Auburn, Ala.--Setting a goal of getting their first shutout of the season the Auburn Tigers accomplished that on Senior Night with a 55-0 blanking of Alabama A&M.
It was the first time an Auburn team held an opponent scoreless since opening day of the 2008 season when the Tigers defeated ULM 34-0.
“I am really just happy to be with this group of guys and to have done it with them,” said senior defensive tackle Montravius Adams, who contributed to the victory with an interception and two quarterback hurries in a game that the subs played much of the second half.
Adams and some of his defensive teammates posed for a photo in front of the Jordan-Hare Stadium scoreboard for a memory of the shutout, something that Defensive Coordinator Kevin Steele set as a goal for the Tigers who have now played back-to-back games without allowing an offensive touchdown.
The Tigers improved to 8-3 with the victory while Alabama A&M fell to 4-7. The visiting Bulldogs were held to 130 total yards. They netted 27 rushing yards on 24 carries and threw 39 passes, completing 15 for 103 yards and two interceptions.
“We just couldn’t bring our offense to the party,” said Alabama A&M Coach James Spady. “I think Auburn’s defense was a bit too strong for us.”
The big story for the Tigers on offense was a return to the starting lineup for Jeremy Johnson, who completed 14-19 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran the ball six times for 42 yards and two more scores in his Senior Night game.
“It was a great opportunity to play with those guys again,” Johnson said. “Getting this victory for the team and Sean (injured Sean White) and another opportunity, blessed to be out here, was fun.”
Johnson said he found out in “the middle of week” he was going to be the starter. “All of the guys rallied behind me,”?he said. “We just went from there.”
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said, “We are very proud of Jeremy. He did an excellent job. He was really efficient in throwing the football and did a really good job leading the offense.”
Malzahn said it is too early to know if White will be ready to play next week vs. Alabama or if Johnson will make his second start of the season.
Auburn led 24-0 at halftime, but doubled that total in the third period. Much of the damage after halftime was done by the second offense with Kam Martin and John Franklin running the football.
Kam Martin was busy in the second half for the Tigers.
Martin, a freshman running back, carried the ball 21 times, all in the second half, for 176 yards and two TDs. franklin ran it four times for 84 yards and one score.
The second team offensive line dominated the A&M defense. “It’s probably the second or third time they’ve been in there this year,” Malzahn said. “They have really done a good job continuing to move the football. Most of those guys are young so that’s good moving forward too.”
Kerryon Johnson, who carried the football in the first half, ran 18 times for 108 yards and one score. Malzahn said the sophomore is making progress with his ankle injury. “He is really close to 100 percent,” the coach said.
In the first half the Tigers went the Johnson & Johnson route to put a band aid on their offense that was trying to recover from the wounds it received after being mauled by the Georgia Bulldogs a week earlier. Kerryon Johnson and Jeremy Johnson were the key offensive players for Auburn in the first half.
Auburn scored on the game’s opening possession, moving 65 yards on eight plays. Jeremy Johnson got the touchdown on a keeper at left tackle from seven yards out.
Following an interception by Adams, the Tigers boosted their lead to 14-0 a little more than two minutes later. Adams caught the football after it was deflected by fellow defensive tackle Dontavius Russell. It then bounced off the quarterback’s helmets into the arms of Adams who was tackled at the 15-yard line.
Three plays later Kyle Davis caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Johnson deep in the end zone on a well-thrown throw by the senior.
After struggling to move the ball until later in the second quarter, the Tigers jumped ahead 21-0 when Kerryon Johnson capped an eight-play, 79-yard drive when he scored at right tackle on a first down goal to go run from the two.
After a stop by the Auburn defense, the Tigers moved 31 yards on five plays to set up a 41-yard field goal by Daniel Carlson with 1:30 left the half.
Auburn got the ball back with no timeouts left and had a chance to score again, but Carlson’s 54-yard field goal was wide left on the final play of the half.
Johnson hit 13-18 passes for 141 yards in the half and had several drops. He also missed a potential touchdown on a pass to Ryan Davis, who was uncovered behind the A&M defense, but the pass sailed long.
The first offense got another shot to play to start the third quarter and moved 51 yards on 11 plays to make the score 31-0 on one-yard keeper by Jeremy Johnson at the 9:50 mark.
A minute later, following an interception by Stephen Roberts, the lead was 38-0 as backup QB John Franklin raced 45 yards around right end on the next play. One play later Martin ran untouched through a gaping hole in the middle of the defense.
After a three-and-out the Tigers got great field position at the A&M 39-yard line after a 26-yard punt. Franklin used his speed at right end to score on the first play of the possession to make the score 45-0.
The Tigers added a 19-yard field goal at the end of the third quarter and scored with 9:52 to play in the fourth period on a 17-yard run by Martin.
Worth Noting, Part 1: Auburn allowed the Bulldogs just three rushing first downs and three passing first downs. The Tigers had 19 rushing first downs and seven passing on a night they rushed for 451 yards on 59 carries and passes for 147 on 20 throws.
Worth Noting, Part 2: Malzahn said that injuries to cornerback Josh Holsey and linebacker Darrell Williams don’t look to be serious ones.
Worth Noting Part 3: Starting cornerback Carlton Davis and linebacker Tre Williams were held out of action to get healthier. Both are expected to play next week.
Stat of the Game: Auburn used 73 players.
The Tigers close regular season with a road trip to Tuscaloosa on Saturday to play Alabama. Kickoff is set for shortly after 2:30 p.m. CST.