed the game plan, it’s more of a question about not knowing when you were coming back on the field, but it’s no excuse for the poor performance.
  • Biggest thing for the offense is consistency. Auburn hit a couple of big plays, but consistency in the run game and protection is the biggest key. He adds third and long as well as a big piece of the puzzle.
  • As for Asa Martin, he mentioned that Kam Martin was playing well so it’s hard to take him out.
  • During the rain delay, he mentored Stidham a bit, but obviously there was still plenty of breakdowns in the passing game. The big plays were nice to see. The freshmen (Seth Williams/Anthony Schwartz) scoring two touchdowns is really important for the future.
  • Offensive line penalties, especially motion penalties, are unacceptable.
  • Concerns in the blocking are big. “I know I sound like a broken record” but running the ball is key to being a good offense.
  • Defense was solid as usual, linebackers and secondary especially.
  • Asa Martin will get touches when the coaches feel like he’s a guy that can make things happen. He has a role in the offense, and it could grow, but we’ll have to see.

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME

After Boobee Whitlow left the game in the first half with a shoulder injury, Kam Martin came in and got the bulk of the carries the rest of the game. His final line — 24 carries, 90 yards — represents the tough running he was forced to put together when the offensive line wasn’t really giving him much to work with. For that, he’s our Offensive Player of the Game from last night.

After Kam, Darius Slayton really broke out for the first time this season. His 53-yard catch in the second half set up a touchdown, and he finished with 91 yards on five catches. He and Seth Williams both played well yesterday and were good targets for Stidham.

OFFENSIVE PLAY OF THE GAME

It was obvious that one of the emphasis points on offense was hitting a big play or two. Auburn went to the well on the first play from scrimmage and nearly hit a long pass to Seth Williams, only to have the ball go right through his hands.

So what do you do when you nearly get the big gainer? Go back to it again not long afterward.

He Moss’d the guy. Williams is obviously a big focal point of the passing game right now, and if we can figure out some improvement in the pass blocking department, he could really break out.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME

There were two guys smacking dudes around out there yesterday afternoon (and night — thanks, lightning), and they both play linebacker for Auburn. Deshaun Davis led the team in tackles with ten, but I feel like Darrell Williams’ nine tackle, 2.5 TFL game was more impressive. Williams has been a little overshadowed at times by the media by Davis, but he brings the lumber just as hard. Yesterday, Williams had several violent tackles to stuff backs in the hole, but he was also rangy enough to get out and defend plays on the perimeter. For that, he gets the honor from yesterday’s game. Speaking of violent tackles, though...

DEFENSIVE PLAY OF THE GAME

Here’s your future top fifteen NFL defensive tackle draft pick launching himself through the air to destroy a hapless quarterback.

Brown had three tackles, including two TFLS and that sack right there, and he was a monster as usual. Enjoy it while you can, everyone. We’ve only got several more games where big ole #5 wrecks shop.

Despite the sluggish performance, Auburn’s 4-1 and will head to Starkville next week. ESPN2, 6:30 pm CST kickoff for the Tigers and a Mississippi State team that might be worse on offense than we are. War Eagle!