Sloppy performance on offense

Bryan Matthews, Senior Editor
Auburn Sports

AUBURN | No. 15 Auburn couldn’t get out of its own way against Mercer Saturday.

The Tigers piled up 510 total yards of offense but five turnovers, which included four fumbles, kept the game close until Kamryn Pettway rumbled in from four yards out with 4:50 left in the fourth quarter.

Auburn won 24-10 but it was far from satisfying.

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Robin Conn/AuburnSports.com

“Obviously it was a little sloppy,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “What stands out to me is the five turnovers, which is very uncharacteristic. I can’t remember the last time we had five.

“If you take the turnovers away I think we would be feeling pretty good and could have put the game away early.”

Auburn fumbled on three of its first six possessions including two deep in Mercer territory. Another fumble led to a Mercer field goal while Jarrett Stidham’s third-quarter interception led to a Bears’ touchdown.

The receivers had an especially tough game with Kyle Davis, Eli Stove, and Ryan Davis all fumbling, although Davis’ came on a punt return. They also had two drops.

“I’ve never seen anything like that but I know there are some just bad days and today was just one of those days,” Davis said. “We found a way to still pull it off. We’ve just got to stop the turnovers and concentrate better.”

Pettway ran for 128 yards and three touchdowns but also had a fumble.

Auburn also had six penalties for 65 yards including a personal foul by Jalen Harris, which pushed the offense back from the 3-yard line to the 18. Daniel Carlson missed a 26-yard field goal three plays later.

“The underlying thing that’s really carrying on with me is the five turnovers,” Malzahn said. “I’m the head coach and we have to solve that. It starts with me; I have to solve that. We’re going to get hard on that. It’s uncharacteristic, but if you put that aside, there’s some good things that you can carry on to conference play.”

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