DeShaun Davis (above) and the rest of the defense came through with a shutout.
“We had been preaching shutout all week,” said Davis, the 5-11, 239-pounder out of Vigor High School in Prichard.
“We could have had a couple of more (shutouts) this year, but gave up a big play or two to lose them. We were trying to keep everything in front of us because we knew we could handle them up front.
“It was great for the seniors on the defensive side of the ball because they haven’t had a shutout since they’ve been here. I’m glad we got it for those guys.”
Davis said it was positive to gain some momentum going into Saturday’s Iron Bowl against Alabama in Tuscaloosa after a disappointing loss the previous week at Georgia.
“It was good to get the win and get that bad taste out of our mouths,” Davis explained.
He knows that the Tigers face a tremendous challenge, but at the same time an opportunity, against the Crimson Tide. Asked about players that come to Auburn from out of state and how they view the Alabama game, Davis said, “When you come to Auburn you already know how important it is, no matter where you come from. This is the most talked about game since week one.
“Our Coach T-Will (linebackers coach Travis Williams) has been preaching all year that every game is a practice game leading up to the Alabama game. We are going to go out there with a chip on our shoulder and let the results take care of themselves.”
It’s time to focus, Davis pointed out.
“I feel like as a team we do a good job of tuning out the outside world,” he said. “We aren’t concerned about being an underdog or being a spoiler against Alabama. We are just going to go out and play Auburn football.”
Davis believes he has proven that he can be top-flight performer at linebacker in the SEC and plans to take that attitude into the Alabama game.
“A lot of people are waiting for me to make mistakes and say ‘I told you so.’ Coach T-Will keeps me hungry, even though I don’t think I need a lot of motivation. I think I have silenced my critics.”
In other news and notes:
*Jeremy Johnson, who was making his first start of 2016 after not playing QB since the opening loss to Clemson, completed his first five passes for 59 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Davis on Auburn’s second possession.
Johnson scored Auburn’s first touchdown on a read option that covered seven yards. Johnson completed 7-of-8 pass attempts in the first quarter for 70 yards. The only incompletion was about a two-foot toss to Rudy Ford, who couldn’t handle it on a play that was ruled an incompletion after a review. It was initially ruled complete.
*Johnson’s touchdown runs were the eighth and ninth of the senior’s career and the touchdown pass was the 20th of his career. The freshman Davis’ TD pass reception was his second.
*Johnson was 13-of-18 for 141 yards and a touchdown in the first half. It could have been better. He had three dropped passes and missed high to a wide-open Ryan Davis in the end zone. He added seven yards passing in the second half. With 147 passing yards against Alabama A&M, Johnson surpassed 2,000 in his career and has 2,097 overall.
*Kerryon Johnson’s 11 rushing touchdowns on the season move him into a tie for 18th in Auburn history for touchdowns in a season with Nick Marshall (2014), Reggie Ware (1986) and Billy Atkins (1957).
*Johnathan Ford recorded his first career reception, and had his first rushing carries since October, 2013.
*Freshman running back Kam Martin scored a third-quarter touchdown, his second touchdown of the season. Martin finished with a career-high 176 rushing yards, his first career 100-yard rushing game. Martin is the 10th different player to rush for 100 or more yards under Gus Malzahn at Auburn. His 176 yards is the second-highest total for an Auburn player in the second half only (189-Stephen Davis vs. Arkansas, 1994).
*John Franklin scored his second rushing touchdown of the season in the third quarter.
* Montravius Adams recorded his second career interception, his first of this season. Stephen Roberts’ interception in the third quarter was his second of the season.
*Daniel Carlson has converted 140 consecutive PAT attempts, the most in Auburn history and second best in SEC history (passing Van Tiffin, Alabama, 135 consecutive from 1983-85). Auburn kickers have converted 167 consecutive PATs overall dating back to the 2013 Tennessee game, the fourth longest active streak in the FBS behind Florida State, Michigan and Memphis.
*Carlson is now 22-25 on field goals this season. That’s the third-most field goals made in a season at Auburn. He is now 63-76 for his career, the Auburn career record for field goals made and percentage. His 76 attempts are second all-time on the Auburn list.
*Carlson is second in Auburn career scoring with 335 points, behind only Wes Byrum (363 from 2007-10). For the season Carlson ranks fourth in all-time single-season scoring with 115 points this year. Next would be Wes Byrum with 123 in 2010 in third.
*Darius Slayton’s three receptions tie his career high.
*Javaris Davis and Derrick Brown recorded their first full career sacks.
*Maurice Swain had his first blocked kick on an Alabama A&M field goal attempt. That’s Auburn’s third blocked kick attempt this season (Montravius Adams blocked FG and blocked PAT).
*This is Auburn’s fifth game of the season with 500 or more yards in total offense. In the eight games Auburn has won this year, the team is averaging 548 yards in total offense.
*Auburn’s 451 yards rushing seventh-most in school history. Three of the top seven are from this season-- 543 vs. Arkansas, 462 vs. Arkansas State.
*Auburn’s eight-second scoring drive (one-play, 39-yard touchdown by Franklin) is the fastest for the Tigers this season.
*Auburn’s defense has held an opponent to under 30 yards rushing twice this season--vs. Arkansas (25), vs. Alabama A&M (28). Last time the Auburn defense has done this was in 2003--vs. ULM (23), vs. Tennessee (4).
*Last time Auburn has held a team to 130 yards or less was at Mississippi State in 2008 (116).
*Adams became the 32nd player in Auburn history to play in 50 or more games on Saturday. He joins teammates Marcus Davis, Johnathan Ford and Robert Leff that reached the mark in the game at Georgia on Nov. 12.
*With the win over Alabama A&M, Malzahn has 35 victories in his first four seasons as Auburn head coach the second-most in Auburn history behind only Terry Bowden.
*Auburn has held 9 of 11 opponents in 2016 and 10 of its last 12 opponents under 20 points.
*With its 451 rushing yards, Auburn’s 3,276 yards this season is sixth on the Auburn single-season list.
*Auburn has held eight consecutive opponents without a rushing touchdown.
*Auburn is 29-8 under Malzahn with a 100-yard rusher in his Auburn head coaching tenure and with two 100-yard rushers in the same game, it’s 10-0. Auburn has produced a 100-yard rusher in 37 of 50 games under Malzahn. The Tigers are 27-5 under Malzahn when scoring first.
*Auburn has 17 scoring plays on offense of 20 yards or more in 2016. The Tigers finished 2015 (13 games) with just seven.
*The Tigers are 29-8 when rushing for more than 200 yards under Malzahn
*Auburn has held nine of its last 10 opponents below their season scoring average. The Tigers have held every opponent this season below their season rushing average.
*Tight end Jalen Harris opened at H-back in place of the injured Chandler Cox. Kyle Davis made his first start for Auburn against Alabama A&M The Tigers have had 14 first-time starters this season, nine on offense and five on defense
*Honored at Senior Night prior to the game with Alabama A&M were 20 seniors and junior Carl Lawson, who was redshirted and came in with the senior signing class. Honored were Montravius Adams, Jack Bjork, Xavier Dampeer, Marcus Davis, T.J. Davis, Austin Dupper, Johnathan Ford, Greg Hall Jr., Joshua Holsey, Jeremy Johnson, Alex Kozan, Devaroe Lawrence, Robert Leff, Damian Lewis, T.J. Neal, Kevin Phillips, Tony Stevens, Maurice Swain, Marshall Taylor and Jackson Thomas.
*Lawson hasn’t decided if he will enter the NFL draft. One recent projection had him going as a first round pick so there’s a good chance he played his last home game as a Tiger against Alabama A&M.
*The family of the late Quentin Groves was presented portrait of the former Auburn linebacker who died several months ago at age 32 from a heart attack. Groves played defensive end, lettering from 2004-07. He shares the career sacks mark of 26 with Gerald Robinson. Groves was a two-time All-SEC selection and played nine years in the NFL.
*Former Sports Information Director Buddy Davidson, who also held several assistant and associate director positions in the Auburn Athletic Department, was recognized during the game. Despite suffering a stroke a couple of years ago, Davidson was attending his 692nd straight game. He hasn’t missed a game since he was a freshman manager on the 1957 National Championship team.