Tigers Claw Way to Homecoming Win
Kamryn Pettway rushed for three touchdowns in Auburn's Homecoming win over Mercer
(Photo: Auburn Athletics/Todd Van Emst)
It's rare to hear of a program recording 510 total yards, including over 350 yards through the air, and 26 first downs... and struggle. That is what the scoreboard would indicate, as Auburn knocked off Mercer, 24-10 on Homecoming Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Quarterback Jarrett Stidham had his most successful game to date on Saturday, completing 32 of 37 passes for 364 yards, and added 23 yards on the ground. However, five Auburn turnovers water down that stat line, as many "what-ifs" were asked following the game, due to so many scoring opportunities being left on the table.
Mercer took advantage of two Tiger fumbles, converting them to scores. Mercer kicker Cole Fisher put his team on the board in the second quarter by nailing a 21-yard attempt with 5:09 remaining in the half. That drive was set up when Auburn Wide Receiver Eli Stove fumbled the football after reeling in a six-yard pass from Stidham.
The Bears next scoring opportunity came when Cornerback Kam Lott picked off Stidham just inside the five-minute mark of the third quarter, which ultimately led to the first touchdown of the game for Mercer in fourth quarter. Quarterback Kaelan Riley found receiver Marquise Irvin in the end zone from six-yards out, cutting the Auburn lead to 17-10 at the time.
Despite the turnovers, Auburn's offense showed signs of diversity, as the team rushed 43 times, while attempting 37 passes. The Tigers offense out-gained Mercer 510-246, doing so with just over four less minutes than the opposition.
Auburn got on the board first at the 1:03 mark in the first quarter, when Kamryn Pettway ended a 10-play, 85 yard drive by rushing four yards to the end zone, giving Auburn the 7-0 lead. Daniel Carlson capped scoring in the first half for Auburn by succeeding on a 29-yard attempt with 0:37 remaining in the second quarter. Mix in Fisher's field goal, and Auburn took a 10-7 lead into the locker room.
Stidham completed 18 of 20 passes to end the half, finding four different receivers for 196 yards. Pettway and Stidham shared the ground game, splitting 23 attempts for 83 yards. The eye-popping stat of the first half? Mercer recovering three Auburn fumbles.
The Tigers' second half got off to a shaky start. After forcing Mercer to go three-and-out, Ryan Davis, who lined up as punt returner, fumbled the football. Mercer recovered at the Auburn 49-yard line, losing their fourth fumble of the game. The Bears could not take advantage of the opportunity, as they failed to convert a 4th-down-and-4 play at the Auburn 24-yard line.
Pettway would score his second touchdown of the night in Auburn's first possession of the half, by rushing 9-yards to the end zone, moving Auburn ahead 17-3 with 8:06 in the third quarter.
To seal the deal, Pettway rushed for his third score of the game with 4:50 remaining in the fourth quarter. The junior barreled in from four yards out to close the game, giving Auburn the 24-10 win.
Saturday's performance against Mercer was his third career multi-touchdown game for Kamryn Pettway, his most since running for three scores against Mississippi State last season.
For kicker Daniel Carlson, he moves into five place in SEC history after scoring six points in Saturday's game. His 377 career points is just 12 shy of fourth place.
Jeremiah Dinson and Tre Williams each recorded six tackles, good enough for the team lead. In his first start, Nick Coe picked up one tackle in the win. The defense picked up seven tackles for loss, six players recorded one each.
Next up for Auburn is a road contest at Missouri. Kickoff is slated for 6:30 P.M. from Columbia, Missouri. Missouri fell to Purdue on Saturday, 35-3 at home.