AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn hasn’t enjoyed an early morning game in a while and that trend continued as the Tigers downed ULM on Saturday.
Gus Malzahn’s team started the day sluggish and never really flipped the switch in Jordan-Hare Stadium. With students home for Thanksgiving break and an epic Iron Bowl looming, the atmosphere wasn’t great.
Still, a few impressive plays from offensive leaders Kerryon Johnson and Darius Slayton helped Auburn wake up a bit and eventually earn a 42-14 victory. Johnson got 22 carries (137 yards) and then it was time for Kam Martin. The sophomore was productive and got some much-needed playing time ahead of the Alabama game. There were no real changes from quarterback Jarrett Stidham, who was effective as usual.
Defensively, the Tigers appeared to have a few players get beat up. Buck Jeff Holland was among the most notable players who spent a few minutes in the Auburn medical tent while senior linebacker Tre’ Williams headed to the locker room at one point.
Auburn will briefly (if at all) celebrate its win over the Sun Belt team before shifting the focus to Alabama. The Crimson Tide beat up on Mercer as Gus Malzahn’s team played on Saturday morning.
Here’s what Malzahn said after the Tigers’ non-conference win over ULM:
- “Ok, I’m happy with our ninth win of the season. This game we came out a little slow, which is uncharacteristic of us,” Malzahn starts.
- “You have to give those guys credit,” Malzahn says of ULM. “They have a very good coaching staff.”
- The non-conference game “sandwiched in between two No. 1 teams, it was a challenge.”
- Malzahn says Auburn had a really great week of practice, so the slow start doesn’t make much sense.
- Auburn is looking forward to playing Alabama for the SEC West next. It’s officially Iron Bowl week.
- On Kam Martin: “KJ was a little tired on one of those drives and we put him back there and he was fresh, it was like he was shot out of a cannon.”
- On Nick Ruffin: “Nick Ruffin looked like an offensive player,” Malzahn said.
- Malzahn says usually if he gets injury news it’s before he addresses media. No news yet, so he’s assuming no major injury concerns.
- “Yeah,” Malzahn says about ignoring the coaching carousel talk. “One week you’re getting fired, one week you’re taking another job.”
- Alabama is undefeated and the No. 1 team in the country. He needs to watch more film, but this one is the one Auburn has wanted all along.
- “Our team has put ourselves in this position,” Malzahn says. “Our players are going to be ready, our coaches are going to be ready. It’s going to be a big one.”
- Malzahn says the biggest drive was right before the half. Auburn ended up scoring and the second half is much better.
- On preparing for Iron Bowl: “I want them to enjoy this, and relax their bodies and minds. This has been their goal…we’ll be ready to go.”