Auburn Tigers quarterback Joey Gatewood (1) hurdles Kent State Golden Flashes cornerback Jamal Parker (7) during the second half of Saturday's game, at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn.
Daily Mountain Eagle - Jeff Johnsey
By Jonathon Swam, Eagle Sports Correspondent
Auburn amassed a season-high 633 offensive yards Saturday night, routing Kent State 55-16 in Jordan Hare Stadium.
Head coach Gus Malzahn says he is pleased with what he saw out of his offense in the win.
“Our goal was to improve, from games 1 to 2 to 3 and I think we did that,” he said after the game. “Offensively we were able to run the football, we talked about being better on first down, we definitely did that, and I really think the quarterback keeping it a few times early opens things up in the middle.”
Bo Nix, who completed 12-of-16 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown, showed his running skills Saturday night when he scrambled from the pocket on multiple occasions, resulting in 40 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
“I think he made some really good decisions,” Malzahn said of his starting quarterback. “He stuck his foot in the ground and went north and south a couple of times once he pulled it. I think that really made a big difference.”
With eight different players rushing, the Tigers ran for 467 yards.
Sophomore Boobie Whitlow had a season-high performance with 135 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Red-Shirt freshman Joey Gatewood and sophomore Shaun Shivers both rushed for over 100 yards on the night as well, with Gatewood accounting for two touchdowns.
“When we’re running the football and we’re playing with pace, that’s when we are at our best and it opens everything up”
Malzahn made mention of the defense, saying “holding that bunch to 16 points, they’ve got some play makers.”
Even though Kent State (1-3) only put 16 points on the scoreboard they were able to tally up 321 yards on the Tigers.
Kent State quarterback Dustin Crum ended his night with 198 passing yards. Former Auburn quarterback Woody Barrett came in late for the Golden Flashes, finishing with 31 passing yards and an additional 27 yards on the ground.
Despite senior defensive tackle Derrick Brown leaving the game in the first half with an injury, the defense showed improvement on Saturday, getting 5 sacks and holding Kent State to five 3-and-outs.
Malzahn says he expects to learn more on Brown’s injury on Sunday.
Bo Nix faces his first true SEC road test next week when Auburn travels to College Station to take on Texas A&M.