Auburn-Alabama State: Recap, score, analysis for Week 2 victory

Is Saturday the day Auburn unleashes more Anthony Schwartz? (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
Is Saturday the day Auburn unleashes more Anthony Schwartz? (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images) /

The No. 7 Auburn football team had no problem taking care of Alabama State on Saturday night in its home opener, beating the Hornets, 63-9.

Despite four turnovers (all fumbles), Auburn ran for 430 yards and totaled 566 yards for the game behind JaTarvious Whitlow’s 122 yards and Shaun Shivers’ 117.

Here’s the rundown of what happened:

Auburn-Alabama State live updates, score

Fourth quarter

It’s over. Auburn wins easy, gets pretty much everyone in the game and moves on to next week against LSU.

Auburn 63-9. Malik Miller gets in on the action with a 14-yard TD run.

Auburn 56-9. Shaun Shivers scores his first career TD and has 117 rushing yards on 13 carries.

Third quarter

Auburn leads by 40 entering the final quarter and has emptied the bench. Cord Sandberg, the 23-year-old former minor league baseball player, is in at quarterback.

The Tigers have turned to the ground game and have 289 rushing yards entering the final quarter. Shaun Shivers has 43 yards on seven carries and looks like the go-to back from here out. Asa Martin (2-10) likely gets carries but he fumbled in the third quarter.

Auburn 49-9. Auburn’s third turnover of the night (all fumbles) led to Alabama State’s first TD. Griffin King should have let the punt drop, but tried to catch it and didn’t. Then, on third-and-long, Alabama State threw a perfect pass into good coverage, but it’s caught and it’s a TD. (3Q, 0:37)

Auburn 49-2. It’s the backups and freshmen show at Jordan-Hare. Shaun Shivers did most the work on the scoring drive and Harold Joiner punched it in from the 3 for his first career TD late in the quarter.


The No. 7 Auburn football team leads 42-2 and already has emptied the bench. Here are some of the notable first-half developments and statistics:

  • Will Hastings and Eli Stove both made their first appearances of the season after being cleared for full contact. Both had been recovering from ACL injuries and did not play last week.
  • Right tackle Jack Driscoll left the field on his own power late in the second quarter. He was pointing to his left knee but it didn’t appear to be serious.
  • Auburn had 333 total yards (223 rushing, 110 passing) and held Alabama State to 97.
  • JaTarvious Whitlow has 121 rushing yards on 14 carries.
  • Anthony Schwartz has three carries for 50 yards and two receptions for 64 yards. Didn’t we say this would happen? (Yes, we did)
  • Stidham completed 6-of-11 passes for 113 yards.
  • Alabama State has 4 rushing yards on 21 attempts.

Second quarter

Auburn 42-2. Officially, the shutout is no more. Technically, the defense has allowed a point. On Malik Willis’ first play deep in Auburn territory, he kept it instead of handing off to Kam Martin and was dropped in the end zone for a safety. (2Q, 4:42)

Auburn 42-0. Speed. Anthony Schwartz has it. Auburn has turned to him on the jet sweep and he just produced a 23-yard TD run that was set up by Daniel Thomas’ second interception of Darryl Pearson on the night. We should start seeing a lot of new faces on the field. (2Q, 6:56)

Auburn 35-0. Raise your hand if you had a special teams touchdown in the pool tonight. No, it wasn’t a Ryan Davis punt return. Instead, Jordyn Peters blocked a punt and Devan Barrett scooped it up at almost the goal line and punched it in for his second career touchdown. (2Q, 7:42)

Auburn 28-0. As we wrote earlier this week, Auburn is running, running and running. This time, Kam Martin follows a 16-yard run with a 4-yard TD run. Auburn already has more rushing yards tonight (149) that it did last week against Washington. Whitlow (11-91) and Martin (6-38) are both on the verge of breaking long ones. Watch for it next time Auburn has the ball. (2Q, 11:30)

First quarter

It’s the score we were looking for tonight, but the way Auburn went about it was a little unorthodox.

The first two possessions on offense were duds, followed by a 10-play scoring drive, a long TD pass and a pick-6. Add in there that Alabama State returned a kickoff 99 yards for an apparent score, but it was called back on a penalty.

Auburn outgained Alabama State 179-81 in the opening quarter. Jarrett Stidham is 5 of 7 for 87 yards and JaTarvious Whitlow has 56 rushing yards on eight carries.

Auburn 21, Alabama State: Boom! On Alabama State’s first play after the Schwartz TD, Daniel Thomas picks off a pass and goes untouched 29 yards for a score with 1:00 left in the first quarter. That’s what we were looking for tonight.

Auburn 14, Alabama State 0: There it is — the speedster Anthony Schwartz hauls in a 57-yard TD pass from Stidham and the Tigers finally look like the No. 7 team in the country.

Auburn 7, Alabama State 0: Jarrett Stidham runs it from the 6 and Auburn is on the board first.

Pregame notes

According to Justin Ferguson of The Athletic, defensive backs Javaris Davis and Jamel Dean both are dressed and going through warmups.

– More on the injury front from Josh Vitale of the Montgomery Advertiser:

The early reports from Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday are in: It’s hot.

Seriously, it’s hot out there.

As some of the reporters noted, the players went through Tiger Walk in jackets, but it didn’t take long for those to be shedded.

Must Read. Three bold predictions for Auburn vs. Alabama State matchup. light

Auburn-Alabama State game time, information

When: Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018
Game time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, Ala.
TV: SEC Network Alternate | Watch online: ESPN3
Line: No line
Weather report: Low to mid-80s at kickoff. Full report here.

Auburn-Alabama State preview

1. This won’t be close. Really.

To say that this one is not expected to be close is an understatement. SB Nation’s Bill Connelly went as far as to post this prediction:

The Fly War Eagle staff didn’t go that far, but we weren’t that far behind, either, with our predictions for the Auburn-Alabama State game.

So the big thing for Auburn tonight is execution and staying healthy. The Tigers will want to build a large first-half lead and turn it over to their backups in the second half. That’s a win-win for the Auburn football team as it keeps players healthy for the matchup next week against LSU and gives valuable experience to some of the backups and freshmen, whose eligibility won’t be affected because of the new redshirt rule.

2. Auburn on third down

Auburn converted 9-of-18 attempts last week. That’s a very good 50 percent conversion rate on third downs against a team that allowed just 38 percent of third-down conversions a season ago. The Auburn football team converted on 45.5 percent of its third-down plays a year ago. That ranked 15th in the country.

Only two teams converted 50 percent of their third-down plays or more in 2017. The Tigers were 4 for 5 on third downs on their first two possessions of the game that led to nine points. If the Hornets can’t keep its defense off the field with a few third-down stops Saturday, it’s going to be a long, hot night for them.

3. Quick hitters

  • The Auburn football team did not play well last season against Mercer from the FCS. The Tigers turned the ball over five times and didn’t create breathing room until the fourth quarter in a 24-10 victory. Gus Malzahn and his coaches certainly have reminded the players of that performance. Don’t expect to see anything resembling that game again.
  • Alabama State Tuskegee, 26-20, in overtime in its opener last week. QB Darryl Pearson completed 15-of-24 passes for 164 yards and a touchdown. Ezra Gray led the ground game with 60 yards on 11 carries and a TD. Tuskegee outgained Alabama State, 482-292.

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Fly War Eagle predicts the game
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Tigers will use FCS close calls as motivation to not repeat those performances
Expect Auburn to run the football a lot Saturday
Week 2 vs. Alabama State: Fly War Eagle wish list of what we want to see
Martin vs. Whitlow? No, it’s Martin and Whitlow
Grading the Auburn football team in its Week 1 victory vs. Washington
Expect jet sweep to return after opening-game hiatus