Auburn secures upset in a thriller at Mercedes Benz Stadium
It took three visits to Atlanta, Georgia for the No. 9 ranked Auburn Tigers to secure their first victory in the peach state. Impressively enough, the win came Saturday against a top-10 defense in the No. 6 ranked Washington Huskies. Gus Malzahn’s team, defeated the Huskies 21-16 at the Mercedes Benz Stadium to begin their promising season 1-0. Led by quarterback Jarrett Stidham, the Tigers were able to string together enough plays down the stretch to leave Atlanta victorious.
“We are really pleased that we beat one of the better teams in the country,” Malzahn said. “We faced some major adversity, and our team found a way to win.”
Here is what led to the victory over Washington:
Stidham leads the way
It was a stellar performance by the junior quarterback who completed 26 of 36 passes for 273 yards and a touchdown. Stidham would tell you, though that it wasn’t necessarily his best outing.
” You know, I think any time you’re playing a top 10 defense week 1, I mean, I think you’re definitely going to have some things when you look at the film on Sunday that you’re definitely going to have to work on,” Stidham said. But overall, I thought we played really, really well for week 1. Obviously a lot of things to correct. But I really like where this football team is at, and I like where we’re going.”
Pressure bursts pipes
The defense of Auburn was relentless, creating havoc in the backfield the entire game. The defensive line was much more physical in the trenches, and it showed on the stat sheet. Auburn had five sacks for 25 yards. Washington quarterback Browning was under constant pressure and had to scramble out of the pocket on several occasions. Linebacker Darrell Williams was a crucial player in the Tigers’ success defensively.
” We got a lot of things to work on, but I feel like we did good on the things that we talk about all the time like red zone and 3rd down, like you [member of the media] just mentioned we did a pretty good job of stopping them in the red zone,” Williams said.
The Tigers (1-0) forced the Huskies (0-1) to have to settle for three field goals.
There’s a first time for everything
As for the Tigers finally securing a win in Atlanta, both Williams and Stidham agree that is was well deserved.
“It feels great,” Williams said. Like you [member of the media] said, man, we came here two times, and we came up short, but the team just had a different vibe from the day we stood on the field, down on the field yesterday.”
You know, I think when you look at the last few times we came here, we just didn’t execute, and we just didn’t win,” Stidham said. ” We don’t care if it’s here or if it’s in a parking lot. We just want to play football, and we just want to find a way to win. Darrell is right; I was actually telling Coach Malzahn this during pregame, it just felt different this time. For whatever reason, I think this team, the chemistry is unreal in my opinion. We’re all so close. I think at the end of the day, we just want to win for each other, and we want to win for these coaches.”
Both teams will look to add to build from this fantastic first game of the season.
By D’Mitri Chin