It was sloppy, gross, rainy, and disgusting. There wasn’t much of a crowd with the quality of opponent and the fact that the students were on Thanksgiving break. Still, Auburn took care of business and shut out Samford 52-0 in the penultimate game of the regular season.
The Tiger defense was at a different level, limiting the Bulldogs to just 114 total yards, forcing 4 turnovers, and collecting 13 tackles for loss. Meanwhile, the offense battled through a bit of a slow start to finish the first half strong and give way to the backups early in the third quarter.
To start the game, Samford drove 9 plays and made its way into Auburn territory, but quarterback Liam Welch fumbled the ball and Christian Tutt recovered at midfield to set up the Tigers with good field position. Bo Nix led an opening scoring drive, aided by a pass interference penalty, and Boobee Whitlow scored from a yard out for a 7-0 lead. After that, however, the Tigers struggled on the following two drives — a missed field goal by Anders Carlson and a punt — before finishing the half strong.
Whitlow scored on another short touchdown drive to start the second quarter, then Nix found Harold Joiner on an identical play to the failed fourth down last week against Georgia. This time, Joiner made the catch and scampered 10 yards into the end zone. Right after the second fumble recovery by Auburn, Shaun Shivers rumbled in from 4 yards away, and the Tigers led 28-0. Carlson tacked on a field goal late in the half to give the Tigers a solid 31-0 edge at the half.
In the third quarter, Auburn was forced to punt on its opening drive, but the defense grabbed the fourth turnover of the day, and Christian Tutt nearly housed an interception. Instead, D.J. Williams scored from 2 yards away on a drive that started at the Samford 9-yard line. Leading 38-0, the backups entered the game, and Auburn’s final two touchdowns came via the same connection. Cord Sandberg got to play the most extensive minutes of his career, and his first touchdown pass came on fourth down to Zach Farrar from 28 yards out. One drive later, Sandberg found Farrar on the pop pass near the end zone for a 5-yard score, and Wil Appleton finished the game at quarterback, completing his only two pass attempts on the final drive before kneeling for the win.
Overall, it was an easy day for both sides of the ball, and Auburn got exactly what they wanted out of such a victory. Bo Nix finished 15-23 for 150 yards and a score, setting the Auburn freshman record for touchdown passes with 14 (passing Stan White). The offense rushed for 293 yards on the afternoon, with six players going for more than 30 yards. Shaun Shivers led all carriers with 55 yards and a touchdown on 9 attempts, while Seth Williams’ 45 yards on 4 catches led all receivers.
Auburn got to put both sides of the ball in a bit of a rhythm ahead of the Iron Bowl, while also keeping the main players fairly fresh. The only real downside to today was the targeting call on Jamien Sherwood during the second half, which got confirmed and will result in his suspension for the first half of the Iron Bowl next Saturday.
With the win, Auburn’s now 8-3, with a chance for 10 wins this season if they can concoct a victory over the Tide next weekend. Kickoff will come from Jordan-Hare Stadium at 2:30 pm CST. War Eagle!