Stidham soaring into October

Bryan Matthews, Senior Editor
Auburn Sports

AUBURN | He did it against Mercer. Again at Missouri. And once more against Mississippi State.

Jarrett Stidham has been deadly accurate and stepped up his play in Auburn’s last three games including blowout wins over Mizzou and MSU.

The sophomore was named co-SEC Offensive Player of the Week after completing 13-of-16 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns in a 49-10 win over the Bulldogs.

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Robin Conn/AuburnSports.com

“The last three weeks you really started to see him kinda get more comfortable and get more of a command of the offense,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “He's been very efficient and we've got to continue that. When we protect him, I think he's got good decision-making.

“I think he just needs more experience. He's still like a freshman as far as game experience is concerned. We've got to keep that in mind but I've been very impressed with him the last three weeks.”

Stidham has completed 82.8 percent of his passes in the last three games. He leads the SEC and ranks eighth nationally with a 72.0 percent completion percentage.

“Really, sometimes it's tough to complete 82 or 83 percent on air, but he's been able to do that and that was impressive,” Malzahn said.

Stidham had five incompletions against Mercer, four at Missouri and three against Mississippi State.

“That's something I really take pride in,” Stidham said. “I don't really want to throw it up in double and triple coverage just to throw it up and try to make a play. I want throw it to the right guy that's in the right coverage.

“That's something I kind of hang my hat on. That's one of my goals every week, to have a perfect completion game. It obviously hasn't worked out like that but I try to get it as close as possible each week.”

After giving up 14 sacks in the first two games, Auburn has allowed just four since. That extra time in the pocket has allowed Stidham to complete seven passes of over 45 yards in the last three games. Auburn has out-scored its first two SEC opponents 100-24.

“I'm a lot more comfortable,” Stidham said. “That first game, it was the first game I'd played in about two years. It's really, it's no excuse but just trying to get that experience back, that confidence back. I feel like I've come a long way.”

No. 12 Auburn hosts Ole Miss Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 11 a.m. CT on SEC Network.

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