AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) — After a sluggish start to the game due to some miscues and penalties, Auburn finds themselves 2-0 after a 62-0 rout of the Alabama State Hornets, marking the first time Auburn has scored multiple 60-plus point games to start a season.
Last week's offensive performance against Akron had the Auburn fanbase eager to see the Tigers retake the field. However, after settling for two field goals in the first quarter, it looked as if the offense had cooled off from its week one performance. It was not until the second quarter when Bo Nix connected with Demetris Robertson for a six-yard touchdown to give the Auburn offense their first touchdown of the day. Georgia-transfer Roberston would go on to score a total of three touchdowns on the day. Robertson scored the next two offensive touchdowns with a 28-yard reception and a 36-yard rush.
"We just had a lot of penalties and self-inflicted wounds for ourselves," Nix said. "We moved the ball well we got two field goals out of it, but we didn't consistently play clean and play positive football."
When one aspect of the Tigers' game was struggling, a different group took their game up a notch to bring the whole team a spark. For Auburn today, special teams brought the heat. Auburn was up just 13-0 in the second quarter when Nehemiah Pritchett blocked a field goal attempt and returned it 80 yards to the house for a touchdown. The score gave the Tigers a comfortable 20-0 lead at the half.
"I saw all the green grass and knew nobody was catching me with all that field," Pritchett said.
Additionalyly on the offensive side, Auburn has found their new one-two punch with an elite running back room. Tank Bigsby, arguably the best running back in the country, again backed that statement up with another 100-yard game. Bigsby reached the 1,000 career yardage milestone after finishing with 122 rushing yards against Alabama State. However, his new counter partner is true freshman running back Jarquez Hunter. Hunter has produced 100-yard games on the ground in his first two collegiate games as a Tiger. He now holds the longest rushing touchdown recorded by an Auburn Tiger after running for a 94-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
"At first, I was going to the right, and then I saw a great cut back," Hunter said. "I took it and then I was gone for the run. I didn't know if anyone was close to me, so I ran as fast as I can."
As for the Tiger's defense, they recorded their first shutout of the 2021 season. Last week the defense held the Zips to just 10 points but failed to produce any turnovers. Auburn's aggression intensified in game two as they were able to force two turnovers on the day. Defensive back Roger McCreary made the defensive play of the game when he picked off quarterback Ryan Nettles and returned it to the house for a pick-six.
"That play they had done about three times in the first and second quarter and the coaches talked about it at halftime and was like recognize the formation pre-snap," McCreary said. "So when the receiver did the same release about three times, that's when I knew it was going to come."
"Overall, it was good," Harsin said. "We scored on offense; we scored on defense; we scored on special teams. We made big plays in all three phases."
Next Saturday is the matchup that everyone has had circled on their schedule for years. It will be the first time Auburn travels to Pennslyvania to take on Penn State in school history. Penn State's annual whiteout will be in full effect when the No. 11 Nittany Lions welcome the No. 25 Auburn Tigers to Happy Valley. The nationally televised game will air on ABC with a set kickoff of 6:30 p.m.