Coming into tonight’s game, the Red Wolves and Tigers had a commonality of wins: none. Both teams came up short in week one. For Auburn, that meant losing a tough-fought, down-to-the-wire matchup with Clemson, one of the country’s best teams. For Arkansas State, that meant getting thumped by three touchdowns against Toledo in Jonesboro.
Tonight, it was more of the same for Arkansas State, who were thrashed 51-14 by Auburn in Jordan-Hare Stadium. In a game that was perpetually entertaining but never really competitive, the Tigers racked up mountains of yardage and never touched the brakes.
So, what’d we learn after that Auburn victory?
1. Auburn isn’t all defense
Based on previous performances, it was pretty clear that Auburn’s defense was likely to have a field day against an Arkansas State team that couldn’t get much going against Toledo. While that may have been true, Auburn’s offense also came to play. After encountering some trouble against an elite Clemson team, the Tiger offense had a fire lit under them, scoring 51 points against the Red Wolves. Auburn put up beaucoup points and they did so with incredible efficiency (the Tigers went 10-13 on third downs). In the end, Auburn had over 700 total yards on offense. Yeah, I’d say that’s enough for a win.
2. It’s all about the ground game
The offense took their chance to shine and ran with it, literally. Auburn put on a clinic on the ground against Arkansas State, rushing for a prodigious 462 yards. Everyone on the team got in on the party*, with Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson ran for 152 and 124 yards, respectively. And, as the game wound down, Auburn brought in John Franklin III for Sean White; the Tigers continued to run wherever they liked. It was really quite beautiful to watch.
*I mean everyone
3. The big plays worked
One of the key reasons why Auburn was able to build up such a lead was that they were continually rolling the dice and coming up on the lucky side of things. Whether it was faking a field goal to go up 28-7...
Daniel Carlson runs in a fake field goal for a 20-yard TD. Auburn pulling away. https://t.co/9cpwsYRI0h— James Crepea (@JamesCrepea) September 11, 2016
...or Kyle Davis hauling in a one-handed grab in double coverage...
...or just generally scoring at will...
...Auburn played gutsy at times tonight, and it really paid off as they came out on top. This game may have been a blowout, but it never really seemed boring.