Freshman quarterback Bo Nix passed for a season-high 335 yards and two touchdowns, sophomore running back JaTarvious Whitlow rushed for a career-high three touchdowns, and Auburn’s defense did the rest as the No. 7 Tigers dominated Mississippi State 56-23 Saturday night in Auburn.
Nix also rushed for a touchdown as the Tigers (5-0, 2-0 SEC) scored touchdowns on their first five possessions.
Freshman quarterback Garrett Shrader had his moments for Mississippi State in relief of injured starter Tommy Stevens, rushing for a team-high 89 yards and a touchdown and passing for 209 yards and two touchdowns.
But self-inflicted wounds kept the Bulldogs (3-2, 1-1) from mounting a serious threat. They rushed for only 118 yards of their game total 334 for the night.
It took Auburn a tick over six minutes to build a 21-0 lead. The Tigers scored on Whitlow’s 30-yard run on their first play from scrimmage after Christian Tutt’s 18-yard punt return put them in business at Mississippi State’s 30.
Nix scored on a 9-yard run to cap the next series, and he passed 13 yards to receiver Anthony Schwartz for a third touchdown with 8:59 left in the opening period after the Bulldogs’ JaVonta Payton fumbled a kickoff return at his 18-yard line.
That fumble wasn’t the only costly mistake for the Bulldogs in the opening half. Late in the second period, they had a first-and-goal inside Auburn’s 1-yard line but a penalty on first down set them back, and they lost a fumble on the next play.
They compounded that error when a targeting call against Bulldogs’ linebacker Erroll Thompson on a third-down play kept alive an Auburn drive that ended with Whitlow scoring from 3 yards out with 12 seconds left in the half to put the Tigers up 42-9.
About the only thing that stopped the Tigers were their own fumbles. They lost 3 of 4.
—Field Level Media