AUBURN, Ala. — In Gus Malzahn’s opening statement postgame, he led with some Vanderbilt praise.
“You’ve got to give Vanderbilt a lot of credit,” Malzahn said. “They had a week off and were obviously fresh and very good, and took advantage of some situations. They’re a good team. They’re a really good team.”
Auburn scratched its way to a 23-16 victory against the Commodores under some bizarre circumstances. Kamryn Pettway ran wild, again. Deshaun Davis picked up a controversial targeting ejection. A reportedly injured Sean White sat the first half and started the third quarter to lead Auburn to victory.
Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason and the Commodores offered a high opinion of Auburn.
Here’s what they had to say:
Mason on tough task at Auburn: “First of all, I need to give credit where credit is due. We played a really good Auburn football team. They are tough and physical. I felt our kids were prepared. They really were. I felt our kids came out of the bye fully knowing what we needed to do offensively. We had a great game plan against them, obviously, to get the ball out of the quarterback’s hands and make sure that we could still run the football and have some balance to what we were doing offensively.”
Mason on John Franklin III at QB: “I didn’t know going into the game that John Franklin was going to be the starter, but I thought our guys handled it and adapted because when he is in the game it is more wildcat than anything else. You have to play 11 guys. I thought it took a couple series to get our guys adjusted, but once they adjusted, we did a good job handling him.”
Vanderbilt DB Ryan White on JFIII, White switch: “Well, we knew No. 5 was a runner, and when No. 13 (Sean White) comes into the game, he’s a thrower, so it made a big difference.”
Mason on White’s second-half start: “The X-factor was really Sean White. His ability to command the tempo and really take care of the football and make critical throws in critical situations is really what he did. It was smart of them to put him back out there.”
Vanderbilt QB Kyle Shurmur on Auburn defense: “We had a great opponent, and we were not going to cower in fear. We were going to go right after them. … No. 55 (Carl Lawson) and (No.) 1 (Montravius Adams) are good. They have a great front seven and our offensive line stood up to them. They didn’t take anything from them.”
Mason on late Pettway run: “It is unfortunate for Pettway and what happened to him because you never want to see anyone get hurt.”