No. 7 Auburn throttles Mississippi State
Whitlow scores three times, Nix passes for over 300 yards in scrubbing
AUBURN, Ala. (WSFA) - The Auburn Tigers are off to a 5-0 start, and 2-0 in conference play, after an incredible performance in Saturday’s 56-23 win over Mississippi State (3-1, 1-1).
Auburn was up 21-0 in the first quarter and didn’t even have 100 yards of offense yet. They were off to a fast start - an Auburn fast start. JaTarvious Whitlow scored on Auburn’s first offensive play and the Tigers didn’t look back. Whitlow finished the game with three rushing touchdowns and 55 yards rushing - only to be bested by his starting quarterback.
Bo Nix added a rushing touchdown and two passing touchdowns in yet another strong showing as a true freshman. He finished the game completing 16 of his 21 passes for 335 yards and two touchdowns. His 335 passing yards are a career-best by far in his young career and he only looks to be getting better and better as the season progresses. He finished with 56 yards on the ground, keeping teams conscious of his ability to run the ball.
Seth Williams continues to be a problem for opposing secondaries. Williams snagged eight receptions for a career-high 161 yards and two touchdowns. Anthony Schwartz also chipped in with 67 yards receiving - a legitimate speed threat who had a long score in the Texas A&M game a week ago.
By halftime it was a blowout. The No. 7 Tigers were up 42-9. The defense was dominant, forcing three three-and-outs and a turnover in the first half alone.
One of the bigger keys was Auburn’s third-down defense. Mississippi State finished 3 for 12 on third down conversions, as the Bulldogs were suffocated all night long by Auburn’s secondary and front seven.
Mississippi State was down to backup quarterback Garrett Shrader after starter Tommy Stevens left the game with an injury on the game’s opening drive. Shrader, a freshman, finished with 209 yards passing and a pair of touchdowns and rushed for a late touchdown score in the fourth quarter. He’d also finish the game as the Bulldogs’ leading rusher with 89 yards.
The Tigers outpaced their opponent in total yards by an easy margin. Auburn finished with 578 total yards while Mississippi State finished with 334 yards.
It was a performance for Auburn that wiped out last year’s crushing loss in Starkville.
If there’s an area for improvement, it’s ball security. The Tigers lost three fumbles in the game and fumbled out of bounds on one other occasion.
Next for Auburn is a highly-anticipated matchup with the Florida Gators, another SEC team ranked in the Top 10. That game kicks off from The Swamp at 2:30 p.m. It’ll be the first of an upcoming three-game road stretch for Auburn.
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