All coming together on offense

Bryan Matthews, Senior Editor
Auburn Sports

AUBURN | Big plays are leading to big wins for No. 13 Auburn.

The Tigers had seven explosive plays and 511 yards of offense in a 49-10 thumping of No. 24 Mississippi State Saturday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

“I thought we played well offensively. We hit some shots,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “The last two games when we’ve hit some shots, we score points. I thought that was a big factor.”

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Robin Conn/AuburnSports.com

Quarterback Jarrett Stidham completed four long passes — 49 yards to Darius Slayton, 47 yards to Will Hastings for a touchdown, 57 yards to Eli Stove and 52 yards to Kyle Davis.

Stidham finished 13-of-16 for 264 yards with two touchdowns. He’s completed 83 percent of his passes in the last three games.

“Our quarterback was very efficient again,” Malzahn said. “I think you see him every week get more and more comfortable. We’re protecting him well and the guys are making plays. Our receivers are growing up and they’re making plays down the field.

"I think it’s all starting to come together.”

The pass to Stove came on first down at the 1-yard line and the pass to Slayton came on a reverse pass out of the Wildcat.

“We called it and I was like, ‘OK, this is going to be a big play.’ I come around and I get the ball and I look for Darius and it seemed like he was a mile down the field,” Stidham said. “I was trying to hurry up, I didn’t get a good grip on it and I under threw him. But it was a big play for us.

“We had a couple of those throughout the game that kind of set that momentum.”

The ground game also produced some big plays including a 59-yard run by Kerryon Johnson on Auburn’s first drive of the game, a 30-yard run by Stove and a 67-yard touchdown run by backup quarterback Malik Willis late in the fourth quarter.

Johnson scored three touchdowns and has eight in the last two games. Auburn had five explosive plays in a 51-14 win at Missouri last week.

“(The big plays) were huge,” Johnson said. “It keeps the defense guessing. They don’t know what’s coming. It’s hard to defend and it’s hard to plan for.”

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