AUBURN, Ala. (AP) – Sean White threw for 244 yards and three touchdowns, and Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson each eclipsed 100 yards rushing as Auburn dominated Arkansas State, 51-14 on Saturday night for the Tigers’ first win of the season.
The three-quarterback system Auburn coach Gus Malzahn instituted last week in the loss to Clemson was scrapped, and White was given full command of the offense from the get-go. He led the Tigers for 10 drives, and Auburn scored on eight of them, all but two of which were touchdowns.
He dissected the Red Wolves’ defense, finding Tony Stevens for a pair of scores and sophomore Will Hastings for another.
White’s most jaw-dropping throw of the night, however, went to freshman Kyle Davis. Davis hauled in a 42-yard deep ball with one hand, striking up comparisons to New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr.’s famous catch, and eliciting a sustained collection of dropped jaws in the stands.
Auburn racked up 706 total yards, the most the Tigers have accumulated since the 2014 Iron Bowl, when Nick Marshall nearly took down Alabama in a high-octane shootout.
Whatever bag of tricks Malzahn had for that game, he must’ve opened back up against the Red Wolves, his only other head coaching stop in college football.
Johnson fumbled on Auburn’s first possession, but he got the scoring started on a weaving, cross-field, 47-yard touchdown that included a hurdle and a dive on the next possession. Then midway through the second quarter, Lou Groza finalist Daniel Carlson received an over-the-head pass from holder Tyler Stovall and waltzed into the end zone.
Auburn rights the ship and quiets steadily rising concerns about the Tigers’ offensive woes and, perhaps more importantly, Malzahn’s job security.
Arkansas State’s troubles in the secondary – and the defense as a whole – continue to plague the Red Wolves, who have now been outscored 82-24 in their first two games this season.
With the way SEC teams have been struggling against inferior opponents, a wire-to-wire victory for Auburn might be enough to bump them into the Top 25.
Auburn hosts No. 20 Texas A&M on Saturday.
Arkansas State travels to Utah State on Friday.
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