AUBURN | Ryan Davis came into Saturday’s game against Ole Miss leading the SEC with 29 receptions. But the Auburn junior was averaging just 6.1 yards per catch.
Davis blew that average wide open on the Tigers’ second series of the game catching a short screen pass and breaking free for a 75-yard touchdown.
“It was good to break out a long one. It’s finally my first real long one,” Davis said. “It was exciting. It was well executed from everybody. Great blocking. I was just able to make something happen when I got an opportunity.”
Auburn’s longest play of the season came on a perfectly executed tunnel screen. It gave the Tigers a 14-3 lead and was part of a five-drive stretch in the first half that finished with a touchdown.
“Big-time, wasn’t it, and it was nice,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “When you see that play there’s always things that really make it special. Our left tackle, (Austin) Golson, made an unbelievable block on the point, that was the hard one to get it started. We had some receivers on the backside, two receivers and a tight end, that did a super job staying with their guys the whole time.
"He’s electric when you get the ball in his hands and that was a huge play right there that gave us some breathing room.”
Golson sprung Davis loose blocking the outside defender at the line of scrimmage and center Casey Dunn had another block 10 yards down the field. Tight end Jalen Harris had a block 20 yards down the field and Davis was able to cut to the right at the 30-yard line off a block by Nate Craig-Myers. Will Hasting got in front of another defender at the 10 to give Davis a free run into the end zone.
Davis was one of eight players to catch a pass in the 44-23 win over the Rebels. Quarterback Jarrett Stidham completed 14-of-21 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns.
“We repped that play all week,” Stidham said. “We wanted to start off the drive with a screen and see what we could get them in. Sure enough, I threw about a 2-yard pass and Ryan took it for 75. That’s the easiest touchdown pass I’m ever going to throw. Hats off to him and the offensive line. They got out on a the screen and did a great job downfield.”
No. 12 Auburn (5-1, 3-0 SEC) plays at LSU next Saturday.