AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn needed to get in and out of its Week 3 meeting Mercer with few mistakes, no injuries and lots of points. But the Tigers didn’t manage any of those three.
Following a frustrating offensive performance in a 14-6 loss at Clemson, Auburn looked sloppy again on Saturday — this time against a FCS opponent.
The Tigers finished with 510 yards of offense but struggled tremendously with offensive fluidity and ball control. A Kyle Davis fumble minutes into the game seemed to set the tone for a rough day on the Plains.
Auburn turned the ball over 5 times and put up 24 total points while allowing Mercer 10. To make matters worse, starting right tackle Darius James was carted off the field and starting defensive back Javaris Davis didn’t return in the second half.
Still, Auburn finished an ugly game with a win and is officially on to SEC play. Next up is a trip to Missouri to face another Tigers team who should give Auburn more chances to work out its offensive issues.
Here’s what coach Gus Malzahn said following the win:
- “OK, got the victory today. Obviously, it was a little sloppy. What stands out to me is the five turnovers. …. If you take the turnovers away, I think we played really good.”
- Malzahn said anytime you have a player with a neck injury it’s a “scary deal.”
- On the fumbles: “We’re going to have to look at it. Obviously, that was an issue. That’s uncharacteristic …”
- Malzahn said Auburn has to run the football better, but quarterback Jarrett Stidham was “about as efficient as can be.”
- On no Kam Martin and Malik Miller: Malzhn said it was “a close game” and the score dictated Kamryn Pettway’s presence in the game.
- “Chip’s our offensive coordinator,” Malzahn said. The coach thought the communication was good this game.
- Malzahn explained he has info about offense, defense and the kicking game in his back pocket. It’s not all on the offense.
- Auburn was fortunate to be able to turn to Casey Dunn when James went down.
- On changing up the starting offensive line: “We evaluate everything and we let it play out in practice.”
- “I don’t know the last time we had a quarterback go 32 for 37,” Malzahn said. He said the turnovers start with him, but there are some positives Auburn can take from Saturday.
- On the wildcat with Pettway: “… a new little wrinkle that Chip’s done in the past.”
- “Uncharacteristic” for Daniel Carlson to miss a short field goal.