The defense was dialed in. The offense looked sharp. The crowd was raucous. It was Auburn’s night.
From the beginning of the game, the Tigers were in control. Auburn’s defense made Nick Fitzgerald (who is one of the top quarterbacks in the SEC) look average. Fitzgerald was 13 of 33 for 157 yards. He threw one touchdown and two picks (one of which was returned by Auburn defensive back Javaris Davis for a touchdown).
Fitzgerald didn’t get much help from his offense. His receivers dropped multiple well-thrown balls, and his offensive line racked up 35 yards on seven false start penalties.
Jarrett Stidham, on the other hand, completed a sexy 81% of his passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns. (The only quarterback whose completion percentage was higher is Malik Willis, who was 1-1 in relief duty.) Stidham looks more and more comfortable each week, which should encourage Auburn fans.
Kerryon Johnson (who still isn’t at full health) led the Tigers with 116 rushing yards on 23 carries. Last week he scored five touchdowns; this week he scored three. Not too shabby.
Auburn’s defense allowed 351 yards of offense, but made critical stops when it counted. Dan Mullen’s offense had averaged 37 points per game going into this contest, but they were held to 10 at Auburn.
Auburn folks have to like the progress they’ve seen on offense since Week 2 at Clemson, but then again there is some doubt about the level of competition they’ve faced since then.
Ole Miss travels to Auburn next week and while they are loaded with talent, they haven’t looked like a very good football team this year. Anything is possible in the SEC West, so the Tigers cannot lessen their pursuit to get better. Things will only get more difficult from here, but Auburn seems to be headed in the right direction.