Auburn Wide Receiver Tony Stevens (Photo: Auburn Athletics)
Through their first four games, Auburn has faced three top-20 teams. In two of those games, Auburn’s defense was able to hold the opposition to under 20 points. The offense however, had struggled to score in the red zone.
The fifth game of the season, against ULM, came at a great time.
Auburn was able to post 688 yards, which is the highest amount of yards the Tigers have gained this season, since the Arkansas State game, where the Tigers were able
to gain a whopping 706 yards. The Tigers were also 3-for-4 scoring in the red zone in the 58-7 win.
“We executed in the red zone, and that was our goal this whole week in practice.” said sophomore running back, Kerryon Johnson. “By getting better we had to execute in the red zone and we did. We just have to carry on every week on out.”
Another item that Auburn wanted to work on this week, was the offensive line. Center Xavier Dampeer missed Saturday’s game to rest an injury. Because of that, Austin Golson moved from tackle to center. Golson said that he felt comfortable moving back to his more recognized position, and feels that the line did a great job against ULM. “They gave a lot of stuff defensively, they brought a lot of different blitzes. I feel comfortable that I made all the calls. Obviously I have some stuff I need to clean up getting back to center, and really just pick up where I left off.”
Receiver Tony Stevens was also impressed with the way that the offensive line clicked, saying that they did a great job moving Warhawk defenders out of the way, so that the running game could get going.
Stevens himself played a role in the game. In the third quarter, he was on the receiving end of the second touchdown pass of the day from Sean White, he also caught 4 passes for 109 yards. All-in-all, Auburn’s quarterbacks completed 15 passes for 278 yards. Stevens says that having a great passing game, gives the offense more options to find the end zone.
“It’s very important, you know, once we make those explosive plays the secondary have to back up and that gives the running back room to, you know, go out there and break free.”
The ULM game also gave East Mississippi Community College transfer John Franklin
III the ability to have a “breakout” game. Franklin’s highlights include an 80-yard touchdown run, and a 39-yard touchdown pass.
“It felt good to just play. I love playing this game.” said Franklin, after the game. “I feel like I have the abilities to go a long way in this game. It felt good to just go out there and showcase it; and put a couple of points on the board and help our team win.”
Since Franklin has arrived on campus, he has worked on improving as a player, as well as a teammate.
“I’m just trying to get better as a quarterback and as a person every day. I feel like I have a role on this team. I’m just going with the flow.”
Auburn’s 688 yards of total offense is the fourth most in school history. Auburn also scored 28 points in the third quarter, which is the most points scored in a quarter since 2013, when Auburn scored 28 points in the second quarter against Tennessee. Another interesting stat, The ULM game was the first game since the 2014 Ole Miss game, that Auburn had a 100-yard rusher, as well as a 100-yard receiver. Kerryon Johnson rushed the ball 24 times for 146 yards and two touchdowns, while Tony Stevens recorded 4 catches for 109 yards and a touchdown.
Running Back Kerryon Johnson
Quarterback John Franklin III
(Photos: Auburn Athletics)