Much has been made about Auburn’s slow start to the college football season after being hyped as a possible national championship playoff team, a goal that seems to be gone with the wind for this season.
But the Tigers still have a lot to say about who from the Southeastern Conference may join the elite in the rankings and secure a spot in the second-ever college tournament. Auburn, who fell out of the picture after being demolished at LSU, 45-21, and dropping their second SEC tilt to Mississippi State at home, 17-9, finally won a conference game last night with a hard-fought 30-27 win over Kentucky in Lexington.
Auburn’s remaining schedule has Top Ten foes Texas A&M and Alabama, as well as bouts with Arkansas, Ole Miss and Georgia. But has Auburn improved enough to be a spoiler for any of those teams?
Auburn’s offense got off to a great start last night taking a 13-point halftime lead, but managed only only one touchdown in the final 30 minutes to hang on for the win.
Quarterback Sean White, who took over for Jeremy Johnson after the third game of the season, passed for 255 yards on 17 of 27 passes, the bulk of which went to receiver Ricardo Louis on big plays. Louis caught seven passes for 154 yards, including 5 for 114 in the first quarter alone.
After two quick touchdowns in the first quarter, Auburn managed only three field goals in the second, despite moving the ball well. Kicker Daniel Carson hit a last second 52-yard field goal, giving him three 50+ field goals for the year, and tying Auburn’s season record fifty-yard field goals.
The running game showed flashes of the type of run offense that Gus Malzahn typically has, and ended the game with a total of 152 yards on 47 attempts, with power back Peyton Barber leading the way with 92 yards on 26 carries and two touchdowns, including a three-yarder on a third and one in the fourth quarter.
Coach Malzahn said, “We had some explosive plays, really for the first time all year. We actually got into a rhythm. “We were very good on third downs in the first half.”