College football is back, and what better way to start the season than with a big-time win in Jordan Hare Stadium? The Auburn Tigers beat the Massachusetts Minutemen 59-14. Head coach Hugh Freeze had his players fueled and ready.
Starting right from the first snap, CJ Kolodziey set the tone with a 65-yard kickoff return, which set up a scoring drive with Daramri Alston scoring a two-yard rushing touchdown.
Umass matched the energy by scoring on their first drive, taking the ball 89 yards within eight plays. Taisun Phommachahn scored from the one-yard line, making the score 7-7.
Once Auburn settled in, they turned on the heat against the Minutemen, forcing them to two quick three-and-outs. On the Minutemen’s next drive, Donovan Kaufman strip-sacked Phommachahn, which Jaylin Simpson recovered. This key turnover led to Auburn quarterback Payton Thorne throwing a 33-yard pass to Key Moore and Roby Ashford, finishing the drive for a Tiger Touchdown.
Ashford made it look easy as he had three easy touchdowns within the red zone. The tigers were 100 % from the red zone. Another pivotable play during the game is Jaylin Simpson had a big-time interception during the third quarter, which he returned for an explosive pick-six.
Auburn Tigers had a total of 492 yards of offense, one interception, and caused one fumble. Overall, this was a solid start to the season for the Tigers, as Head Coach Hugh Freeze describes Saturday’s game as “a good day”. We saw execution, fundamentals, and discipline from this team as this was Hugh Freeze’s first game coaching at Jordan Hare Stadium.
When asked about how it felt to be back in the game day atmosphere, Defensive Back Jaylin Simpson said, “He’s been waiting to wake up to this day for so long, to get here and actually do it and have a game like I had is a dream come true”.
The Tigers played numerous young talent in yesterday’s game, which could help this team out in the long run because football is seen as a game built on depth, especially when it comes to playing late in the year.
The Auburn Tigers travel to California next week to play against the University of California Berkeley at 9:30 p.m.. It’ll be vital for the tigers to rest, hydrate, and maintain focus due to them switching time zones and waiting a little longer to play than usual.