Perhaps their bus ride to the stadium was too comfortable. Mississippi State began sleepwalking with a delay of game penalty on the opening snap before they woke up the score was 21-0 in the first quarter in favor of Auburn. Their first two possessions were three and outs, another delay of game penalty after a 16-yard tackle for loss facing 4th and 24 yards. Defensively they were being dominated. Meanwhile, Auburn’s first snap was a 30-yard touchdown run by JaTarvous Whitlow. It was like a manuscript to a movie titled A Nightmare on the Creepy Field of Jordan Hare.
Halloween is a month away, but the horrors were in full effect wearing Blue and Orange. The Tigers were eating the Bulldogs alive. They had minus-19 yards rushing and were in the middle of an avalanche.
To make matters worse a muffed punt gifted Auburn possession at the 18-yard line, two plays later Anthony Schwartz was stepping across the goal line celebrating a 21-0 lead with 8:59 remaining in the first quarter. The four penalties for twenty-five yards didn’t help their cause.
Head Coach Joe Moorhead said, “Against a good football team like this, we went into the week talking about how small the margin of error is. We come out and spot them 21 before the band even gets in their seats. You don’t give yourself a chance. You’re fighting out of a corner the whole game. I thought some of our warts got exposed today – our deficiencies and weaknesses – and they took advantage of them.
Mississippi State fought for every inch of a 12 play 75-yard drive as Stephen Guildry caught a 9-yard touchdown pass. Late in the second quarter, they got their biggest break a fumble recovery by Leo Lewis. They drove down to the Auburn four-yard line before thy shot themselves in the foot with a false start by Dareuan Parker. The next play was disastrous; they fumbled deep in the precious RedZone.
Auburn took full advantage when Bo Nix connected with Anthony Schwarts on a 48-yard over the shoulder bomb of a pass with nine seconds remaining in the half. Whitlow worked the wildcat to perfection from there giving Auburn a 42-9 advantage.
The second scene opened with more horror, a drive amounting 75 yards in 4 plays capped off by a 32-yard touchdown pass from Bo Nix to Seth Williams digging a deeper hole 49-9. The lights started to flicker signaling it was time to go back to sleep; it was all over; unfortunately, they had to stick around for the nightcap nearly two-quarters of football was remaining.
Coach Malzhan was impressed with Bo Nix
“I think you see him getting more comfortable every game and every snap. The game gets slower and was really accurate with his throws. He made some very good throws on intermediate and deep routes. He hurt them with his feet. Anytime a quarterback can hurt you with his feet and throw like he did tonight, that’s a good thing. The way he’s carried himself in practice he’s been the same every week — getting out in games is where you learn. The good thing is, things are starting to slow down for him. There are still things he has to work on but every game it looks like he’s getting more comfortable.”
Frustration showed its hostility in the form of a personal foul administered as a late hit by Martin Emerson. It was somewhat understandable but not recommended considering they were on the wrong end of a beat down.
The Bulldogs did what they could by adding a couple of scores on the downside. Should the truth be known, the 7th ranked Tigers were too much for them to handle in every phase of the game beating a good team pretty good 56-23.
Bo Nix completed the game 16-21 for 335 yards and 2 touchdowns. His favorite receiver was Seth Williams 8 catches for 161 yards with 2 touchdowns. The team amassed 578 yards of total offensive yards.
The Tigers had a big win last week over Texas A&M and did not experience an emotional let down sparking coach Malzahn to say, “We played our best football as a team to date tonight.”
Reflecting odd scheduling Auburn will be on the road for a month starting next week in the Swamp against the (5-0) Florida Gators.
Interesting Facts of the Game
- Auburn scored a touchdown on its first 5 possessions
- Auburn 5-5 in the Red Zone
- TFL Yards 5 -32 yards
- 2 fumble recoveries
- Converted 6-10 third downs
- Auburn had 4 fumbles lost 3
- Average yards per completion 20.1
- Rushing 217 yards 6 touchdown