AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) - The Auburn Tigers start off their 2022 season 1-0 after a big 42-16 win against the Mercer Bears.
The Tigers made seven plays totaling more than 20 yards in week one's game against the Mercer Bears, and those big plays were the difference for Auburn. After a 90-minute rain delay, Tank Bigsby revitalized the wet crowd with a 39-yard touchdown on the first play.
Bigsby led the way on the offensive side of the ball with 16 attempts for 147 yards and two touchdowns, Jarquez Hunter was also able to tack on three big touchdown runs of his own. Quarterback, Robby Ashford also made use of his legs ending the game with 68 yards with just six attempts.
The Tigers continued the explosive plays through the air going for 212 yards and a touchdown. Ja'Varrius Johnson led the receiving core with four receptions for 117 yards behind Johnson was the senior receiver, Shedrick Jackson with four receptions for 47 yards.
The Tigers opened up the game hot, scoring on the first drive with a 19-yard Hunter run, putting the game at 7-0 with 9:32 left in the first quarter. With 3:43 left in the first, TJ Finley connected on a two-yard pass to John Samuel Shenker to increase the score 14-0.
The Tigers kept their foot on the gas in the second capitalizing on a long drive with a strong one-yard rush up the middle from Hunter, making it 21-0, the tigers put up one more rushing touchdown before the end of the second increasing the lead to 28-0.
The defense held strong until the end of the second quarter after a Finley interception put the Bears on the Auburn 29 and after a couple of passes, the Bears starting quarterback, Fred Payton connected on a five-yard reception for a touchdown. Cam Riley led the defense with a career-high 15 tackles, nine of those being solos.
Towards the end of the third quarter, Hunter added his third and final touchdown of the game with another one-yard rush to increase the lead to 35-7. After the 90-minute rain delay, Bigsby tacked on the last score of the game with a thirty-nine-yard touchdown, 42-7.
The majority of the Bear’s points came late in the fourth on a drenched field with a field goal and a touchdown with 25 seconds remaining, which put the final score at 42-16.
Ashford, a redshirt freshman, stole the show gouging the Mercer defense for 168 yards of total offense, and completed 4-of-7 passes for 100 yards while rushing for 68 yards on six carries.
The Auburn Tigers face off against the San Jose State Spartans next Saturday in Jordan-hare stadium at 6:30 p.m. CT on ESPNU.