Ground Game Pounds FAU Into Early Submission

The Tigers had no letdown on Saturday night as they cruised to a 45-10 victory over non-conference football victory over Florida Atlantic.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn jumped on Florida Atlantic early and coasted in with a 45-10 football victory as the Tigers racked up 628 yards of total offense in improving their record to 7-1.

The Florida Atlantic Owls, who found themselves down by three touchdowns midway through the opening quarter, fell to 2-6 in the their second-ever appearance at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

The Tigers played the majority of the game without starting quarterback Nick Marshall, who left the game early in the second quarter and did not return.

After the game Johnson's teammates said the junior quarterback told them he would be ready to return to practice on Sunday as the Tigers begin preparations for a road trip to Arkansas, the first of four consecutive SEC games to close the regular season.

"We came out and had a plan of attack and we executed it," said junior running back Cameron Artis-Payne, who led the Tigers in rushing with 93 yards on 13 carries. For the game 10 Tigers carried the football as Auburn netted 422 yards on the ground and rushed for four touchdowns.

"Coming out strong at the beginning of games is something we have put an emphasis on in practice and it is paying off," Artis-Payne added.

Nick Marshall leaves the field with the Auburn doctors

Asked if he thought the Tigers improved in game eight, Artis-Payne said, "I thought we took another step forward. When we get to the tape we will see things we need to work on, but overall I thought we improved."

The Tigers scored touchdowns on their first three possessions and by the end of the first quarter they had gained 196 yards on 19 plays.

For the game the Tigers threw for 206 yards even though Marshall threw just one pass for 10 yards. Freshman Jeremy Johnson hit 10-16 for 192 yards and two scores and was intercepted for AU's only turnover of the night.

"I really felt like our guys were ready to play," Malzahn said. "There was a lot of questions about how we would respond after a big win. I would say our guys answered that by jumping on them early and taking care of business."

First Half Highlights:

Auburn won the toss and took the football, a plan that worked out perfectly. It took the Tigers just six running plays to move 78 yards with Tre Mason putting the Tigers on top 7-0.

After Dee Ford forced a fumble that was recovered by Jermaine Whitehead and returned 11 yards, the Tigers took control of the football at the FAU 43. It took just one play to score from there as Corey Grant raced around right end for a touchdown to make the score 14-0.

Corey Grant runs into the end zone for six points.

Auburn scored on its third possession, too. The Tigers only had to move 28 yards after Chris Davis returned a punt 70 yards as he caught a 63-yard punt with his momentum taking him into the end zone. Davis gained his balance, reversed direction and raced down the sideline in front of the Auburn bench.

From there the Marshall started the drive with a nine-yard keeper at left end and finished it at left end scoring from 10 yards out behind blocks from C.J. Uzomah and Jay Prosch. That put the tigers up 21-0 with 6:54 left in the opening quarter.

The Tigers added 17 more points in the second quarter despite Marshall leaving the game after injuring his shoulder when he was sacked.

Backup Jeremy Johnson threw two touchdown passes to Sammie Coates in the second quarter. The first was a 36-yarder to cap a drive that covered 48 yards in four plays. That happened on the freshman's first play in the game on Saturday night after Marshall was injured.

The Tigers made it 31-0 on 43-yard field goal by Cody Parkey to end a drive that covered 54 yards on nine plays.

The second touchdown pass to Coates was a 67-yard bomb on a one-play possession as the speedy sophomore ran past the cornerback at the line of scrimmage and was open down the sideline. That play made the score 38-0 with 3:10 left in the half.

Jermaine Whitehead picks up a first-half fumble to set up an Auburn touchdown

FAU quarterback Jaquez Johnson put the Owls on the scoreboard with a quick-strike drive late in the half. He hit a 38-yard pass to Daniel McKinney to set up a 29-yard run on a keeper around left end.

Parkey had a chance to increase the lead on the last play of the half, but was slightly wide left from 40 yards out, ending a streak of 19 consecutive made field goals from 45 yards or closer.

Halftime Numbers:

The Tigers held a 440-168 in total offense with Auburn rushing for 271 yards on 30 carries. Marshall was the leading rusher with 71 yards on six plays. Corey Grant added 63 yards on four carries, Tre Mason netted 60 yards on 10 runs and Cameron Artis-Payne gaine d52 yards on six runs.

Marshall threw just one pass for 10 yards while Johnson hit 7-12 for 159 yards.

Second Half Highlights:

The Owls scored on their opening possession of the third quarter. FAU drove 61 yards on seven plays before settling for a 31-yard field goal by Mitch Anderson.

The Tigers responded with a touchdown driving, moving 61 yards on just six plays with Artis-Payne scoring from a yard out with 8:35 to play in the quarter.

Neither team scored the rest of the way as the Tigers went to the bench and substituted heavily the rest of way.

FAU coach Carl Pelini was impressed with Auburn's offense that rushed for 422 yards. "They have a great running game," he said. "We were not surprised at all. We knew they had a great game. They did not do anything really surprise-wise.

‘"They are strong and are very good up front," Pelini added. "They have good speed on the outside. They beat you with their speed, you have to spread it out. They beat you inside. They are a good football team."

Worth Noting:

Auburn has 2,523 yards rushing through eight games, the most since the 2010 Tigers rushed for 3,987 yards in 14 games.

Worth Noting, Part 2: Auburn has netted 1,955 yards in its last three games, the most of any three games in school history breaking the previous best of 1,726 vs. LSU, Ole Miss and Chattanooga in 2010.

Stat of the Game:

The Tigers averaged 8.2 yards per play for the game after averaging better than 10 yards per play in the first half.

Game Statistics

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